10 Rules of Schlock Horror

5) Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. In this age of rampant STDs, one has to be forthcoming about one’s status with one’s partner and vice versa.  However, in horror films, when a main character is infected by a vampire, werewolf, zombie, etc., he or she will keep it to him or herself despite knowing full well how much danger in which he/she is placing his/her friends.

Worst Offender: Blade II -A vampire is infected by a super-vampire and still keeps it from the rest of his squad, resulting in 2 of his comrades’ deaths.

6) If you’ve got landscaping equipment, you’ve got a chance! I’m not going to argue that the moment when Ash attached a chainsaw to his stump in Evil Dead 2 was not one of the greatest moments in cinematic history; but using weird tools to battle the undead has become…garden-variety as of late. <insert foppish laugh>

Worst Offender: The funniest/most ridiculous still has to be Lionel using a lawnmower (with an over-the-shoulder strap!) in Dead Alive.  Somehow, this skinny Kiwi is able to lift and whip around a full-size lawnmower like it’s nothing to combat a never-ending zombie horde!

7) Crap, what did that old lady say at the beginning of the movie? This is when our heroes can save the day as long as they (and the audience) were paying close attention to a bit of information that seemingly had nothing to do with anything within the first half hour of the film.

Worst Offenders: Once again, Nightmare on Elm St. 4 brings the cliché with Alice beating Freddy by remembering a nursery rhyme from her childhood that she half-remembered in the beginning of the film and that no one in the audience has ever heard of.  The runner-up is Event Horizon with the explosive-laden hallway that saves the day being set up when Sam Neil gives the crew a lay out of the titular ship.

8) Grew up as an adopted orphan near a town with a psychopath? Guess what, you’re RELATED! Have you been going about your life, peacefully minding your own business to suddenly discover that you are the long-lost cousin of an uncle who had a friend that had a dog that bit his neighbor who was treated by a veterinarian that lived down the block from the mother of a depraved serial killer?  Guess what:  you’re not going to have a good day.  This problem is exacerbated (both for the protagonist and the audience’s suspension of disbelief) if the main character is-in fact-the reincarnation of the killer’s long lost love.

Worst Offenders: Halloween II . The revelation that Laurie Strode is Michael Myers’ long-lost sister undercut the overall scare factor of the first film in which Myers was a psychopath that could knock on any random person’s door.  Also fun were Freddy’s daughter in Freddy’s Dead: the Final Nightmare and Jason’s half-niece in Jason Goes to Hell: the Final Friday .

9) In these troubled economic times, he gave his life for tourism. No matter how many people are being killed or how imminent the disaster is-the mayor/city officials will always be more concerned with their town’s tourism trade.

Worst Offenders: The big one is still Jaws with Murray Hamilton letting those poor swimmers die so that Amity Island with have enough cash to survive the long winter season.  In Friday the 13th part VI, the entire town attempted to change its name from Crystal Lake to Forrest Green in order to disassociate it from the masked mass-murderer’ mayhem.

10) The Perpetual Asshole. There are some people who, no matter what the situation, refuse to have their plans ruined and will whine, kick, scream and screw over anyone that gets in their way and especially their fellow protagonists.  And no, they’re not always lawyers.

Worst Offenders: Thomas Hayden Church in Tales From the Crypt: Demon Knight, every character in the remake of House on Haunted Hill , and Jeffrey Combs in The Frighteners.


THE BONUS LIGHTNING ROUND! These appear often and are self-explanatory.

  • Black guys always dying/dying first. This has reversed itself in recent times, with reparations requiring that they be among the last 2 people surviving.
  • Scary phone ringing! Seriously people, the killer's already inside your house.
  • Grabbing of the ankles. Just check under the bed/stairs with a shotgun already!
  • Victims running up the stairs instead of out of the house.
  • The killer appears dead. Pssst-Guess what?
  • You have sex-you die. The stink of it obviously drives the guys crazy.
  • Waiting for a werewolf to finish transforming before running for one’s life. See rule number 3 for the results.