In the film, a young woman, while sorting her dead grandmother's affairs, stays in an eerie, southern mansion and soon discovers the matriarch may desire more than just her company.
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Inspired by the World Premiere, OWA Senior Programmer and Event Director Dan Repp offers his seven handy tips to being the creepiest host you can be:
Seven Keys to Being a Creepy Host
Happy lives are constantly interrupted by unwanted guests. A distant relative from out of town shows up and all I wanted to do was binge Netflix and lay on the couch. Now, I’m faced with a whole new set of responsibilities to make sure my guest has a pleasant stay. Regardless, I’m stuck with this person for the next week, but I can make sure they get a hotel next time or decide to leave early, if I’m lucky.
After studying multiple horror films about creepy relative’s houses, I have devised seven keys to make sure my guests uncomfortable without me being a total asshole. It is easy to be an asshole host, but it takes work to be a creepy one.
Step1 – Manners
Always be awkwardly well-mannered towards your guest. I’m not talking about Southern Hospitality. You should say “Please” and “Thank You,” but look disapproving at the same time. It also helps to demand that your guest to be well-mannered. After making a meal or showing them to their room, stand and stare at them with a blank look on your face until they say “Thank You.”
Step 2 – Always be Watching
Try to stay in your guest’s peripheral vision unless they’re in the restroom. In that case, wait outside the door and have an arbitrary question to ask them when they come out. Something that could have waited for later like “Do you have any food allergies?” Nothing makes a guest more uncomfortable than thinking that they are always being watched.
Step 3 – Don’t Go in There!
Put a lock on a random bedroom or basement door and tell them enthusiastically to not go in there. The creepiness can be amplified if you go in that room in the middle of the night and make eerie noises. I prefer to cry just loud enough for them to hear but making noises like you are building something can also be effective. If they ask about the noises in the morning, insist that they must have been dreaming and tell them no one has been in that room for years.
Step 4 – Old Pictures
Keep a stash of old pictures of people that you can put up in the guest room. No smiling pictures, just dead stares. The kind of pictures that the eyes seem to follow your every movement.
Step 5 – Reference the Previous Owner of the House
In the middle of a conversation about their family or something positive, start looking around the room and tell a vague story about the previous owner. Make sure to leave room for them to interpret what really could have happened in this house. If you are the first to live in the house, reference a specific worker that had something weird happen to them while building the house. I like to make the previous owner a sick old man that was strapped to his bed at night because he would get confused and wander outside. To compliment this step, it can be very effective to leave props that can be associated to the story around the house where your guest can come upon them. I like to leave shackles and old medical equipment around the house. If they find it and ask about it, passive aggressively accuse them of bringing it into the house.
Step 6 – Leave the House
The key to this step is to leave the house at the same time every day and walk into the nearest wooded area. Be vague if they ask you where you go and try to come back looking like you were in a struggle. I like to rip my clothing, have small scratches on my face and arms, or cover myself in dirt. If they ask if you are okay, my favorite answer is “Sometimes a hard day’s work can be just that.”
Step 7 – Pictures of Them
This step is much easier in the age of social media. Print pictures you find online of them. Make sure to make them look old and worn like you have looked at them a thousand times. Then have some fun with how you want them to find them. I like to always be reading the same book throughout their stay and I keep a different picture between each page. Then I leave the book out either where they can accidentally knock it over or where a vent can blow the pages to reveal the photos. The one major rule for this step is that you can’t be in the room when they discover the pictures. When they confront you, guilt them by asking how many pictures they have of you and shame them for making you feel bad because you care about them.
There are many tricks to the trade, but I find these seven steps the most successful. Be careful to not go too far with your tactics. Remember, the creepy relatives that take it too far in the movies usually get pushed off the roof and land on a jagged metal fence. Note to self: get rid of jagged fence and seal off all roof access.