How to Survive a Horror Movie with Seth Grahame-Smith


Do you have the skills to dodge the kills?

What do you do if your corn has children in it? You’ve got a few options, according to writer Seth Grahame-Smith: First, you can crop dust the area with crushed Ritalin, pot brownies or skimpy tank tops (there’s an explanation for this which we won’t get into here). You can turn the area into a baseball field, blast the malicious farm-bred tykes with obnoxious music that would drive them nuts or transform the place into the Neverland Ranch.

There’s some sound advice for you, ripped from the pages of Quirk Productions’ “How to Survive a Horror Movie,” a pint-sized black-covered tome – by Seth Grahame-Smith, a former TV development exec-cum-author – that just might come in handy if you ever go mano y mano with an evil vehicle, doll, a psycho mama’s boy, zombies, satan or just about anything a century’s-worth of horror films have thrown at us. Well-intentioned, smart as whip and approached with an air of reverence, Smith’s satirical survival guide is clearly for a horror fan and by a horror fan.

But coming from a guy whose last two efforts were “The Big Book of Porn” and a “Spider-Man” handbook probably never would have guessed.

“I always wanted to do a companion to horror movies,” Grahame-Smith says. “I pitched [Quirk] on simple encyclopedic stuff but there’s a lot of books out there already, like ‘1001 Movies You Need to See Before You Die.’ Then my idea was to do a book of the absolutely worst, so funny bad they’re bad movies. They weren’t into that. I said, ‘Well, you guys do a lot of survival guides – why don’t we write a book that’s aimed at horror movie characters?’ That made it easy to frame all of these facts and I just looked at the movies on my shelf. What are the movies I’m compelled to watch every six months?”

Those movies he turned to for inspiration were classics like Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, which the author confesses he must watch every Halloween, The Omen, The Exorcist and, movies that are “terrible, well, not terrible, but don’t hold up like Children of the Corn. Basically, I looked into movies that I know and love.” Designed by the team at Quirk (founded by “Worst Case Scenario” author David Borgenicht), Grahame-Smith’s words of wisdom are accompanied by illustrator Nathan Fox whose gallery of ghouls allow you to know your foe.

“One of the chapters I wanted to do was from a parent’s point of view: What would you do if you were Damien’s mother or father,” explains Grahame-Smith of a chapter ultimately excised from the final product. “So I had this whole process laid out about how to, basically, kill your child and burn its body down to ash. Then you use that ash to mix with cement to either build a children’s hospital or bake into a cake and feed to nuns. How would you dilute that evil so it doesn’t come back? They iced that chapter. They couldn’t stomach that.”

Grahame-Smith suffered more unkind cuts when CBS took a fancy to the survival guide and commissioned him to create a series of online webisodes based on his useful tips. “When we did the series, CBS put the kibosh on the chapter called ‘What to do if you did something last summer.’ The joke of that was the guy couldn’t remember what he did the summer before, so he was paranoid that people knew what he did so he went out killing all of his friends one by one. CBS was like, ‘It’s too similar to the movie title.'”

Okay, so due to editing you’re bereft of two possibly essential guidelines, still, there’s an entire book worth the read that could save your life if you some day find you’re trapped in a situation befitting of a George Romero or Wes Craven (who provides the book’s foreword) opus. “People trapped in horror movies are faced with a choice: Either line up with the other cattle and march to the slaughterhouse, or fight back,” Grahame-Smith frankly states. “Yes, it’s a long way to the end credits. No, the odds aren’t in your favor. But is that any reason to lie down and let the filmmakers have their way with you? Choose to be a self-aware character. Choose to use the rules of the horror universe to your advantage. Choose Life.”

Looking ahead, Smith is getting ready to pen another book with a supernatural bent and he has just set up a deal with Twisted Pictures, the production entity behind the “Saw” franchise. For a look at the aforementioned webisodes, visit If you have a tough time playing them, like this writer did, you can also visit

Source: Ryan Rotten