10 Things That Make Horror Films Unrealistic

Aside from the fact that the plot is always over the top, contrived and very unlikely because that’s what entertainment is all about, there are just some things that immediately spoil a horror film’s believability. Maybe they’re just bloopers that get overlooked, maybe it’s just a case of bad judgement on the director’s part but whatever the reason they throw a giant spanner in the works.

who does that?
who does that?

1. Nudity that’s clearly been placed for no reason other than as an excuse to show some boobs.

I’m not overly fussed about nudity in films, as a big horror watcher I’ve got used to the inevitable nudity in the majority of horror’s, but sometimes it’s just totally unrealistic. Often scenes with nudity are so blatantly included as a desperate attempt to include some nudity that it’s enough to make you want to face-palm so hard you break your own nose. There are lots of times in horror films where a girl will remove clothing at a time that makes you scratch your head in disbelief, and it just screams ‘THIS HAS NO RELEVANCE, IT’S JUST AN EXCUSE TO SEE SOME BOOBIES!’ Kind of like the reaction most guys have when Taylor Lautner rips off his shirt at every given opportunity in the Twilight films. It’s just done for the sake of showing some flesh.

2. When the characters get irrationally scared 666969375_1369217399

There are some situations in horror films where the characters are shit-yourself terrified for no real reason. If it’s a haunted house flick, they’re often shitting themselves after the very first noise they hear. Realistically we probably hear lots of little noises when we’re at home alone but because we’re rational and used to living in the real world where actual scary things happen very seldom, we don’t freak out. I don’t know about you guys, but if I heard one bump in the night I wouldn’t think anything of it unless it happened, say, ten times in a row and sounded like footsteps that stopped RIGHT NEXT TO ME. It would take a hell of a lot more hard evidence than one loud noise before I was so much as quivering a little in fear.

PUT THE LIGHT ON!!
PUT THE LIGHT ON!!

3. When they don’t turn the fucking lights on!

If I’ve ever been actually, physically angry at a character in a film it’s those horror film characters that wander around a house investigating weird noises without turning on a single damn light. It might be cinematic and it might make it more tense but it’s not realistic at all. Who does that? I wouldn’t walk around the house with all the lights off in the middle of the night just to go downstairs and get a drink let alone if I was investigating what I thought was a bunch of intruders trying to kill me! Unless there’s been a power cut those characters have no reason to be stumbling around in the pitch black. Flick a damn switch for God’s sake!

4. When they don’t seem to give a shit/take any notice when the dog is acting weird the-amityville-horror-dog1

If my dog growled at a seemingly empty room, or refused to come into the new house, or was just plain acting weird I would probably start to twig that something wasn’t right. Kind of like if kids act out of character and start talking to invisible people or screaming because ‘someone’s stood over there’, if the dog won’t go inside there’s something not quite right.

My thoughts exactly
My thoughts exactly

5. When it takes them AGES to get the hell out of the house

I don’t care if they can’t afford to move out because all their money’s tied up in their nice new gothic looking country house, when shit gets real you get the hell out. Surely these people have family they could stay with? Get the hell out! I know most of those kinds of horror films avoid the cliche ‘they moved out and lived happily ever after’ ending by throwing a demon-that’s-haunting-the-person-not-the-house scenario but let’s face it, if you didn’t know that it’s you that’s being haunted and not the house, you probably would get the hell out as soon as possible.

6. When the girls in slasher films do really stupid things 

Sidney Prescott
Sidney Prescott

Of course in the world of horror women are stupid drama queens with no common sense, and all we’re good for is taking out clothes off and looking good (eye roll) the women always do stupid things when they’re being pursued by a crazed killer, as Sidney Prescott in Scream says ‘they’re always running up the stairs when they should be running out the door’ (right before she gets chased and runs up the stairs herself…because no matter how rational us women are, when shit gets real we’re all stupid and useless). They’ll pick the tiniest weapon, like a letter opener or a vegetable knife, and run around like headless chickens, and then when they do hide they can’t seem to stay quiet and usually let out a squeal or a gasp that gives their location away. Come on now, I find it hard to believe that the characters in these films are really that stupid.

baddie-brawl-jason-voorhees-vs-leatherface-20071009032549051-0007. Why do they never chop off the ‘invincible’ killer’s head?

I’ve always had this theory that even if Jason Voorhees can’t die, surely if you chopped his head off and then maybe chopped him up into little bits there would be no way he could ever come back to life. Chucky did it but he’s made of plastic so that doesn’t count. Then if you maybe burned a few bits and buried the rest it’s a pretty sure-fire way to ensure he rises from the dead no more. Which brings me onto the next one…

8. The killers are invincible

No one lives forever and there is no way in hell these killers could possibly come back to life after being shot in the head a few times. It might be a less scary film if the killers could be disposed of easily but no one can rise from the dead like that and the fact that these stalk and slash killers are invincible is ridiculous.

9. People have sex in the most ridiculous places and at the most inappropriate times 

slaughterhouse floor sex...no thank you!
slaughterhouse floor sex…no thank you!

One film I watched, which was an absolute atrocity called Sickle, had two characters bonking on a slaughterhouse floor. Who the hell does that? I mean, it’s one thing lurking around a slaughterhouse at night anyway, but who on Earth would willingly remove their clothing and let themselves come into physical contact with a dirty, bloodied floor that stinks of rotting flesh and the fear of a thousand cows? Not to mention that would be a fucking terrifying place to be in the dark and would so not be a turn on.

2-110. The black guy dies first and other stupid conventions

Do I even need to explain this one? Your race, gender, sexuality or whether or not you’re a virgin has nothing to do with whether or not you can survive an attack by a crazed killer, and yet these conventions still stay pretty much true in contemporary horror, despite the fact that this is the 21st century. And the nice guy always dies too I’ve noticed, because apparently nice guys are somehow not masculine, and if you’re not masculine you’re not strong or capable enough of surviving.

I’m sure there are many more things that can be added to this list, if you have any suggestions of your own please feel free to drop them into the comments! This is just a bit of fun, anyone that knows me will know I love horror films.

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42 thoughts on “10 Things That Make Horror Films Unrealistic

    1. Thanks 🙂
      I know right! I mean, my dog is scared of everything, including the ironing board, so it’s hard to judge but if he started barking/growling then I’d probably think something was up…like they say, if your dog doesn’t like someone, you probably shouldn’t either!

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  1. Great list! I watched one yesterday that had the same girl showing her boobs three times before the opening credits finished. Abysmal film, that had no redeeming qualities at all, except for an okay concept that was ruined by too much crap in the film…and more nudity later on…

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    1. thanks 🙂
      haha not that I have anything against boobs, because I don’t at all, but it immediately makes me want to turn the film off when it happens straight away because it’s just too obvious that it’s a shit film! It’s an immediate hint that the film has nothing else going for it…because if it was a decent horror it would be enjoyable without needing to have a f*ck load of nudity!

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      1. Exactly! My daughter calls those type of horror films, Horn = Horror Porn. I definitely don’t have anything against female nudity, but when it’s out of context or not necessary to the plot, they need to leave it out.

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      2. Hahaha horn! That’s brilliant! I’m going to use that from now on 😛
        It kind of drives me mad that the assumption is that women don’t watch/like horror, I feel pretty excluded the moment there’s female nudity because it’s like a huge wink and nudge at men and I’m there thinking…wow, I really do look like shit! (because that’s how my mind works haha) it just makes me feel awkward.
        It’s never necessary to the plot, but sometimes it is more than others…I hate when it’s blatantly just thrown in as an excuse. The Friday 13th remake (which is where the pic is from) is the worst film for it. That and Sickle, which is just out and out shit anyway…I do not recommend it 😛

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      3. It’s not a PA ripoff, it’s just a ripoff full stop! I paid £9 for the “privilege” of watching that dreck! Avoid at all costs, although they had a fairly good idea, their inclusion of too much nudity and the poorest sound quality ever turned it into pure shite!

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      4. haha oh, sounds wonderful 😛 did you buy the DVD? sounds like even the dustbin is too good for that shit!
        I try to avoid any film names Paranormal such-and-such now because they’re all just rip offs

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      5. I really should learn, keep to the bargain buckets for unknown horror films, but having said that, Dead Souls (that I got on the same day) was pretty damned good! Oh well…

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      6. Very few horror films are any good these days, The Conjuring was a pleasant surprise! I feel like I’ve seen Dead Souls but don’t recognise it…they all start to blend into one! 😛

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  2. Nice piece Natasha! Why do dogs always know best? Can they sense evil spirits or something? I watched The Conjuring last night and I like the explanation they gave for why they can’t just leave the house – the spirit attaches itself to the family and will follow them wherever they go. Simple little workaround but I thought it worked.

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    1. Thanks 🙂 Yeah apparently dogs can see/sense spirits…fortunately I’m yet to come across one, either that or my dog is particularly stupid!! Although he can sense a thunder storm about ten minutes before it starts, we know when one’s coming because he runs and hides 😛
      Yeah it was a nice workaround, but it was a very similar explanation to the one in Paranormal Activity and Insidious, sometimes it feels like an excuse just to make it impossible for the characters to leave the house…which I suppose is a good thing, if they moved out there would be no film!

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  3. The comment about “not turning the lights on” is dead on. I have the same problem with all these TV shows that are about supposed Ghost Hunters – they all do their shows at night or in the dark, Do you really think a ghost gives a shit whether it’s dark or not? It’s done purely for fear factor. I hope this article will be followed up by another article entitled ’10 Things that Make Reality Shows Unrealistic’.

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    1. So true, I’ve always wondered why they insist on doing it in the pitch black…I mean do it at night by all means but keep the damn light on!
      There’s nothing realistic about reality TV at all so the list would be way too long! But I could give it a go 😉

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  4. Totally true! Thats usually the parts I don’t like about horror. Although unrealistic, it does scare me when they keep it dark and the sounds at night. But then, the turning on the lights is what I’m yelling at the guy/gal on screen.. haha! Invincible villains are kind of frustrating also. The worst is not listening to the dog. I wrote about that when I was reviewing Bad Moon, bad memories..

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    1. Haha I’m the same, always yelling at them to turn the lights on!
      Bad Moon had me in tears! When the dog jumped out the window and nearly died, D: not the nicest film I’ve ever seen…I’d like to think I’d pay more attention to my dog, hopefully though I won’t ever meet a werewolf xD haha

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  5. I’m with you on pretty much the whole list, Natasha. I enjoy decent horror movies, but there are still a lot of stupid things even in the best ones. The gratuitous sex/nudity I think is just because they figure they can get away with it because they always have an R rating anyway, so why not throw that in for “interest” during the slow moments? It gets pretty silly sometimes, though.

    Glad you used Paranormal Activity for the “easily scared” one. My review of that summed the whole film up as “Settling House: The Movie”. What an utter snoozer.

    The stupidity is what really gets me, though. The lights being a big one, but yeah, not listening to the dog as well. I’ve had dogs all my life, and if even the dumbest of them starting acting weird, I’d be on the lookout for something troublesome. And all the basic survival skills these victims seem to lack. Being chased by a psycho killer? Grab a weapon. And anything is a weapon if used properly. If you can’t get a gun or a knife, get a bludgeon, just get something to give yourself an edge.

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    1. Yeah agreed, I would always pay attention if my dog started acting weird! Even if it meant just erring on the side of caution, in most horrors though they don’t even do that haha xD

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  6. Well, with the Scream one, Wes & Co. are making fun of the genre and by having Sydney complaining about girls running up the stairs and then having her in a situation where it’s her only option, is rather clever, I thin. That was the whole POINT of it.

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    1. Funnily enough I covered my love of Scream and it’s parody/pastiche of the horror genre in a post earlier today (10 must watch postmodern films. Scream is the top of the list)
      But Scream is a parody, so Sidney running up the stairs is done to mock the horror genre…which is pretty much exactly what Scream does.
      The point of Scream was to mock the horror, stalk and slash genre and Wes Craven wanted to mock his own franchise A Nightmare on Elm Street too…it’s a postmodern pastiche/parody/hyperaware film which is why it has quotes in such as Sidney’s ‘they always have a girl running up the stairs when she should be running out the door’…because it’s hyperconscious. Scream is a different kettle of fish in terms of horror films, but the quote was apt for this post.

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