Ghostface (from Scream) is not very good at murder
The new movie is out today.
Do you know the film series Scream? The new one is out today.
I love Scream. I am the right age for Scream. It came out when I was in middle school and it was great for people that age.
1) it’s about people slightly older than you. Cool hot people doing naughty things. The humor is transgressive and something that younger kids just wouldn’t get.
2) when you’re in middle school you really want to have an excuse to flirt with classmates of the opposite sex and a really easy setup for that is “let’s watch a film that will provide us with excuses to have shared heart rates.” A spooky film you can watch on DVD that makes you jump into each other on the couch but then immediately cuts to a new scene where hot people are making out is really a godsend.
Eventually, I got older and so did other people and they kept making these movies and it transitioned into more of a nostalgia thing. But that’s ok! Nostalgia is great! The point is: I’m here for Scream and I think a lot of people my age are also here for Scream.
But let me tell you a problem I have with Scream, ok?
Scream is nominally the meta-slasher film, where the characters are aware of the genre and subvert the tropes.
These killers have really bad plans.
The entire premise of Scream is that someone (or usually multiple people) decides to go on a killing spree that involves taunting their victims with trivia about scary movies while dressing up as Ghostface and jumping out of the shadows while holding a knife.
The main element here that people talk about is the scary movie motif. But let’s set that aside and focus on the mechanics of this scheme.
A person has decided to do some murders. They do not have superhuman abilities. They are not particularly strong or particularly good with weapons. They are high school kids or random parents or sad movie producers or whatever. They are not Rambo.
This normal person says “I’m going to do a series of murders.” They then decide that their weapon of choice is a knife.
They will engage in a series of one-on-one confrontations where they have a knife and the victim (ideally) doesn’t. In this situation, the person with the knife definitely has the upper hand, but they do not have such an upper hand that it is a sure thing. Just because you have a knife doesn’t mean you’re going to be able to for sure kill every other person you encounter. A lot of things can happen to that knife! Maybe you drop it! Maybe they take it and stab you with it! Maybe you are rolling around on the ground wrestling and you accidentally stab yourself! Maybe they just run away and are faster than you and you throw the knife at them and miss and then they pick up the knife and throw it at you and SURPRISE the wind was with them and it hits you in the brain.
A knife is not a US Treasury Bond. You do not want to put all your money in the knife.
But sure, in a single battle, I am putting my money on the knife-haver. Over the non-knife-haver.
Let’s say 70% favorite. It’s obvious that you’re the smart money in a single battle.
But the killer’s plan does not entail a single battle. The killer’s plan explicitly involves them engaging in many battles. With each confrontation, there is a 30% probability that your knife isn’t going to be enough. And eventually, if you have enough confrontations, you are sure to lose.
And if you lose one, you’re done. This is a battle to the death. If you lose one battle you either die or end up in prison. You cannot lose one of these battles.
And the more battles you have, the more certain you are to lose.
Hillary was a 70% favorite too! But if you have enough elections, eventually Trump wins.
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