10 Ways To Survive A Horror Movie

With the release of the fourth Scream film comes a fresh cast of hopeful horror survivors. TIME brings you the rules to follow if you want to make it out alive.

1. Don't Ever Investigate Or Say You'll "Be Right Back"

Thirsty? Ask for a sip of someone else's drink. Forgot something in the woods? Cut your losses. Hear a strange noise in the basement? Pretend you don't. Whatever you do, just don't announce a quick detour from your group or it'll be your swan song. The "I'll be right back" trope has become such a horror flick death scene precursor that viewers almost find themselves rooting for the masked assailant to punish the never-to-returnee. No, you won't be right back. You'll be bloody and hanging from the garage door's doggy hole.

2. Turn Around, Because It's Always Behind You

While hiding from the deranged, knife-wielding thing of evil, you might ask yourself, "Where is it?" Answer: Right behind you. Learn from those who have gone before you. In 1991's The Silence of the Lambs, FBI trainee Clarice Starling at least had the foresight to bring a gun into the sadistic serial killer's lair. Clarice barely made it out of the basement alive. You won't. Just ask the cast of The Cellar.

3. Never Watch A Horror Movie When You're In One

If your slasher movie night starts to seem eerily autobiographical, immediately turn on the lights and make sure all the kitchen knives are accounted for. If there have been any recent reports of asylum breakouts or mysterious demonic rituals, stay away from scary movies. You're probably in one. Actually, stay away from all screens. Poltergeist and The Ring all had sequels for a reason.

4. Make Sure Your Car is Always in Perfect Working Order

If you're able to escape that masked killer, remember that cars typically aren't reliable. Battery life always yields to the strange and inconvenient horror time continuum, a force that's always sure to leave you stranded in your moment of need. Or in your moment of zombie horde attack. Before leaving the driveway, make sure you bring an extra set of keys (the first are sure to be lost during the initial attack) and consider a preemptive visit to a mechanic...who is probably an axe murderer anyway.

5. Don't Ever Split Up

Most of us learned this lesson as 5-year-olds, shaking our heads at reruns of Scooby Doo as Shaggy and Scooby ran in circles away from spooks while the rest of the gang gathered clues. Those that didn't might end up like the cast of The House on Haunted Hill (if you're lucky, the tamer 1959 version), being picked off one by one by the movie monster of the week. "Strength in numbers" might be a tired cliche, but its more appealing than "dead as a doornail."

6. When Haunted, Just Move Out of the Damn House 

If you (or one of your children) can offer any kind of credible proof that the grand old house you just purchased for cheap is haunted, drop the caulk gun and get out. We've seen too many families attempt to stick a haunting out: The Amityville Horror, The Shining, Paranormal Activity. Your attempts to shun the dead will prove futile as evil spirits use you for a nice game of possess and kill. Just sell the house and take the loss, okay? 

7. Wear Comfortable Shoes

Received any threatening phone calls lately? Any cryptic messages scrawled in blood after the murder of your best friend? You're probably next. Fright nights rarely allow for wardrobe changes, so wear comfortable footwear the first time around, even for formal events. As much fun as it is watching Sarah Michelle Gellar attempt to run from a hook-wielding fisherman in a beauty pageant getup, it doesn't mean you should repeat her mistakes. Combat boots only, ladies.

8. Avoid Proms and All Other High School Parties

Proms should be avoided at all costs, in case of vampire attack, revenge killings or the occasional prom queen who possesses the ability to slaughter with her mind. Large gatherings of teenagers are like cat nip for the murderously inclined, so why heighten the appeal with boutonnieres and push up bras? Don't go to the prom. The pictures are always bad anyway.

9. Always Assume Your Attacker Is Still Alive

Ah yes, the suspenseful conclusion. If you're lucky enough to make this far you've probably pulled some highly unrealistic Rambo move on your killer at the last second. Your attacker lies motionless on the floor. You let out a big sigh of relief and let your guard down. Big mistake. 2009's Zombieland covers what to do in these situations with a move called "the double tap." Always deliver a second fatal blow to ensure your assailant is dead because they'll surely always come back for more

10. Keep Your Pants On

If you have sex, you die. In teen horror movies, those who couple off for a lusty moment or two usually end up losing more than their shirts. Friday the 13th features an entire cast of randy teen camp counselors who are dismembered one by one as they sneak off to earn the film its R rating, most only living a few minutes past their trysts before they're greeted with an ax to the face. If you want to up your odds of survival, keep your virginity intact and your clothes on. As Psycho proved, even showers aren't safe. Best to bathe clothed.