We see this all the time in movies. The perfectly healthy and youthful protagonists, being chased by some monster/serial killer/evil spirit is running for his or her life (but usually its a her) and then falls. Sometimes they trip, sometimes they get their foot stuck, but always they stay on the ground, somehow unable to get up from their horrible knee bruise. Occasionally someone stops to pick them up as if that fall destroyed their nervous system and they suddenly become parapalegics, but most of the time they’re doomed.
I HATE this trope. It just bothers me soooo much. I’ve tripped and fallen, I’ve sprained my ankle before, fractured my kneecap, pulled a muscle, but none of those times were life and death situations. If I were being chased, I think adrenaline would kick in and I’d be able to force at least a half jog on one foot. I certainly wouldn’t just lay on the ground and stare at the incoming doom while screaming. Especially if I just tripped and didn’t get hurt, I’d bounce right back up and keep running. Its a lazy, stupid trope that writers put in movies and TV shows to shore up a weak script. It always takes me out of the story when I see it and it creates rage and frustration in me that makes me side with the killer.
But maybe it has some element of truth to it? If that’s what people really do, well, I can still be mad, but I’d be mad rather at human nature instead of illiterate writers. So has this ever happened to you? You don’t have to have been running for your life either. Has it ever happened where you were running, tripped, and just stayed down for no good reason (no serious injuries)?
I’ve been walking, fallen down and needed several seconds before I could get up (I couldn’t be arsed time if it went over a minute, sorry); trying to get up too early simply results in falling down again. Anybody who touches me at such a time risks losing a hand, though. It takes a while to take inventory, verify that none of the multiple bits (everything) which are suddenly hurting is actually hurt beyond maybe a bit of a scrape and recover that sonabitch equilibrium which went AWOL on me.
Not much of a screamer, although I do think acting schools must have Screaming 101 as a required course for female students. You know, based on how many roles involve a not-really-blood-curling-overdone-scream at some point.
You want people to recount to you their memories of painful injuries they sustained in traumatic situations, so that you can rage at the whole human race instead of just the subset consisting of lazy writers?
Okay, sign me up!
When I was 11 and going to school one day, I got off a bus while it was still moving. This isn’t quite as stupid as it sounds. This was one of the old routemaster London buses with the open platform at the back. People would routinely hop off as the bus braked to a stop. But they tended to be adults with well developed motor coordination. I possessed neither characteristic and went splat on the ground, taking quite a bit of skin off my knee. It was extremely painful and I doubt I’d have been able to stagger back up if a psycho car driver had decided to go in for the kill.
There. RAAAAAAGE away. Give in to the hate! Yessss… we really are all that stoooooopid.
What I especially hate when this trope is used in movies and TV is when it’s a woman who falls down and then just lies there. Yeah, we women are too stupid and frail to run. Thankfully, this is not as common as it used to be.
There was only once when I ran to protect myself. I was at an emergency room after a car accident. I had a bad knock on my shin, but was okay. I was waiting for them to finish examining my mom, who turned out fine as well.
Anyway, they brought in somebody, some young angry guy. Suddenly, he broke away from the cops and doctors who were trying to restrain him, and he started running directly towards me, howling curses. I turned and ran down the hall. I could feel my banged up shin, but I was running just fine.
It turned out the guy wasn’t after me, but some guy who happened to be standing behind me when the guy broke loose. The guy was pissed at him for some reason.
Shouldn’t this thread be in another category? Seem’s a little chatty for the BBQ Pit. Interesting topic though.
I have had one such experience. On the Suwannee Sill in Okefenokee Swamp, I inadvertently walked too close to an alligator nest. The female lifted up and chased me, and alligators are fast! After I ran about 15 yards I fell to my hands and knees and immediately sprang up and ran some more. Some people I was with told me I could stop, so I did. The alligator had done exactly what various books had told me it would do: she chased for a short distance and stopped, because she didn’t want to get too far from the nest. My brain knew that, but my body forgot. I was ready to run a mile.
Anyway, there’s my data point of one: my lizard brain thought I was running for my life, I fell, and I was on my feet and running again faster than I thought possible.
I think the writer is trying to get across some idea of “paralyzed by fear.” Sort of how Marion Crane just stands there shrieking for a couple crucial seconds while Norman Bates prepares for surgery. I think they’re saying, “The hero(ine) is holding it together just enough so they can run, and then the fall squeezes out their last morsel of hope/will.” The most convincing scenes for me are the ones where the person is so scared they can hardly walk/run, or are bumping into stuff in a confused attempt at escape. But once you’ve gathered yourself enough to run the “Sprint!” routine, I think it’s pretty safe to say a fall = get back up and keep doing the “sprint!” routine. Maybe with a little stumble as you remember to regain your balance first.
There’s a few instances I can recall myself of me falling while running. It wasn’t for my life or anything, mostly just PE class in school. I would usually bounce up as quick as possible mostly because of the embarrassment and the continue running as if nothing happened. I think I should like to try someday to run away from a killer
I saw a friend chased by a bull, he fell about 10 feet in front of the bull. The bull lowered its head, but the guy rolled under a barbed wire fence instead of trying to get up. Had he been too far away from the fence, he might have manged to get away but I doubt it.
Oh yeah, he cut himself up pretty good from the bottom of the fence.