How to Survive If You Find Yourself Stuck in a Horror Film


Happy Halloween!

In honor of All Hallows’ Eve, I wanted to cover a specific topic today: what you should do if you happen to find yourself suddenly stuck in a horror film.  It’s a very real fear many of us have, and you never know when you could end up:

  • At a cabin in the woods
  • In possession of a demonic device capable of raising the dead
  • Stranded at a hotel for the winter
  • Chased by zombies during the apocalypse

In each of these situations, your chances of survival aren’t great.  Fortunately for you, I’ve put together a handy dandy “survival guide” in case you wake up suddenly stuck in a horror film.

The best part?  Nerd Fitness has been preparing you for this role for years!  I’m here to make sure I can help you get from the opening high pitched noise all the way to the end credits.

On top of that, each and every one of these tips applies to both emergency horror survival, as well as every day fitness. What a coincidence.

Let’s get you to that sequel.

Don’t Split Up. Ever.

star wars pumpkin lego

First and foremost, never leave your wingmen.

“Duh Steve, I know this. I’m not an IDIOT.”

Of course you’re not an idiot – you’re reading Nerd Fitness, which makes you ridiculously smart and good looking.

So, although this is a rule of the Rebellion, it needs repeating here. So, when your quirky friend Bernard suggests that you all split up to find help, feel free to slap him in the mouth.

Monsters, murderers, and creeps wait for you to split up, for they are students of the latin phrase “Divide et impera” (Divide and conquer).

In health and fitness, trying to go it alone makes the battle for weight loss success more challenging, which is why you need to build a quality support team.

In a horror film, trying to go it alone will almost guarantee you get picked off first, or turned into a zombie, or sacrificed.  Nobody remembers the person who dies first in a movie.  They are “that guy” or “that girl.”  You get minimal screen time, plus you’re dead. Which is also a negative.

Note: If your jock friend Tommy, captain of the football, wrestling, basketball, baseball, and rugby team says “we should split up…” – let him go.  The rest of you can stick together.  Don’t let him bring Tammy though!  By the end of the movie when you’re saving her life, she’ll fall for you.  You just have to make it that far!

Get good at sprinting

zombie legos

I’m not quite sure why, but most monsters and horror movie bad guys are slow.

Like, really really effing slow.

Like, when you take off running, they keep walking after you…and walking…and walking.

Which means you can get away quite easily provided two things:

  • You can sprint faster than they can walk.
  • You don’t trip over something and then sit on the ground like a moron.

If you can sprint away faster than they can walk, then whenever you spot the bad guy, instead of standing there and screaming…start running as fast as you can.  Be sure to watch where your feet go.  Simply maintaining a brisk walking pace after that should be more than enough to allow you to get to safety!

So, for this reason, spend time leveling up your sprinting skills.  Not only will it allow you to get to safety, but it also has a crazy amount of other health benefits too:

  • Sprinting builds strength and power
  • Sprinting can increase your VO2max, which also increases your endurance.
  • Sprinting can help you lose weight when paired with a healthy diet.

When you sprint, everything in life gets better. Plus, sprinting in a movie means you will also live longer.

We’ve already covered walking extensively here, but it’s worth noting that being a great walker would also qualify you for a starring role as a monster, should you get converted halfway through the film (which keeps you on screen!).

Note: some movie zombies these days have developed incredible speed, which is why the sprinting skill is far more important than just “cardio.”  Sorry Zombieland!  Just in case, I’ve got you covered there too.  

One final tip: look forward when you run.  It’s safe to assume that they are chasing you, so looking backwards will only lead to you running into a wall, tripping over a root, or running the wrong direction.  Run like hell and don’t look back.

Brains, technique, and strength


The big dumb jock never survives in a horror film.

More often than not, the waifish cheerleader never survives either.

So don’t worry about becoming the big dumb jock or the waifish cheerleader.

You know who DOES survive?

  • The smart guy who outsmarts the monster, who utilizes the tools and skills he has to save the day.
  • The Buffy the vampire slayer type character, who’s not afraid to strength train, and isn’t concerned that she’s the “weird one.”

The pretty boy jock only works out his glamour muscles, and will struggle when he has to do anything functional (you know, like slicing up a zombie army). He’ll get overly cocky and try to go it alone with brute force, when a more cerebral approach would have worked.

The waifish cheerleader?  She’s spent so much time dieting and looking in the mirror that she’s more like an ornament: Sure, she’s decorative, but not very functional.  She can’t defend herself because she spent too much time worrying about what other people think of her,

So, take a tactical approach to both your training and your behavior during the end of days:

  • Train functionally so that your body is prepared to function.  Body weight exercises and free weights will put you in the best shape of your life and best chance for survival.
  • Use your environment.  Just as you can train using a park or playground, so too can you stay alive using your environment.
  • Don’t stop using your brains. Just like you outsmarted “conventional” thinking with your training before the Apocalypse, outsmart the “conventional” baddies at the end of days too.  Running into a cabin with no exit strategy is dumb.  Climbing to the top floor of a building with no way down is dumb.  Training without any semblance of a plan is also dumb.  You’re the smart one in and out of the movie; use your brain properly!

It’s probably too good to be true.


Monsters can be deceptive.

They’re oftentimes disguised as beautiful women or ridiculously good looking dudes.  They might be dead or undead.  Or wearing a killer disguise.

They’ll ask you to follow them down a dark alley, to drink some potion they’ve created, or to follow them into the bedroom for a gratuitous, misplaced, comically bad sex scene.

If it sounds too good to be true, it’s not true:

  • When trying to get healthy, it’s important to remain a skeptic.
  • When trying to survive a horror film, it’s important to remain a skeptic.

Don’t chase the cheap thrill. Don’t chase the cheap and easy victory.  Those people who say “but this way is faster!” end up getting their heads cut off.  Those people who say, “but this pill will solve my problems” end up getting absolutely nowhere.

So stop falling for crap you KNOW you shouldn’t fall for.  You are smart. You’re reading Nerd Fitness, which means you also understand how logic and the Force work.  Whether an an exercise is feeling a bit off or your buddy wants to take that shortcut, go with your gut; if it doesn’t feel right and seems too good to be true, then you probably shouldn’t do it.

Complaining will get you nowhere.

scared eggs

There’s nothing more annoying than somebody in a horror movie who gets hit with a setback and their only response is to sit down, cry, and give up.

Here’s the truth: both in life, and in Halloween: Resurrection, shit happens.

You’re gonna think things are getting better, only to find out that the bad guy ISN’T DEAD. Somehow. After 15 sequels.  Or you’re going to trip over a tree root or round a corner and run into even more trouble. Again.

If your first instinct is to scream at the top of your lungs (thus alerting said monsters to your attention), or to panic and FREAK out like JoJo the Indian Circus boy, you’re going to die.  Real fast.

So stop complaining and suck it up.

Okay fine, it’s the end of the world.  All of your friends have been wiped out by a killer plague that’s taking over the planet.

Yup, it sucks.  You know what sucks even more than that?  Dying because you complained too much.

So, although the end of days might not be your fault (UNLESS YOU READ THAT ANCIENT BOOK YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE!), it’s your responsibility to fix it.

So stop thinking so negatively, and think on the bright side: you woke up today! Things will get better.

And when you deal with setbacks (say, your friend just turned into a zombie), give yourself 2 seconds to panic, and then immediately put steps in place to fix it.

Finish the Job!

fake dead

Nothing drives me more crazy than watching somebody knock out a bad guy and then immediately run away.  

Hmmm, do you think MAYBE HE’S NOT DEAD YET?

You’ve already done all the hard work!  You’ve successfully incapacitate him/her/it.  Want to know the worst thing you can do at this point?  Give up and let them recover.

Monsters are clumsy as hell.  They don’t have matrix like kung fu skills.  What they lack in skill they make up for in unbridled rage and persistence.  They’ll keep coming for you.

Once you’ve managed to break free from your adversary, FINISH THE JOB!

  • Don’t stab them once and then run away.  He ain’t dead.
  • If you’re gonna shoot a werewolf, empty the clip!
  • If you knock a guy out, TIE HIM UP.  Sit on top of him. Handcuff him. Don’t just leave.

Make sure you finish what you started.  Just as you should follow through with your health and fitness, so too should you follow through with your incapacitation of the bad guy, should you get the rare opportunity to do so.

Stay alive

Nerd Fitness Pumpkin

My goal is to help you survive through the first film, because if it’s a big hit…there’s more money and fame to be had with the sequel.   You get to return as the grizzled veteran who has seen it all and done it all and leads by example.

Though, I will say I’d recommend that you turn down the third movie.  It’s just a cheap cash-in and you’re better off taking your talents on Dancing with the Stars at this point. You know, to show your crossover potential.

What other tips would you have for future horror movie stars who want to survive the whole film?

Leave a comment – our team here will pick the funniest tip we see and hook them up with a Nerd Fitness shirt.

Now go have some fun tonight…just don’t eat too much sugar.


PS – Thanks to my friends over at AOM for the heads up – I originally left out an important tip to defeating monsters: Kick ’em in the nards!

Today’s Rebel Hero: Beth F, the Tough Muddin’ Rebel!


“I am one of your new Academy recruits and just wanted to share with you this picture taken after I completed Tough Mudder UK North West with my sister on Saturday 4th October. Trained solid for 6 weeks whilst following Paleo 80/20 and really surprised myself with what my body was capable of.

Finding Nerd Fitness at the beginning of this year gave me confidence to lift, train like a beast, start Crossfit and learn to enjoy running (I used to hate it but now love running with my dog).”

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56 thoughts on “How to Survive If You Find Yourself Stuck in a Horror Film

  1. Though, to be fair, horror movies have an unpleasant habit of killing off people who return for the sequel…

  2. If attacked by a zombie, play dead. It won’t fool the zombie, but it’ll be good practice for you. :O

  3. I think I’m going to start training as if I’m always being chased by monsters. I just need to find some good montage music to go with my workouts. Loved this post!!!

  4. If you find yourself in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, get yourself to the nearest island because zombies can’t swim. Just watch out for sharks, sharknados, sharktopus (sharktopi?), and two-headed sharks. And…while most of us think sex is great, it usually ends up getting us killed in the movies. So, if you find yourself being chased by a machete-wielding, hockey mask-wearing psycho…..KEEP IT IN YOUR PANTS!!

  5. Learn to fool the enemy. Turn to your immediate partner and practice saying: I’m not tasty. I only came in to this abandoned desert gas-station for a hack, sack and crack. Your monster should be totally confused.

  6. #Surviving a Horror Movie Tip

    Face your Fears

    Since monsters in horror movies are persistent, there will be a time when you will have to stop running, face them, and get rid of them for ever.

    Same goes for training. Fear is anything that stops you from training: Injury, exhaustion, opinions from friends and family, people will laugh if I fail, I can’t do this because it is difficult and so on. Face your fears by beginning slow, level up each day gradually and become stronger.

    If you think it is easier said than done, then think about this: Everyday there is a rebel hero who’s picture goes up on the website because they faced their fears.

  7. Never get drunk. Drunk people inevitably find themselves in the precarious position of being easy prey, conveniently serving to distract the monster while their sober friends hightail it out of there to safety. Although, there is an exception to this rule… When facing certain death, a few swigs of something at least 80 proof wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world.

  8. Remember that in a horror movie you don’t have to be the fastest, sometimes just not being the slowest is enough. If you can pass one person, and then pass one more, that’s two victims … er, people … between you and the bad guy. While you’re at it keep looking forward and see if there is anyone else you can pass.

  9. Survival Tip: It always helps to have a diversion.

    If you have a cat, I highly suggest that you dress the cat up in some sort of costume to draw the movie monster away. Recently, I put a pirate hat on my cat, and while she was running down the stairs I started meow’ing the Pirates of the Caribbean theme song. My wife and I laughed histerically, and we agree that a diversionary tactic like this would be enough to allow a person to escape from a movie monster by either providing random confusion or much needed comic relief (assuming that you don’t get caught up in the moment and stick around so you can CONTINUE to meow to the tune of the Pirates of the Caribbean theme song).

    Sorry Mr. Whiskers, but it looks like you’ll have to take one for the team!

  10. Train your patience. When you want to survive in a horror film and you’ve thought of this fancy super duper clever trick to get the monsters/zombies/evil overlords out of the way, don’t be disappointed when it doesn’t work immediately. Patience is your best friend, and so is willpower, to get your plan to work anyway and RAWR the s*** out of the bad guys. 😀

    Also, tree-climbing skills might come in handy too. You never know when there are possessed bloodhounds chasing you.

  11. Rule Zero…Do not be on fire!
    Flamethrowers might seem like a good idea, but could cause untold damage to your friends, yourself, you trusty sidekicks and surprisingly intelligent dogs.
    You are better off learning some sort of really useful skill rather than relying on the flashy stuff!

  12. Whoa whoa whoa! You can’t just throw out Zombieland’s Rule #1 (Cardio) when it’s wrong, but then not credit them with Rule #2: Double Tap when it’s right!

  13. Alas, tis not so! True, zombies can’t swim, but they can walk, and they don’t need to breathe. Remember Pirates of the Caribbean? Course, slow, shambling zombies underwater are more likely to make easy snacks for sharks…

  14. Hmmm….good point. I hope those survivalists who are building moats have a back-up plan lol.

  15. Great article! Although I gotta disagree with the cheerleader bit… sure they’re all snooty and “waif-like” in movies but in real life they’re some of the toughest girls I know. I’m sure a real cheerleader could back flip and parkour his or her way out of a zombie horde in a pinch, not to mention climbing things as well as a human pyramid and throwing other people.

  16. Nothing makes me crazier than seeing someone in high heels trying to run UPstairs to get away from the killer…. seriously? what is UPstairs other than twisted ankles and NO EXIT? Why make it easy for the psychopath? Ditch the heels and run OUTside… towards help!

  17. ALWAYS CONFIRM THE KILL! It drives me nuts when I watch a movie and they just get the bad guy down… and then leave… they deserve to get stabbed in the back for being so stupid at that point.
    Love the article!

  18. Remember you’re in a life-and-death situation, not a therapy session. Run now, whine and cry later. It’s so annoying when the monster/bad guy is approaching, buddy gets shot and someone stops to sob over their lifeless body and make dramatic proclamations. Yes, this is sad, but unless you want to be the next body, run while you have the chance. You can cry when you’re safe.

    This sounds terribly callous, but watch next time. They’ll sit there sniveling until the bad guy is right on them and then they can barely get away (assuming it’s the hero who isn’t going to die anyway).

  19. When surrounded by zombies there is a 3 step process to safety:
    1) place boombox/iPod with speakers/laptop/any music playing device on the ground
    2) press play
    3) Thriller dance your way to safety
    Michael Jackson taught us that zombies just want to dance, so why not give them what they want maybe that’s why they always chase humans in the first place, they just don’t know how to play music

  20. This once happened to me in real life. Stuck in a horror movie.

    With the three of us we went to the open day of the LHC (large Hadron Collider) which was just 3 countries away, because they are only every going to have 1 open day in our lifetimes. So we’d been driving for over 10 hours when we got there. Spent the day looking at the fantastic toys of overqualified electricians and started going back home. Since we came through Germany we figured we’d go back through France for a change of scenary. Bad choice. Only just into the mountains it started snowing, first slowly, then a bit more, then lots and lots. At the same time the gas level of our car went down. One tankstation, closed, two closed, three closed. And all the time massive amounts of snow. As it wasn’t winter anymore we didn’t have winter tires of course.

    We finally found a gas station that did accept creditcards at 1am Sunday morning. The next morning (like 8 hours later) we had to be at work so we decided to drive on. Carefully and slowly through the snow. And ofcourse we took a wrong turn ending us in a back road somewhere in the dark. Where obviously the car got stuck in the snow. We got out of the car and I saw something in front of the car, maybe 15 meters away. It was big and it was looking straight at me. Completely startled I did the two second panic and let out a short scream. Only to figure out it was a horse;)

    Anyway, on we turned around and decided to find a hotel. There was no way we’d get to work in time the next morning (ie 4 hours later) and we’d better sleep before driving too much further. So thankfully the navigation could pinpoint us to the nearest hotel. At this time we were exhausted from getting up way too early the night before and driving for hours and hours in the thick snow. So the nearest hotel it was. (Still like 30 miles away) We drove up and as there wasn’t a clear parking space my bf stayed in the car for a bit (ie we split up) while my friend and me got out to check if they had any rooms free. The building was massive and radiated ‘psychiatric hospital’ from the 30s. We walked into the reception area. Empty. A single light bulb on a loose fitting was flickering. There was some unread mail on the reception with some dust on top of it. The keys to all the rooms were gone except key 13. There was no one around. We called quietly not to wake anyone up. But no response except for some weird noises from a hallway.

    So, we walked toward that hallway, which was dark. But at the end of the hallway there was a corner and from that corner some light fell into the hallway. We considered what we wanted to do. The hotel breather spooky. But the next hotel was another half hour away and we were dead tired, plus there was still more snow falling and we weren’t sure how far we could drive before we got stuck again. We decided to walk down that dark hallway, with the flickering light behind us and that tiny speck of light and the weird noise in front of us. I noticed that we started walking slower as we walked further into the hallway. Clearly both of us felt a bit spooked. Then a sort of scraping sound and the light at the end went out. We looked at each other in the little light that was left and said something like: “You know.. if this was a horror movie this’d be where you’d be yelling at the screen for the idiots to just get out…” “Yeah..” And that’s exactly what we did. Turned back, walked away, got back into the car and drove to the next hotel.

    Of course, back at home I looked up what that place was. And it was in fact a mental asylum in the thirties. After that it turned into a hotel, but that went out of business a few months earlier. What I also found freaked me out a bit more. Two days after we’d been there they found a guy there who’d been murdered. Probably on the night we were there. (Yes, we contacted the police and all.)

    The best way to survive a horror movie? Make sure you’re not there. If it doesn’t feel right, get out.

  21. Don’t answer the phone if it’s an unrecognized number! It’s just common sense. Although if that’s the case, the movie will be over in 3 minutes and there will be absolutely no sequel and definitely no terrible third movie. (Although I CAN think of some epic “third” movies – Return of the Jedi, Iron Man 3 – none of them are horror films. Maybe you should try to star in a superhero movie instead? Seems like a better outcome and you might even get a cool suit.)

  22. Or you become the bad guy, if you do die it will be right at the end and even then there is still a strong chance of making a reappearance in a sequel 😛

  23. Thank you, thank you, thank you for talking about FINISHING OFF THE BAD GUY! Nothing is more annoying than seeing the bad guy fall down and then the idiot run off sobbing.

    This isn’t even seen in just horror movies anymore. The times it occurs during kids/family films, my kids are tired of hearing me screaming “FINISH HIM (or it) OFF!!!! HE IS DOWN you have the ADVANTAGE!!! FINISH HIM!!!”

    GAH!!! (when the character runs away).

    Then we have an intense discussion on how this was absolutely the wrong move 🙂

    But… if they’re ever get stuck in a horror movie my kids should know what to do!

    Great post Steve. Happy Halloween!

  24. Dont piss off a truck driver, always keep the gas tank full, never park in the woods to make out. Oh, and avoid hiking in Kentucky at all costs.

  25. Start chasing the monster/zombie/serial killer. In movies everyone is all about panic and survival. But turn the tables around. Find some weapons and equip your friends too and together go, find and kill Leatherface or whoever is chasing you. The only problem is that in this situation movies would last about 15 mins lol

  26. 😉 my tip would have! To be. Don’t put your finger in the goo/ blood then taste it! . To find out whAt it is . Chances are pretty darn good it is something you will wish you hadn’t touched. 😉

  27. Of course during a chase/ hunted/ trapped etc scene you can always point to the annoying sniveling guy ( there is always one) and inform every(thing) loudly that he tastes like BACON. 😉

  28. Biggest rule of surviving a horror movie, DON’T BE CURIOUS. When you hear that noise over there don’t go check it out, it is either the bad guy or a kitty, neither one will help you at this point so just run the other way.

  29. If attacked inside a house, don’t go into the basement by yourself and don’t bypass the front door to run upstairs.

  30. Tip #1: Don’t go to places you know are trouble. (Like a haunted house, abandoned amusement park, that one old woman’s house who people always prank)
    Tip #2: Never make fun of the fallen. (If there’s a weird girl that people hate it’s probably better to just be nice. For all you know, she could be Satan.)
    Tip #3: In case of a zombie apocalypse, always have more people than you can handle, that way when a sudden attack happens, those few stragglers will be eaten instead of you. (Jill never did anything but complain about dysentery anyway)

    Also, Tough Mudder sounds awesome….I would go if I actually had the resources.

  31. I love your writings. Had many laughs with this post. It amazes me every time how you can make things seemingly unrelated so interestingly related. And for that I thank you. Keep them coming. Definitely shared.

  32. Here’s what you gotta do: get a tight leather outfit. For right now, you’ll look like a badass. If you work out in it, you’ll sweat like crazy, work up the ultimate stink, and be able to scare away any modern day zombie who comes after you. When the zombies do come, it will provide significant protection against zombie bites and you’ll still look like a badass. If the zombies find food by scent you’ll smell like the last thing anyone would want to eat. This outfit can do anything and may be the key to saving the world after it ends.

  33. Well, every single person who plays video games on this planet knows that in whatever situation in which you have to stay alive for a pretty long time, just sitting on a rooftop with a mini gun (GTA 5?) usually does the job.

    Gather a little crew of people, get some weapons (this could vary from RPG’s to throwing knives to fireworks), get on a roof, put only one ladder to the ground and nothing else (RDR: Undead Nightmare, someone?) and then just wait until the zombies are coming to you, looking up to you and thinking like ‘how are we gonna get there’ and then you can:

    a) Laugh at them
    b) Shoot them
    c) Kill a lot of them with an explosion

    And NO, this is not any kind of Call of Duty in which you can teleport away from the zombies, have ray guns and stuff: you only have yourself (and hopefully a gun or something).

    PS: Don’t forget to collect the zombies body parts after they are dead (do watch out for other monsters coming towards you) because you can put these body parts in your Blunderbuss (Again RDR: Undead Nightmare) which is quite useful when it comes to making things explode 🙂

  34. That game is awesome! The zombies chase you. There’s a whole story that goes with it. I sprint when the zombies chase me 🙂

  35. Knock down the dumb jock before everyone starts running. It is likely he will stand up and try brute force before fleeing. Let him be the first dish on the zombie buffet.

  36. How awesome are these most common sense but then again you watch a movie and all common sense seems to go out the door. I feel like I spend half the time yelling at the characters to stop being so dumb than being scared.

  37. Love the Buffy reference. I have a cold this morning so I was thinking of skipping my workout, but then I read this and thought, “what would happen if I stopped fighting the zombies because I felt the sniffles coming on?” I’ve got my runners on and I’m ready to go. lol

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