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Lights, Camera, Critic's Crappy Clichés: The Car Won't Start

This cliché has become notorious in horror films. The scene: you’re being chased by the villain or creature. You enter a car, the killer is gaining on you. You put the key in and attempt start the vehicle. You keep turning the key, but the engine won’t start.

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Soldierone3526d ago

I am so glad you brought this up! Its the most annoying thing in the world. When you tack on people that cant drive worth crap (i mean who runs into an object on a daily basis?) its so annoying.

I think it was Chainsaw Massecre that did it not only once, but twice or more? The girl coulnt start it, then she decides "well i guess shutting the door is too much of an effort" and drives off. Now this is after the movie showed the same truck starting just fine like three times....Then another girl gets in a brand new car that was just driven and parked not less than two seconds ago....zomg it wont start!

I understand building up a moment, but can we not be creative and at least explain why it wont start? Maybe hot wire the car? Maybe talk about how its a project car the entire time? Anything other than "ZOMG IS SUDDENLY HAS A DEAD BATTERY!!!!"

JL3526d ago

lol I do hate little cliches like this in the horror genre. The other one that really bugs the piss out of me: why is the auto-response always to run upstairs? Upstairs, really? I mean I've even seen movies where the front door was just 20ft away from the character (usually a girl), but the stairs to the upper floor were only 5ft away, so upstairs we go.

Or the hiding under the bed or in the closet thing. Really? He's not going to look there you think since those are pretty common hiding places? And when he does look there, you're so confined that you're screwed.

Soldierone3526d ago

Yeah and they hide there breathing really hard trying to look out into the room. If you can see him, he can see you.....At least in The Crazies when she ran into the closet she hid behind stuff and looked away.

Another one is when they "relax" because they think its over, they always take a shower lol. Its like an easy excuse as to why you have a naked girl in your movie.

JL3526d ago

Yea, I hate the heaving breathing too. It's like "you only ran 20ft and up five steps, how can you be THAT out of breath. Shut up!".

Another one is: how in the world does everybody in a horror movie become a world-class klutz when deciding to run from a killer? It always happens. You run from the killer, you're going to trip and fall.

Of course thinking about these types of things, I almost wonder if they're not genius to include them anymore. And that if these devices haven't become even more effective now that they're cliches.

Think about it: the girl runs upstairs and hides in the closet, breathing heavy. In the old days, when this wasn't so common, you'd be like "Oh god, is he going to find her?", causing a moment of tension. Nowadays, you KNOW that was the wrong move on her part and that the killer is about to find her any minute now, so the tension is gone for the most part (there might be that slight bit left as you wonder to yourself "will this be the one time that hiding in the closet actually works?"). But at the same time this draws you into the movie in a sense. This gets you "interacting" with the movie knowing it was a mistake on her part. Leading to those proverbial "Run, Bitch. Run!" moments when you're talking to the TV knowing she's in trouble cause you've seen it done a million times before.

Soldierone3526d ago

Yeah I can see your point. The only issue is people, especially film fanatics like us, are thinking its stupid. I was watching a horror movie with my girlfriends family and even her dad was like "yeah cus people do that all the time, how stupid." and we all kept saying it.

They at least get creative doing it now. She hides in the closet, he doesn't see her, but uh oh! He somehow got in there with her! What now! lol

I think a real imaginitive horror person should make a "typical" horror movie, but avoid these common cliches. When people run, make it realistic. I dunno about you but when i get the shit scared outta me and I run, i become the most arobic football player in the world jumping over stuff and winning races. When they jump in a car let it start with no one in the back seat. When they drive make sure there isnt a giant wall that somehow leaps infront of them.

For example. Guy likes building cars, has a project car in the garage. He comes across a "monster" has his keys in his pocket or on the counter, grabs them, runs out the door (not up the stairs), jumps in the car. It doesnt start, he forgot to hook the battery up so he hides near the garage door and sneaks behind the bad guy as he walks out and runs to another car. This car starts fine, and he races off. The bad guy hears the car start, and grabs a motorcycle and chases.

Avoided all your typical trends and changed it up a bit, no one would expect that. They would anticipate it but nothing would happen, so that leaves you with optioons the rest of the time because now no one knows when anything is building up for a reason.

JL3526d ago

I indeed would like to see one done intelligently as in the characters doing things we would find to be the smarter options. Like you said, not running upstairs. Not sitting there trying to keep cranking the obviously not working car. And other things, like: I never got the "killer hiding in the back seat" thing. Maybe it's just me but when I get in my car, obviously I have a clear view into the back window as well, and I always take a quick glance. Not in a paranoid sort of way, just in a "it's right in front of me I can't miss it" sort of way.

And it's funny you mention the running thing. Yes, I would be a world-class sprinter if my life depended on it like that. However, in some horror movies, it's even the jocks that I've seen suddenly become a klutz when running. I'm like "I'm supposed to believe that the star high school football player suddenly forgot to how to keep his footing and lost half of his agility when his life is on the line?".