We’ve all felt it. That prickle in the back of our neck when we meet someone. The hesitation when we look into a dark back yard. It’s called Animal Instinct and it tells us, “You are in danger.”
The problem is that often we don’t listen to that voice. We go downstairs when we shouldn’t, we take a call we didn’t think we should, we go on a date with a person we feel squiggy about. Most of the time, these moments where we ignore animal instinct go nowhere. A nervous moment taking out the trash (that’s mine right now, if it’s dark I’m terrified that I’m going to fine a snake/scorpion/whatever out by the side of the house waiting for me), a bad date, a near accident. But we still avoid the worst of what can happen.
In monster/zombie movies, ignoring animal instinct almost always results in Living Death. Actually, in all horror movies. How many times have you stared at a screen and screamed, “Don’t go out there, idiot!!!” More than once for me, I promise you. The movie “Scream” directly addresses this. Never say you’ll be right back, right? Because you totally won’t.
I guess the trick is to figure out when you have paranoia (like my snake/scorpion fear) and when you’re really hearing the call of survival instinct that is saying, “That guy is a serial killer, do not get into the car.” Honing those instincts, hearing them, not feeling bad about heeding them even if they’re a mistaken emotion… that’s the trick of staying alive sometimes. Whether in life or in horror movies.