Breaking The Rules
Scream spelled it out: "there are certain rules that one must abide by in order to successfully survive a horror movie." For slasher movies like that, it's all about "the sin factor," but horror is rife with rules that if broken, incite a horrible and often deadly penalty. This was especially terrifying as a kid because it confirmed all of my deepest fears about rule breaking, and because it was prevalent in the first horror movie I remember watching, 1984's Gremlins. All the terror unleashed on the sleepy small town of Kingston Falls came from Billy Peltzer's refusal to follow the three simple rules of Mogwai pet care. More recently, the ensemble of Halloween revelers in Michael Dougherty's underseen but excellent anthology Trick 'r Treat reminded us of the importance of rules as they suffer or thrive based on how they choose to respect the rules of tradition. I won't pretend horror has made me a total goody goody, but its demons have often been angels on my shoulder.

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