On the news yesterday morning, police were looking for a white van whose driver is suspected in a double homicide. And just the other night I was watching a movie where the hero was joking about a white van and duct tape.
Why is it always a white van? And why haven’t bad guys realized that driving a white van is a dead giveaway?
I’ve heard that white is cheaper when buying a vehicle. I suppose that is why the bad guys are always driving white vans. But, come on, bad guys, spend the extra money money for a colored van.
Another cliche that really gets to me is that old classic: the heroine in the stripper-high high-heel shoes trying to run from the killer. The broken heel, the twisted ankle and ultimately here it comes…the fall. Kick off those high heels, chick, and RUN!!!
Okay, my worse pet peeve when it comes to suspense cliches: The heroine has put up a heroic fight against an insane horrible killer. He’s beaten her, choked her, wounded her, killed most everyone she knows and stolen the family Bible.
And what does she do after she bests him? Does she finish him off? Nope. She turns her back and starts to walk away — without taking the gun, the knife, the duct tape, the bag of rags soaked in chloroform or the lamp base she cold-cocked him with earlier. She just turns her back, doesn’t make sure he won’t come after her, and… and you know what happens. He comes after her! While I’m screaming: Pick up the gun! Shoot him!!! Because let’s face it. Even if she manages to get away again and the police catch him, he’ll escape from prison one day. Or get out under some technicality. We all know he will want to finish the job he started. But then again that’s what sequels are for huh.
Why, I’ve asked myself do movies and even some books do these things? I was watching a movie about Alfred Hitchcock and the making of The Birds. During the filming, apparently Tippi Hedren asked why, as a relatively intelligent character in the movie, would she go up the stairs to the attic alone.
Hitchcock’s answer: Because I want you to.
The worst thing about the suspense cliches? They work. We think the woman running in the heels is nuts but we are on the edge of our seats yelling for her to run. Same with not finishing the guy off. Remember the movie Wait Until Dark. I think it was the first time that device was used. Worked didn’t it. Same with the scene from The Birds. I wonder how many people were yelling: Don’t. Open. That. Door!
As for white vans though…come on bad guys, wise up. (My apologies if you drive a white van.)
So what are the suspense cliches that you hate. Or love.
(Also my winners from the last two weeks are: Judy Morgan and Sarah Johnson. Go to my website at www.bjdaniels.com and email me so I can send you a book.)