THE BEES KNEES
Excellent. The highest quality.
This saying in particular is the one that I had been using incorrectly for the better part of my life. I always thought the bees knees was something bad. Something really crappy would happen to me, like America's Next Top Model would be a repeat, or my delivery order would be screwed up and I would ball up my fists, furrow my brows and exclaim... "Errrrr well that's just the bees knees!" On the off chance that I was with people while uttering this saying, I would obviously be met with confused stares. It's not my fault that this saying doesn't make any sense. What's so great about the bees knees? Do bees even have knees? Sorry for being logical, but bees sting you and if they do have knees (which I doubt it) then I doubt they are very great. Therefore I made the connection that bees are bad which by default means the bees knees are bad.
Well, we can't win them all and sadly I was very wrong. Apparently this saying comes from the (maybe incorrect) theory that bees would store nectar behind their knees. In order to explain this saying using a horror movie I will use an antonym.
The Wicker Man Remake is NOT the bees knees.
Things that are the bees knees:
Cats that wear party hats
BITE THE BULLET
Accept the inevitable impending hardship and endure the resulting pain with fortitude.
This is an interesting origin and one that many of us may have heard incorrectly. Originally it was thought that the phrase comes from the idea that in time of war when there was no anesthetic or what have you, soldiers would bite down on bullets as a way to sort of hide the pain of getting ligaments amputated off. Recent evidence has disproved this theory by saying that it is more likely that this phrase was originally, "bite the billet" and that it was changed to bullet. A billet is a wooden stick, which seems much more likely to have been bitten down on, apparently. For more information observe this awesome site.
In terms of horror movies, the most obvious one that comes to mind is Martyrs
Clearly, Anna accepted the inevitable and endured the pain with fortitude. Clearly.
Someone or something that disappoints expectations.
Hopefully like me, other people immediately think of the baddest egg on the block when they hear this phrase. Apparently this phrase comes from the disappointment that often ensues when shelling a boiled egg and finding the egg to be bad. I'm not sure how excited the average person gets when unshelling a boiled egg, but I suppose if you really, really, wanted a boiled egg it would be pretty crappy if it was a bad egg. I guess.
The best way to teach this saying is by using remakes. Most of us, for some reason get a little excited when we hear things about remakes. Whether it be because of the director, or actors, or perhaps even eyeing a few pre-released screen shots, for one reason or another we tend to expect some form of excellence. As is usually the case however, those expectations are quickly dashed.
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Are bad eggs.
LET THE CAT OUT OF THE BAG
To disclose a secret.
I've always been curious to find out where this saying comes from. Whoever is hiding cats in bags seems like some kind of mean person that I don't want to be friends with but then again...you never know. As is the case with this, this saying probably comes from when people used to switch pigs with cats at the market, so when the person got home with their tasty pig, they would find a cat instead. Personally I would be thrilled to find a cat in a bag but that's just me.
Correlating this to horror is simple. Often times, horror movies have a twist ending. And often times those twists get ruined. So for many people,
The Sixth Sense
and Orphan were ruined because someone let the cat out of the bag.
SHORT END OF THE STICK
To come off worse in a bargain or contest.
There has been speculation that the short end of the stick doesn't make much sense either. Rather, "short" may be a euphemism for "shit" which makes much more sense. In any case this saying still brings confusion to many.
In horror movie terms the best example is from Rosemary's Baby.
When Guy Woodhouse made a deal with the devil that the devil could impregnate his wife with his devil spawn....Rosemary got the short end of the stick.