Why I Would Be The First to Die in a Horror Movie


Do you ever wonder how you’d fare if a serial killer, back from the dead showed up in your living room one evening? What if your camping trip became less “peaceful night under the stars” and more “race for your life through the woods?” Would you be more likely to run or hide?

Do you have a plan for the zombie apocalypse?

Well I can tell you right now, that in any of those scenarios, I would be of no use to you. Because, me? I would already be dead.

I can predict monsters hiding behind closet doors with the best of them when the story is unfolding on my television; but without the benefit of an eerie musical score to hint at bad things to come, I am a lost cause.

I was thinking about this the other day, and came up with six specific reasons why I would be the first clueless character in a horror movie to meet their grisly end. Surely there are more, but being able to come up with six without even pausing presents a strong case for my lack of survival skills.

Reason number one: I’m slow. I mean really slow. Like old people pass me on the track slow. And it has nothing to do with sports injuries or bad knees – I’ve just always been a slow runner. This realization hit when I was in elementary school and an impromptu race from one side of the playground to the other took place (as they so often do). I was in front of the crowd when the group think command got our legs going, but by the end of the sprint I was dead last.

Even as a six-year-old, I knew that if you run as fast as you can and still come in last, then something must be wrong. Either way, it was clear that I wasn’t joining the track team. Nor was I ever going to outrun an ax murderer chasing me down a deserted road. There is a reason why I prefer busy city streets.

This speed deficiency may or may not be related to reason number two: slow reaction time. This serves me well in shocking, but not life threatening emergency situations (“Oh dear, is that YOUR severed finger on the ground? Why don’t you sit down while I call 911 and grab a zip lock bag of ice“) – But it wouldn’t be particularly useful if all of my daughter’s dolls turned their demonically possessed heads my way and said “mama” in unison.

Oh sure…I’m right there with you as you scream, “run! get out of the house! don’t just stand there like a gibbering idiot!” But the sad truth is that I don’t walk (or run) the talk. I know this because back in my twenties, my best friend Nancy and I actually shared a “run for your life” moment one night. We were sitting on our living room couch watching TV when a loud “BOOM” made the house shake. After a tense pause, I said, “well I guess we should go check that out.” She countered, “do we have to?” I decided that yes, we did. So armed with a steak knife, I took the lead as we headed upstairs to find the source of the noise.

The first two bedrooms showed no signs of disruption, and neither did the third. But that last one had a door to a patio above the side porch; and the moment that we looked in that direction, the screen door started banging violently in the frame – as if someone was trying to force their way in.

You know those movie scenes where someone holding a gun sees something so terrifying that the weapon rattles noisily in their shaking hands? That was me with my steak knife. I was rooted to the spot. People watching my movie would be screaming “run! get out of the house! don’t just stand there like a gibbering idiot!” Yes – it’s true. There was gibbering. After several frozen seconds, I managed to look to my left and see that Nancy was gone.  When I finally made it back to the top of the staircase, I saw her quickly disappearing out the front door. I don’t know if she’d be the last man standing in the horror movie, but it’s obvious that she wouldn’t be the first to go down.

In case you were wondering, there was not in fact, an intruder trying to break into that bedroom. Nothing was there, so we had to assume it was the wind. Then days afterward, we heard the boom again. This time we felt like it came from below, and it turned out to be the furnace. Something about gas building up until it exploded. So it really was a serious danger in our home that if left un-repaired could result in larger explosions – possibly start fires – maybe even kill us! I was so relieved that it wasn’t a Poltergeist.

It was that night of the first boom when I became aware of reason number three: I always go “check it out.”

Reason number four is just straight up dumbassery. I won’t tell you what it is immediately. Instead I’ll give you a perfect example of this stupid, stupid thing I do all the time. First, you should know that I have always felt most safe when surrounded by people. I’m also afraid of the dark. So when Chris goes out of town for work, I become hyper-vigilant about our security.

Every once in a while we forget to close the downstairs windows on a cool summer night. And more than once, I’ve discovered that no one locked the sliding door to the back deck before bedtime. But when Chris isn’t in the house, I make the rounds. It can be as early as 5:00 p.m., but if I know we’re not going outside again, our house goes into lock down mode.

One of those nights on my own, I checked the back gate, made sure the locks on the doors to the deck and all windows were clicked into place. I triple locked the front door AND set the security alarm (something we never do when Chris is around). Yet after all of that I still went outside the next morning and found my keys in the front lock.

I wouldn’t survive five minutes on The Walking Dead.

Like I said – this was not an isolated incident. I leave my keys in the front door regularly. And it’s not completely unrelated to reason number five: I can never find my keys.

It’s annoying enough when it happens at home, as I’m inevitably late for some important appointment. But my inability to locate my keys in public parking lots makes me a walking “DON’T” example for self-defense classes nationwide.

We’ve all seen that movie scene where the college girl runs for her 1978 Beetle as a rotting pursuer lunges just feet behind. Keys jangling in her hand, she fumbles to locate the one she needs. Then OH NO she drops them on the ground, losing precious seconds. But THANK GOD she does finally make it in with enough time to lock the doors…and then watch in horror as a hunting knife rips through the convertible top while she discovers that the car won’t start.

The difference between that co-ed and me? She didn’t have to search for her keys.

I have had to literally dump my purse out on the hood of my car…sort through old lip gloss tubes and loose change…search the same compartments over and over… Meanwhile, my soon to be abductor has had time to send a few texts, look up the weather and work on a sketch for the girl suit he plans to make with my skin.

An image that leads me to the final reason – number six – that I would never survive the horror movie: I’m a pleaser. He promised that if I was quiet and did everything he said, he would let me go. Sure I’ll put the lotion in the basket when I’m done – just don’t hurt me, okay?

On the upside, I do like to just get unpleasant things over with… So I have that going for me.

And maybe I’m wrong. Maybe in a real life or death situation, endorphins would kick in and I’d run faster – have quicker reflexes. Maybe luck would be on my side and I would find the key I needed the first time I reached into my purse. Maybe this unusual speed and luck would help me escape when the opportunity presented itself. Maybe…

But I doubt it. And if I’m right – if I really don’t have what it takes to make it out alive – there is one thing I can predict with absolute certainty. Later, when my body arrives at the morgue and they search my personal effects to figure out my identity, the coroner will undoubtedly find those missing car keys in my jacket pocket.

16 Responses to Why I Would Be The First to Die in a Horror Movie
  1. jane
    August 30, 2012 | 9:38 am

    hahahaha!!! when i saw the title of your post i already started laughing. i knew this was going to be great. :)

  2. Loukia
    August 30, 2012 | 10:37 am

    Oh Kate! LOL! I am JUST LIKE YOU. Together, in a horror movie, we would be doomed! I freak out over every noise in my house, and I cannot go to my basement when it’s dark out. I need like, ALL the lights on in the house to be comfortable with staying on the main level when I’m home alone. When I’m really scared, like nightmare scared, I lose my voice and cannot even scream for help. When my oldest son appears before me when I’m sleeping, I scream. Which in turn scares HIM causing him to cry. It’s nuts! Here’s hoping we never have to be in these scenarios in real life ever!
    Loukia recently posted..Vacations And MotherhoodMy Profile

  3. Nancy
    August 30, 2012 | 10:43 am

    this is great! i had a flashback to that night of the loud booming sounds immediately. I couldn’t believe you insisted that we investigate. HA!

  4. monique smith
    August 30, 2012 | 8:03 pm

    You are hilarious.
    You have survival skills, evident by the fact that you remembered to take the steak knife with you and friend in tow ( although she wouldn’t have been very helpful running away ).
    It’s crazy to think that you can entertain yourself scared by just thinking about these scenarios and that so many of us do it. Is it escaping from reality and the monotany of the every day? or is just hyper active imagination being taken for a walk. Such a fun exercise in terror
    Thanks for the entertainment!

  5. Lady Jennie
    August 31, 2012 | 9:24 am

    This is sooo funny. On the upside you have a really cool name so you’re not likely to be the very first one offed. That would be Jane Smith.
    Lady Jennie recently posted..World Moms Blog: Vacationing With KidsMy Profile

  6. annechovie
    September 1, 2012 | 10:42 am

    Kate, thanks for making me laugh….I can def relate!
    Happy Labor Day weekend! xo
    annechovie recently posted..SOUTHERN ARTISTS SERIES ON THE ENGLISH ROOMMy Profile

  7. suburbancorrespondent
    September 2, 2012 | 3:03 pm

    When my husband is away, I leave on EVERY SINGLE LIGHT, as if any would-be intruder would be of the vampire variety and therefore scared off by my glowing abode.
    suburbancorrespondent recently posted..I Heart Modern ConveniencesMy Profile

  8. Erin
    September 2, 2012 | 6:54 pm

    This had me laughing too because my house is like the moon when my husband is away. Floodlights? Check. Doors locked obsessively until midnight? Check. When my husband was deployed there was a rash of burglaries in our area. I was fa-reaked out when my outdoor light burned out the same night he (she? THEY!?) was/were close to our neighborhood. I went to the store immediately and bought like 700 lightbulbs. On my way home, I stopped over to tell my neighbors I had extra lightbulbs if they needed one (and bc I’m crazy). When they inquired, “what for?” with their young children inches away. So I spelled it out.

    “Because there is a R-O-B-B-E-R around.”

    Turns out the eldest had a phobia of burglars. And she could spell.

  9. christy
    September 3, 2012 | 4:23 pm

    Oh Kate you are SO, SO funny! I love it! “a girl costume from my skin” HAHA!
    christy recently posted..I’m baaaack!!!My Profile

  10. Annie Prenni
    September 3, 2012 | 6:31 pm

    This post had me laughing out loud. You crack me up! I don’t think I would fare very well either. I’m slow and a people-pleaser too, plus I don’t have a high pain tolerance. I don’t think I could be “tough” enough. Love the word dumb-assery! LOL. -Annie

  11. Robin from Israel
    September 5, 2012 | 2:58 pm

    You crack me up! If it’s any consolation, I’d be dead right along with you, for all of the same reasons LOL.
    Robin from Israel recently posted..Always believe that something wonderful is about to happenMy Profile

  12. heidi
    September 5, 2012 | 4:05 pm

    I am the checker of all gates, windows and doors AND I have left my keys in the front door. A few times.
    I’m slow to react, too! When I’m really afraid I laugh which prevents me from making a decision. I don’t think I’d make it either.
    This made me laugh. A lot. Great, great storytelling.
    heidi recently posted..summer as winterMy Profile

  13. Galit Breen
    September 5, 2012 | 9:44 pm

    Ohmygoodness, how I love this!

    I say we own our slowness and lack of scary movie intuitiveness and hang out in the back instead. Popcorn and red vines here we come!

    {Absolutely love this post, your voice, and your fun! Love!}
    Galit Breen recently posted..Mother Daughter JournalsMy Profile

  14. Issa
    September 7, 2012 | 12:43 pm

    The murdered texting and looking up the weather or whatever before killing you…hahahhahaahaahah.

    Sadly, I don’t believe I’d make it either.
    Issa recently posted..It’s not gotten any easierMy Profile

  15. fadkog
    September 11, 2012 | 6:52 pm

    Some friends and I were talking about this subject recently, as you do, and I’ve decided that when the day comes when zombies rise to feast, I’m just going to fall prey to them immediately. I simply can’t run, I’m pretty sure I’d be an ineffective screamer, and, as evidenced by my whiny nature when the air conditioner has gone out or there’s no ice cream in the freezer, I simply don’t take well to having to suffer for survival for any length of time, so take me, zombies. Take me and get this over with.

    fadkog recently posted..since he has no idea I have a blog, i can still get away with writing about himMy Profile

  16. Leslie
    September 18, 2012 | 1:31 pm

    “work on a sketch for the girl suit he plans to make with my skin” – I laughed so very, very hard at this line. I love this post! I love that you were able to think of these six things in a second, I love how each flowed right into the next! This is way too funny. Thanks for the laugh today! (Yes, I’m a little late reading it!)
    Leslie recently posted..Esprit is NOT a NameMy Profile

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