Blogger Stacie Ponder’s horror columns appear every Wednesday.
Anyone who socializes on any scale whatsoever knows the importance of a good exit: Don’t be the last one to go. Don’t insist everyone join you dancing on the table when your hosts are clearly ready for Slumberland. These tips will all but ensure that you’ll be invited out with the gang again. If you’d like to guarantee you’ll be on the guest list, however, you might want to consider a great exit line. I’d recommend something more snazzy than my old standard “Well…bye,” but less violence-inspiring than, say, “Seacrest… out.” And don’t be afraid to fail as you experiment: “Later, dudes, I’m outta here!” might sound too much like an Olsen twin quipping to Uncle Jesse circa ’89. “See ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya!” sounds like a yearbook signature. Keep trying. You’ll get there, I promise.
In the world of the horror film, a great exit line serves many purposes: It can set up for a sequel, it can leave the viewer with a sense of dread long after the credits have rolled, or it can simply be something that inspires endless quoting and bad impressions. Surely, we all have our favorites — let’s bust out the chestnuts.
There’s More to Come
These endings leave the door so far open for a sequel, the door has actually been blown off the hinges and has exploded into a million tiny pieces.
Friday the 13th : “Ma’am, we didn’t find any boy.” “But…then he’s still out there!” Yes, Alice, almost 30 years on and Jason is still out there. And he’s mean and gross.
My Bloody Valentine: “This whole f—ing town is going to
die! We’re coming back, you bastards! Sarah, be my bloody valentine (Ha
ha ha, insane cackle)!” Such an obvious set-up for a sequel might
prompt you to ask why there hasn’t been a sequel, and why the film is being remade instead.
Candyman : “What’s the matter, Trevor? Scared of something?” Sure, her “burnt scalp” looked more like a showercap, but Candyman‘s Helen wasted no time in making scary use of her newly-acquired hook. Stupid Trevor.
Under Your Skin
It’s not always flash that makes an end line so memorable: There are some that quietly keep the goosebumps coming.
Session 9 :
“And where do you live, Simon?” “I live in the weak and the wounded…
Doc.” A creepy decades-old recording telling me that evil is really out
there and everyone in the world is but a few bad days away from going
totally cuckoo-nutso? Yeah, that works.
The Haunting :
“Hill House has stood for 90 years and might stand for 90 more. Within,
walls continue upright, bricks meet, floors are firm, and doors are
sensibly shut. Silence lies steadily against the wood and stone walls,
and we who walk here…walk alone.” Pulled almost verbatim from Shirley
Jackson’s fantastic novel, The Haunting of Hill House, those last lines are…umm…well, rather haunting, aren’t they?
Ugh, as Long as She Doesn’t Try Austin Powers Next
in a while a line comes along that everyone simply has to quote.
Everyone fancies him or herself a regular Rich Little until you just
feel like climbing a clock tower, you know?
The Silence of the Lambs :
“I do wish we could chat for longer, but I’m having an old friend for
dinner.” While not nearly as quoted as the famous “fava beans and a
nice chianti” line (come on, even Amish people drag out that one from
time to time), I’ve certainly overheard Dr Lecter’s goodbye to Clarice
more times than I care to mention.
The Lesson Here Is
There are certainly horror movies with a message out there,
sometimes subtle and thought-provoking: Humans are self-destructive and
racism is bad, as in Romero’s Night of the Living Dead ;
sometimes laid on so thick, you’d have to be Helen Keller to miss it:
Humans are self-destructive and the Information Age is effed up, as in
Romero’s Diary of the Dead ).
“I’ll teach you to throw away my comic books! Ready for another shot,
dad?” That one’s pretty obvious, I’ll admit it.
There is no better dish than chili my friends: A zillion
ingredients together in one bowl, creating multi-layered, spicy
taste sensation. Sometimes it’s the perfectly simple that’s the best. Which brings us to…
“It was the boogeyman.” “As a matter of fact, it was.” Laurie and Dr.
Loomis’ exchange in John Carpenter’s slasher classic is a total end
line chili, combining every end line category I’ve listed here: It sets
us up for the inevitable sequel. It’s creepy as all get-out. Every
horror fan worth his or her salt knows it, and has surely attempted
quoting it in his or her finest Donald Pleasence patois. And It teaches
us a horrifying lesson: The boogeyman is real. Does it get any better
I’m glad I could clue you all in to the impact a great
exit line can have both in horror and in life. I hope you’ve learned a
little something, and I know for a fact that we’ve all grown just a
little bit closer.
Hey, I’m still working on it, alright?
A fan of horror movies and scary stuff, Stacie Ponder started her blog Final Girl so she’d have a platform from which she could tell everyone that, say, Friday the 13th, Part 2 rules. She leads a glamorous life, walking on the razor’s edge of danger and intrigue.Read More