ByMatt Stumpf, writer at Creators.co
I love all things horror. Books, movies, video games, etc. My favorite horror films include Martyrs and Sleepaway Camp. Let's talk movies.
Matt Stumpf

Scream is truly a standout horror film, and 20 years later it is still relevant. It is self-aware, never takes itself too seriously and still manages to be a frightening movie. is a smart movie, and really takes some good jabs at films, especially the '80s slasher films. If you're like me, you were growing up while Scream was massive, and you may even remember the infamous "Rules to Survive a Horror Film." Let's take a look at these and see if they still hold up today.

Rule #1: Sex = Death

Randy's first rule to survive a horror film is that if you have sex, you will die. This rule was pretty accurate with a lot of those campy '80s slasher films, but we don't see it too much anymore today. Films like Graduation Day and Friday the 13th had scenes where two people are having sex and end up dead.

If you've watched Scream 4, they establish new rules, and one of them is "virgins can die now." Movies like Hostel: Part II feature characters like Lorna (implied to be a virgin), dying in a gruesome ode to Elizabeth Bathory. This rule is essentially null and void now.

Heather Matarazzo as Lorna in 'Hostel: Part II' [Credit:Lionsgate/Screen Gems]
Heather Matarazzo as Lorna in 'Hostel: Part II' [Credit:Lionsgate/Screen Gems]

Rule #2: Don't Drink Or Do Drugs

Sometimes while watching Scream I can't help but think back to movies like Sleepaway Camp 2 and Sleepaway Camp 3. These films almost epitomize the rules Randy has come up with, as the killer in those films targets anyone doing anything she deems "immoral." In Scream, Randy describes that drinking and drugs are part of the sin factor and are an extension of Rule #1.

Horror films almost always come across as morality plays, but there have been some exceptions to this rule — Marlon Wayans's character in Scary Movie survives. Mia in the Evil Dead remake has a drug addiction problem, and though she becomes possessed, she ultimately defeats the demon and survives the film. This is another rule that has seemingly fallen to the wayside.

Jane Levy as Mia. 'Evil Dead' [Credit: TriStar Pictures]
Jane Levy as Mia. 'Evil Dead' [Credit: TriStar Pictures]

Rule #3: Never Ever Say 'I'll Be Right Back'

This rule seems to be fairly accurate. Randy tells everyone that under no circumstances should you ever say "I'll be right back." The assumption is that if you say you'll be right back, you will end up dead. Series like Halloween and Friday the 13th have so many of these moments that it's too hard to list, but they've really defined this trope.

Another not-so-bloody horror film that utilizes this is 1985's Fright Night. Charley and Peter go off to find Jerry Dandrige's coffin when they hear a mysterious noise. Charley decides to go investigate, saying "I'll be right back" and nearly dies. This trope has pretty much been a staple of horror films and doesn't seem to be going anywhere.

Chris Sarandon as Jerry Dandrige. 'Fright Night' [Credit: Columbia Pictures]
Chris Sarandon as Jerry Dandrige. 'Fright Night' [Credit: Columbia Pictures]

Bonus Rule #4: The Sequel Is Always Bigger And Bloodier

Ok, so this rule wasn't introduced until Scream 2, but I felt like it was worth mentioning. It really is the most accurate and relevant rule, in my opinion — look at the Friday the 13th sequel. Jason Voorhees is finally introduced, and he is significantly more dangerous than his mother, Pamela. It's violent, bloody, and the bodycount rises. The Saw franchise is another good example. The first Saw film was pretty brutal, but each subsequent film just took it to a completely different level. It's a rule that filmmakers still seem to follow, and has held up even more so than the other rules.

Jason Voorhees in 'Friday the 13th Part 2' [Credit: Paramount Pictures]
Jason Voorhees in 'Friday the 13th Part 2' [Credit: Paramount Pictures]

Well, there you have it. The first three rules from Scream and one of the rules from Scream 2, 20 years later. What do you think? Do you think these rules are still relevant today? Or, have filmmakers caught on to the tropes and are now trying to avoid them? Let me know in the comments.

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