How are those resolutions coming along? We all have personal vices. We all have regrets. Personally, one of my biggest regrets goes hand-in-hand with one of my most extreme vices. There is nothing I truly enjoy more than lighting up a cigarette (with a hot cup of coffee) the second I get in my car. It’s a habit that’s stuck with me up to this very day, but a huge regret nonetheless. Luckily, 2019 is a new, fresh year for all of us. What better time to quit smoking than the supreme moment of blank slates and pure intentions, right? If you’re trying to kick that nasty habit – our good friends in the horror genre are here to help!
In horror, lighting up a cigarette may as well be the kiss of death. Instead of going outside to burn one down to the filter (like I’m craving to do right now), I’ve compiled a handy list of horror films that might make you think twice about pulling out that lighter. These 10 scenarios may initially weaken our self-control at the thought of nicotine, but what ensues after the first exhaled drag is horrifying enough to make us quit cold turkey.
10. Enter The Sunken Place in Get Out (2017)
While it would be an extreme help for Katherine Keener to hypnotize the craving out of us, I’m not sure if I can handle complete isolation in an alternative state of being while someone else inhabits my body. Chris is struggling to quit smoking, especially when visiting his girlfriend Rose’s unique family for the weekend. Luckily for him, her mom is a hypnotherapist who can drive that bad habit out of mind, out of sight with the stir of her spoon. Unfortunately for him, her family and their odd friends hold his health to such a high degree due to more sinister motives. Chris is pretty smart, but he should have known there was more to this story. Quitting smoking is never that easy! If it was we’d all be hanging out in The Sunken Place… passing around a cigarette for eternity.
9. Missed Side Effects By The Surgeon General in Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
I know, I know, the 60’s were not exactly the gilded age of health awareness, but Guy is as detestable as the repercussions of his selfish, narcissistic choices. Not only does he truly make a deal with the Devil at the expense of his innocent wife and child, but he consistently smokes around her throughout the entire pregnancy. Although his nonstop smoking was yet to be identified as a hazardous danger to the woman living with him, she does give birth to the anti-christ. Who’s to say inhaling his garbage, all of which spewing from his mouth, didn’t cause Rosemary’s unorthodox birth? We can only hope Guy pays the ultimate price for being the chain-smoking hack of a performer he is: forever acting in Chantix ads.
8. Doll Parts Immunity in Bride of Chucky (1998)
Tiffany taking over the wedding doll she gifted Chucky is epitome of creepy girls’ and guys’ dreams as she adds her gothic flair to its body, montage-style. Nothing is cooler than her lighting up a cigarette after her transformation is complete while Blondie wails ‘Call Me’ in the background. When camera pan reveals the doll’s sexy, edgy makeover with a long exhale of smoke from her black lips, the Child’s Play series is never the same (for better and for worse). Tiffany adds character, bite, and heart as the flame that burns Chucky down to the filter. However, she’s made of plastic so inhaling those toxins won’t hurt her as much as it will hurt a human body. We’ve seen how many times those dolls can come back to life after their vessels are destroyed. Humans, on the other hand… are not so lucky.
7. Secondhand Smoke Kills in Final Destination 2 (2003)
Kat’s escaped death a few times, but she’s one life short of nine when her debt is finally collected. Her jonesing for a cigarette is the ultimate reason she succumbs to the afterlife’s call. Nothing is more annoying, or distracting, than searching for a misplaced lighter, folks. A PVC pipe to the head doesn’t help either. When Kat is trapped in a car after a near-death car blowout, she can think of nothing other than getting her hands on her pack. She even ignores the broken pipe that’s nearly impaled her from behind once before. In a frantic effort to smoke her cares away, she places herself right between an air bag and a pointed place. Ironically, the Jaws of Life, buck the car a little too hard and Kat has run out of lives. What’s worse is that her cigarette butt falls onto spilled gasoline causing an explosion that creatively takes the lives of bystanders in a news van and poor Eugene. The scene gives a whole new meaning to the dangers of secondhand smoke… and wire fencing.
6. Cheaters Have No Fun in Cat’s Eye (1985)
Cheating is a pretty dirty habit whether it involves tobacco or not. In one of Cat’s Eye’s segments, Dick enlists with the Quitters, Inc. as a guaranteed way to kick his tobacco addiction. Complete with brutal beatings and painful electroshock, both inflicted on him and his family members, the firm’s methods of punishment for smoking transgressions rapidly rise up a tier of torture. The effects of quitting, both physically and psychologically, can be daunting, but the consequences of cheating, even just once, can be far more devastating. Addiction can be a vicious cycle. Dick is wholly committed at first, so what finally breaks his resolve? Traffic. I don’t blame him.
5. Doomed To Servitude in Beetlejuice (1988)
The Maitlands’ case worker, Juno, is as serious as a heart attack even though she obviously committed suicide given her civil service in death. As Juno guides The Maitlands through the process of entering the afterlife, aids them in scaring off The Deetz family, and informing them of Betelguese smoke flows right through the gaping slash in her neck. There’s no telling what caused Juno to cut her own neck, but judging from the rate she smoked, I’m guessing she would have laid in an early grave regardless. I guess there’s no need for a chapter on ‘How To Quit Smoking’ in The Handbook for the Recently Deceased. She can smoke as much as she wants to… now that she’s dead.
4. Bev’s Lungs Burn There Too in It (2017)
Beverly Marsh is way too young to be doing a lot of the things she does. Smoking is no exception, but given her home and social life, we can sympathize with her self-destructive tendencies and will to escape into a cloud of smoke. Her meet cute with the unofficial leader of The Losers Club, Bill, serves as a prime turning point for the ensemble just before the evils of the town of Derry begin to literally manifest. Bill needs to lift some supplies from the local pharmacy to help out a wounded Ben, and Bev needs to figure out a way to pick up a pack of smokes, the two play team up for a quick game of distraction to get what they want. She swipes a pack of cigarettes and calls their debt “even Steven”. Bev’s help indoctrinates her into The Loser’s Club forever. We all know what happens after that… and what happens again 27 years after that. It’s almost as bad as lung cancer. Almost.
3. The Teenage Trailer Park Rebellion Massacre in The Strangers: Prey At Night (2018)
Rebellion is a right of passage for teenagers. Smoking cigarettes is a great way to stick it to the man and brutally damage your lungs. Enjoy that young, careless attitude while you can. On the way boarding school for her bad behavior, Kinsey’s parents decide to stop overnight at her aunt and uncle’s trailer park, causing her to pout and moodily smoke her way through the trip. It’s an attention-seeking mechanism she uses to draw attention to herself, when she really only needs to express her feeling towards her parents before it’s too late. I’m not sure what’s more embarrassing: her juvenile, awkward inability to inhale or that she has her cigarette taken away by her mother.
2. Bad Bonding in Black Swan (2010)
Ballerinas have a profound sense of self-control, so the ability to quit smoking should come as easily as a Grand Jete. However, when it comes to the determined Nina, picking up the habit could be the first step down into the dark, twisted world of her own mind, mimicking the pirouetting spiral of Swan Lake. Nina’s opposite, Lily, breaks the rules in more ways than one when she fires up a cigarette in the studio and offers one to her along with some friendly girl talk. It’s a bonding temptation that dangerously lower’s Nina’s wall and quickly turns sour. From the moment Nina shares an intimate drag with Lily, their connection threatens her performance and, ultimately, her sanity.
1. One Chummy Surprise in Jaws (1975)
Chief Brody is stressed out. Having to deal with an enormous great white shark eating up all the citizens of Amity and being stuck with his two quarrelsome buddies out on the ocean calls for a smoke break. Casually multitasking, Brody keeps a cigarette lit while he shovels some chum out onto the water to lure the monster from the deep. This moment gives us one of horror’s most unforgettable moments, scaring moviegoers forever, as big old Bruce makes his first appearance giving Brody more than enough reasons to let that stub die and light a new one (or two). It only gets more tense from that scene moving forward both in Jaws and in the genre as a whole.
Granted, the only threat this list poses is major UTS (Urge To Smoke) as horror films are scientifically proven to do, I’m hoping you heed my crafty warning. The dangers of being a smoker are significantly more horrifying than any of these scenarios in reality. These are works of fiction, your life is very real and worth more than Big Tobacco’s deadly ploy to make a profit. Dig deep inside the Sunken Place of your mind, strike a match, and set fire to your inner willpower. Resist the urge and let these films all be lessons that when you give into that smoky indulgence, unspeakable horror is creeping right around the corner.
Around a more lighthearted corner is your supportive community! Let us know how you are keeping up with your resolutions and share any useful tricks to keep those cigarettes back in 2018 of on Twitter, Reddit, or in the Horror Fiends of Nightmare on Film Street Facebook group!
Good luck, fiends!