I’m a huge fan of the watch-and-mock horror party. Mush me into someone’s sweaty apartment, hand me a lukewarm beer, and project some melodramatic deaths onto a wrinkled bedsheet and I am in HEAVEN.
God I miss proximity.
It turns out that when you live in a pandemic bubble a little tech savvy makes it possible to approximate this experience via Zoom! It’s better to type your jokes in the chat than to say them out loud since Zoom tends to choose one sound and delete the rest, but if you don’t mind typing while you watch, a screen-shared Zoom-film can work. If you are a little more tech-savvy than I am, Discord avoids the audio problem.
Not that anyone needs an excuse to drink these days, but if you want one here it is. You can always play a drinking game at home alone with your dog. No one here is going to judge you.
“But Brandy N. Carie, how ever will I choose a movie to game-ify??”
Here are some guidelines.
- A movie, once mocked, is mocked forever. It’s hard to un-mock something and go back to being scared of it, and it’s hard to mock stuff that’s legitimately good. Avoid anything you expect to be actually scary, or anything you think you’d enjoy watching alone or in the theater.
- Avoid brutal realistic gore. I’m no big fan of gore-porn myself, but some people completely can’t handle it. It can really bring the tone of a party down if people are distressed or nauseated. HOSTEL (2005) is not a good candidate for a drinking game unless everyone involved has very particular taste.
- Repetition is key! Movies with repetitive structures like slashers or slow-burn low-budget scares are great. It’s boring if you’re playing a game where the drinks are few and far between: people drink willy-nilly, stop watching, and miss the moment.
- The worse the movie the better the game. Horror Comedy and B movies preferred. They tend to be repetitive (see rule 3) and also help avoid party guests getting mad at you if the game contains a spoiler. If your I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER (1997) game includes a rule like “when Julie James becomes the final girl, finish your drink,” no one can get mad because:
- It’s obvious from early on that Julie is the conscience and the virgin – prime final girl material.
- IKWYDLS is 23 years old so odds are good people know what happens-ish even if they haven’t seen it.
- Nobody was waiting to finally watch this masterpiece of the American cinema for the first time.
Basically, if you avoid the greats peoples’ expectations are low or non-existent and the experience becomes un-ruinable. But you can make it better with a good drinking game.
Which leads me to the next most important question:
What makes a drinking game “Good?”
- Not more than 5 rules. No one can remember too many rules and no one wants to be constantly referring to a written list.
- Vary the rule type! Not everything has to be “when this event happens, drink.” There should be a jackpot moment people are waiting for. Bonus if this moment seems to be often on the horizon, like if one of the main characters seems to be constantly in danger but then always escapes, the jackpot might be when they finally are killed. Jackpot moment hits: drain your drink!
- Fit the game to the movie. Catchall games are funny to read but not every movie has every horror trope. It takes 5 minutes to come up with a short list of rules that are directly relevant to the movie you’re actually watching. Plus people will think you’re ~really creative!!~
- (Optional) Add a rule for drinking water. Maybe you can drink every time somebody dies in a FINAL DESTINATION movie but some of us are elder Millennials who need to hydrate or we’ll be hungover for six to eight weeks. Nobody wants to be double fisting beverages all night (you need one hand for snacks!), so it’s best to make the water rule a mid-movie jackpot. Maybe have people chug a glass of water the first time we ‘believe’ the murderer/demon/curse has been defeated.
Go forth and drink*!
Have you made a cool horror drinking game? Do you have a favorite horror movie you’re planning to make a game out of now that you have this handy list? Are there any rules I’m missing that would take my games from good to great? Suggest in the comments!