The following is a how-to guide for surviving terrible situations that I wrote with two roommates, Dan Lindeman and Ross Lepine, back in undergrad in 2008 after watching 30 Days of Night. Without further adieu:

In the case of an attack from any perilous creatures, including but not limited to:

vampires, zombies, werewolves, mummies, ghouls, dragons, minotaur, gremlins, gargoyles, chupacabrae, giant insects, aliens, demons, Godzilla, dinosaurs, serial killers, mutated sea bass, Sasquatch, or killer robots,

the following pact shall supersede the Ten Commandments.

  1. The "When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go" Rule:

    Once shelter has been secured, remain in said shelter. To do otherwise is most foolhardy.

    • If said shelter is a mall or otherwise sustaining facility, especially remain in said shelter.
    • If all else equal, choose a gun and ammo shop as shelter.
  2. The Abandoned Mansion Corollary:

    Abandoned mansions are not suitable as shelter, but if you find yourself with no other options then heed the following guidelines:

    • The farther you are away from civilization, the stronger the thunderstorm will be. However, you will eventually realize the storm is preferable to the mansion's horrors, so please leave now.
    • Sleeping accommodations should always be in close proximity to one another. This is especially important for attractive female party members.
    • It is unnatural for an abandoned house to have lit candles and fires in the fireplaces. This is not a good sign and should lead to your immediate evacuation.
    • Thought-to-be dead party members are likely to return during your time in the mansion. Unless said party member's actions are a clear final act to save the accepted party, they are a bad guy and should be killed. Again.
    • No new additions to the accepted party are allowed at this time. Any supposed new members will only lead to everyone's downfall. This is especially true for "concerned passersby" who somehow "heard a noise" despite the road being miles away from the mansion and the thunderstorm being too loud to allow for such a thing.
    • Your first order of business upon deciding to stay the night in an abandoned mansion must be to go to the kitchen and gather all large knives. This is essential to prevent the killer from using them against the party at a later time.
    • It was not "just the wind" that blew open a window everyone thought was locked. This should be seen as immediate cause for evacuation.
  3. The "Turn the light off! Turn the light off!" Rule:

    Any obviously foolish plan that will only draw attention to the party shall be considered null and void, and its creator deserving of verbal chastisement. For example, do not shine a giant flashlight in the T-Rex's eye.

  4. The Deadweight Rule:

    The following types of people cannot contribute and shall be removed from the accepted party without delay: senile old people, those who have accrued a leg or otherwise immobilizing injury (excepting the obvious: Jeff Goldblum), the excessively overweight, stupid naggy bitches, the obligatory selfish guy, anyone who looks like the old lord of the abandoned mansion (as per the obligatory life-size portrait), or objectors to any section of The Survival Manifesto.

  5. The Zombie Bite Rule:

    Should any accepted team member become afflicted by a time-lapsed, mind-altering, alignment-reversing condition, said team member must make their state public knowledge and remove oneself from the party at the safest juncture.

    • If any such afflicted team member cannot adhere to this rule for any reason, another team member will be responsible for their removal.
    • If any un-afflicted team members object to 5a or 5b, they shall receive one stern reminder that emotional and psychological attachments with the afflicted member are null and void. If they continue to object, their removal shall be executed forthwith.
  6. The "Get In The Fucking Car" Rule:

    Should any declarative statement include the word "Fucking" for dramatic effect, all team members must abide immediately. Asking "Why?" in a whiny voice is not appreciated at this time.

  7. The "I'm Goin' In!" Rule:

    Should any accepted team member wish to perform a noble, potentially sacrificial act of valor for the betterment of the team, they shall be appreciated, praised, memorialized, and sent forward by the survivors they helped create.

  8. The "I Think I Heard Something" Rule:

    If any team member suspects having seen or heard the monsters, they have. Act accordingly.

  9. The Somebody Should Really Make This Rule, Rule:

    There shall be no ambiguous "Somebody really should [do something heroic]" statements.

    • Breaking of this rule by any team member counts as volunteering ones self to execute said daring, heroic act.
  10. The "You Know Why It's A Shit Idea? Because its OBVIOUSLY A Shit Idea!" Rule:

    No team member shall willingly pursue a poorly-conceived, logically deficient plan, such as proceeding into dark, foreboding places to investigate the blood stains and strange noises.

    • Should any accepted party member break this rule, no other party members should concern themselves with the rule breaker's removal. Their imminent death will handle that issue just fine.
  11. The Bear Grylls Rule:

    Votes count double from team members with military training or excessive outdoorsmanship.

  12. The "A Spartan Must Be Able To Carry His Shield To Defend The Man Next To Him" Rule:

    Anyone you wrong for any reason, no matter how valid, will return and betray the group at the most inopportune time. Kill them now.

  13. The "Hello! Is Anyone There? Anyone!?!" Rule:

    If any accepted team member says of a non-team member wandering alone helplessly outside of cover, "But they'll kill her if we don't help!", any contributions to said non-team member will only further endanger the group and/or compromise any current cover, and should not be taken.

  14. The "I Get Knocked Down! But I Get Up Again! You're Never Gonna' Keep Me Down!" Rule:

    You will unexpectedly trip at least once while the antagonistic force is walking after you at a leisurely rate. Be prepared for this and take no action other than to immediately get up and resume running. Crying is not appropriate at this time.

  15. The "Mr. Hammond, The Phones Are Working" Rule:

    There will be a final confrontation at the power generator. Save everyone's time and begin preparing for this now.

  16. The Animals Always Get Out First Rule:

    Follow the pack of fleeing rats. They know something you don't.

  17. The "Always Confirm The Kill" Rule:

    When you suspect the antagonist is dead, always shoot them in the face several more times.

  18. The "You Are Unwise to Lower Your Defenses" Rule:

    Never, for any reason, abandon a firearm, axe or any other serviceable weapon.

    • This rule is null and void if for any reason you feel you are in a martial arts film and firearms will thus be strangely useless.
  19. The "Your Call Cannot Be Completed At This Time" Rule:

    Discard all cell phones at the onset of a crisis situation. You will invariably have low battery or not get service through the duration of the crisis until the most inopportune time when your ringing phone will only serve to alert the antagonistic force of your location.

  20. The This Situation's Adrenaline and Emotional Energy Have Nothing To Do With This Rule:

    The crisis situation's absolute climax, when the bomb is ticking down and the roof is collapsing, is a poor time to profess romantic feelings for a team member. We understand that you want your feelings stated if you don't make it out but you're more likely to, you know, actually make it out if you just shut up and run.

  21. The "I'm Always Looking For The Next Ex-Mrs. Malcolm" Rule:

    Related to #20: Party members will always fall in love during the crisis situation, so pick your target early to ensure your new lover is sexy.

  22. The Famous Last Words Rule:

    There shall be no foolhardy boasts made, such as "I'll be fine!", "Of course we'll be okay!" or "You're crazy to worry!" These will only lead to your immediate death.

  23. The "Fred Sure Has Been Acting Strange Lately, Hasn't He?" Rule:

    Anyone who's clearly being an asshole and acting weird is the bad guy. Failure to act on this accordingly will cause your party to lose the support of any viewing audience.

  24. The Missing Heirloom Rule:

    It is not a coincidence that you are missing the exact same locket/medallion/ring or any other piece of memorabilia that the serial killer has collected from each previous victim. You are the next target, so please inform the accepted party immediately to allow for appropriate action.

  25. The "Beware the Ides of March!" Rule:

    If a crazy, ranting old man tells you to stay out of those hills, maybe you should just stay out of those hills.

  26. The Murder She Wrote Rule:

    Places with ongoing, unsolved murder mysteries make for terrible vacation destinations. Please consult your travel agent for a more sound option.

  27. The Element of Surprise is a Good Thing Rule:

    When sneaking up on the unsuspecting antagonistic force to deliver a coup de grace, resist the urge to scream wildly and alert it of your position.

  28. The Nostradamus Rule:

    It is unwise to disbelieve a well-documented legend or prophecy that is clearly coming true. Instead, consult the ancient text for more information.

  29. The Ambiguity of Information Rule:

    In dire situations with imminent danger, avoid pronouns and any other non-descriptive language. All information must be presented in the most time-effective manner with the most pertinent information coming first. Outright withholding of said information is grounds for removal from the accepted party.

  30. The Don't Paint Yourself Into a Corner Rule:

    When fleeing the antagonistic force, avoid the following list of locations: walls, cliffs, dead ends, bathrooms, caves, gorges, fjords, ravines, mazes, valleys, and tall buildings.

  31. The Suspicion Level 9000 Rule:

    If you are appropriately alarmed about a developing situation and suddenly notice an inexplicably tranquil individual, they are the bad guy. Apprehend them immediately to learn what is in store for you.

  32. The Do Not Refuse Tested Information Rule:

    Remain exceptionally attentive around any accepted party member that has already encountered the antagonistic force and is divulging information regarding its weaknesses. Such information should never be discounted, lest one be seeking swift removal from the accepted party.

  33. The "The Only Thing That Will Cover More Ground Is Our Carcasses" Rule:

    No you should not fucking split up! (Notice the word "fucking." See rule 6).

    Never split up.

    Stay together.

    If you're thinking about splitting up, instead... don't.

    Any party member's serious suggestion to split up should be taken as their suggestion to be removed from the accepted party.


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