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The Strangers

The silver screen sages at have taken a look back over the home invasion cinematic oeuvre and drawn a few obvious lessons for future characters in potential peril. If you’ve ever sat in the dark, looking through your fingers and shouting in futility at the character on the screen, ‘don’t open that door!,’ you’ve pretty much got it. They’ve come up with ten gems like ‘don’t split up’, ‘turn off the lights’ and ‘avoid psychopathic sleepovers.’ You know, obvious strategies like that. From ‘Home Alone’ they’ve concluded that booby traps are a good way to go when repelling marauders. And they like they way Jodie Foster channeled her inner badass in ‘Panic Room’ . . .

Of course, there’s one option conspicuous by its absence: use your home defense weapon. Nowhere in their top ten do they list, “rack your Mossberg Persuader” or “draw down on the masked freak with your Kahr P9.” Because let’s face it — if the the hapless homeowners in the ten motion pictures they mention had been armed to begin with, those movies would have only lasted about as long as your average trailer, rather than the feature-length masterpieces they are. Bummer.

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  1. Of course it’s a double edged sword so-to-speak. The baddies also never have guns. Usually just blades or other cutting tools. Michael Meyers: butcher knife; Freddie Krueger: blade glove; Jason Voorhees: machete; Leatherface: chainsaw; Chucky: knife; etc…

    • Sharp melee weapons are generally considered to be scarier, possibly due to the fact that they are much more ruthless as they are slow compared to a firearm but still damaging enough to spill a lot of blood (and therefore, very messy). In fact, most serial killers do not use firearms.

      “When it comes to choice of weapons, American serial killers defy all national norms. In 1996, according to the FBI’s ‘Uniform Crime Report,’ 68% of American murders were committed with firearms, 26% were the result of hands on violence-stabbing, beating, strangulation-and another 6% were committed by other means, including arson, bombs, and poison. SERIAL SLAYERS, BY CONTRAST, PREFER THE PERSONAL TOUCH: 51% KILL MANUALLY, VERSUS 22% WHO RELY EXCLUSIVELY ON GUNS and 10% who utilize ‘other’ means; another 14% alternate between shooting and manual attacks, and 3%-including killers like Henry Lucas and Ottis Toole-use anything and everything available as homicidal tools. (Lucas once bragged that he had murdered using ‘everything but poison,’ including victims who were crucified, run down with cars, and burned alive.)” [Emphasis added]

  2. The reality of “real life” is that you Must assume that the BG is a BA, sober, strong, armed and just a tad over the line that separates normal Crims from Homicidal Maniacs. For heavens sake do not try to Talk The Perp Down or EVER surrender your weapon

  3. They do mention a character in the strangers grabbing a knife,
    and Jodi Foster using a sledgehammer, but these are weapons of opportunity.
    It seems rare that any character in a horror movie of this nature is prepared.
    Even if they have a safe room, costing thousands, they don’t have any way
    to directly defend themselves, and must improvise.
    We can take these as cautionary tales, and do better. They cam also be conversation
    starters when talking to friends about why they should be armed before trouble starts.

  4. If “average people” ever decide to take responsibility for their own safety, and if the nation ever decides to let them, movies like “The Strangers” will be considered anachronistic remnants of a bygone age.

    Bad people break into house. Homeowner shoot their @sses. Roll credits. Wins Oscar for Best Short Subject.

    • Speaking of Oscar, be sure to ID the intruder, in case you shoot your model girlfriend by accident.

      • You’re kidding, right? I hope you are.

        Only an idiot does not know what they are shooting, and what is behind it.

        • Not following the news is no sur sign of lack of intelligence.

          Or maybe he forgot the /sarc…

    • Male “hero” of the Strangers finds a hidden, disassembled shotty in the closet. Claims to not know anything about it, still clumsily assembles it and feeds a round or two.
      Kills his brother or friend (don’t remember which) with it. If he had only taken an extra second to ID who it was, film would have turned out differently – the accidentally killing demoralizes/freezes him into not taking any effective actions against the Intruders.

    • “Bad people break into house. Homeowner shoots their @sses.”

      Homeowner has to defend himself against manslaughter or gun crime (depending on jurisdiction) brought by aggressive ambitious prosecutor while simultaneously being stalked by deceased bad actors relatives or associates: two hour feature film.

      • Even in Massachusetts, if someone breaks into your home intending to do you harm and you shoot them, you’re not going to be prosecuted. The Comintern of Massachusetts actually has a Castle Law. Can you imagine that?

    • That’ll be the distant future, when every homeowner will carry an Atom-atic Piece-maker…

  5. The Purge was a great quasi-horror movie, by the way.

    Lots of effective self-defense, lots of guns vs. knife and bat wielding baddies.

    • The Purge is an attack on the National Rifle Association.

      From the director DeManaco’s lips: “That’s what I realized – there’s something already in the air in our country. Maybe this absurd, but is it really that absurd? I layered in these New Founding Fathers, this regime that we voted into power at some point, some kind of NRA-thing that took over the country.”

      • So, on a preliminary basis, I say screw “The Purge.” If Ralph is listening, I hope he does a movie review.

        • Sometimes, when so-called creative people are totally cocooned in groupthink, they try to make one point, but actually ending up proving the opposite.

        • A81, the only purge I’m interested in involves milk of magnesia.

          BTW, for the plot of The Purge, see “The Return of the Archons,” a Star Trek episode from 1967. And it’s probably older than that.

      • I didn’t know that. But if I let the politics of directors and actors always dictate what movies and shows I watched I’d probably never see another movie again. Or watch another show.

        • When they’re that pig-headed about their politics, though, it’s worth waiting until it’s on TV so you don’t reward someone for actively being a jackass.

        • Sure. But do you really want to give these jerks your money? They will take it and use it to enslave the people like Mayor Bloomberg uses his money.

          Starve the beast. Become a pirate. 😀

        • Become a pirate. Stealing movies and music via the download sites isn’t just fun and economically wise, it’s the right thing to do!

      • I have not seen the movie, but my daughter saw it this weekend. She found the plot inconsistent even in the context of its own setting; things like the lack of preparation by the family even though this was supposed tobe a scheduled recurring event. There were several unresolved plot lines. She found it laughable more than scary.

    • and the dumbest concept for a plot that has ever been given the green light for production.

      • Jeff, it reminds me of a few minutes of one of the episodes of the originol Star Trek series. One night a year the residents of the planet got to go berserk to get all the evil out of their system.

        Hollywood truly has no creativity left.

  6. To be fair, Kevin lived in Cook County, and he did use an air rifle which was all he had.

  7. It should be pointed out that in the film that the above picture is from (The Strangers) the victims in the film did in fact have a shotgun. However, funny enough, it was only used by the newlyweds to accidentally shoot their would be savior. Then they both died a horrible, painful death. Friendly fire is a bitch!

    • They really needed to embrace the situation. That’s the point where they should’ve just yelled “Yep, just shot my own brother in the face, who wants to be next? I will obviously shoot anything that moves, no matter who it is!” and then walk on down the road.

  8. “Use Boobytraps”

    Um, frankly, I expect the moviefone people to have that article taken down for that piece of advice alone, since booby-trapping anything is a rather indiscriminate act of destructive force and almost always has some stiff criminal and civil penalties attached.

    If anything on your property is found to be booby-trapped in the event of a home invasion, you WILL be facing criminal and civil penalties.

  9. Actually, I can think of one horror movie series that embraced firearms, flamethrowers, and other weapons for two average Joes who decide to stop the onslaught of evil. The Fantasm movie series is at best a “B” rated movie franchise but there is not doubt they glorify guns for stopping evildoers. While that series was definitely intended for the horror genre, many viewers cannot help but view them as comedy films … mostly due to their cheesy special affects. Nevertheless they are fun for gunnies to watch.

    Oh, and I suppose we could include Army of Darkness as well. Bruce Campbell certainly puts shotguns and lever action rifles to good use. Although that movie series is probably comedy as well if you want to be technical about it. Nevertheless, can anyone point to a better line in a movie than Bruce Campbell’s declaration to the medieval crowd, “This …… is my BOOMSTICK!” (Referring to his shotgun.)

    You can see the clip here:

  10. Movie tactics for home invasions are generally nonsensical for the same reason that films about elite fighting troops are nonsensical: If someone is well-prepared for a dangerous situation, their opponents walk into a slaughter, not a battle.

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