When thinking about the things people are most afraid of, there’s really a set Top 5 which most will admit to. There’s heights, claustrophobia, spiders, dying, and clowns. Ok, maybe clowns isn’t in the top five, but we can all admit more people are afraid of clowns than there should be. Either way though, with fears like these, it’s easy for horror movies to play off said phobias and take advantage of the most popular fears to cash in on horror that will undeniably scare the hell out of viewers.
Then there’s the creative side of horror – the one that strives to take obscure and more mundane themes and make them horrifying. Sure, it’s easy for a film like Buried to strike a chord with the most claustrophobic of people, but what about making someone afraid of an innocent childhood toy? A movie like Child’s Play did that, taking something not typically associated with horror and shining said normal object in a fearsome new light.
This brings us to the article you are now reading – movies that make us fear things found in everyday life. Be it an appliance, auto part, edible delicacy, or type of person, a good horror movie will have the balls to make us fear something by creative filmmaking instead of banking on something viewers already find scary.
With my vast knowledge of oddities, I brought in fellow writer Alex Lowe to help ground some of the picks on this list. I’ll be responsible for the first five picks, and the last five can be tied to Al. Trust me, if I had free reign I’d lose most readers by pick #5, if you can even make it that far. Believe me when I say there are a TON of movies which have made me fear the silliest of objects…Next
Female Naughty Bits – Teeth
Here are the facts – no matter how macho or how intimidating a man is, women hold all the power and they damn well know it. We can complain and fight and be angry all we want, but who always ends up winning the argument? Women. Why? Because we’re men, it’s easier, and as long as our female counterpart is happy, we have the chance to be happy as well. Not only that, but the male gender still doesn’t understand the female sexual organ, and it remains somewhat of a mystical pleasure-giving flower we only know from the outside – Lord knows what goes on in there!
But there was never a reason to fear such a magical portal to happiness – until Teeth was released.
Yes, a movie about a woman whose vagina grows teeth and bites whatever appendage off that might be up there, removing ALL the power from men. The dominating notion of completely severing a dude’s coveted manhood through an act men already have lost control of is utterly terrifying psychologically, and not to mention physically horrific. Just the thought of someone removing my “Master And Commander” makes me want to curl up in a little ball and cry, wearing a steel-plated cup for the rest of my life. Thanks a lot for ruining one of the simplest joys in life Teeth – well, OK, not ruining, but still, don’t think in the back of my mind I’m not afraid said removal might happen one of these times…
Tires – Rubber
Tires. Black, inanimate objects which grip the road and give our cars the power to drive down any terrain, which smell really bad when they burn. That’s it, that’s all there is to a tire. Nothing to be afraid of, right? WRONG. Just watch Rubber.
Ok, my love for Rubber is completely about the story, which is a brilliantly meta analysis of film culture as a whole, but for the purpose of this article I’ll be focusing on the aspect many viewers held too highly in their own viewing – the movie was only about a tire which rolled around and blew people’s heads up Scanners style using telekinetic powers. Yes, a tire rolls around making brain stew out of numerous victims the whole movie. There’s no rhyme, reason, or warning except for a little shake the tire does, but for the most part the killings are completely random.
I’m not going to launch into my rant about how Rubber explains why people just need to enjoy the asinine stories writers come up with and stop asking so many damn questions, I’ll spare the masses, but can’t we all agree a tire with mind powers just doesn’t sit well? I mean, one minute you could be in a junkyard, looking directly at a tire, and the next minute, your head could be in a million pieces for no good reason. I’m a normal human who likes having his head in one piece, so this reality scares the ever loving shit out of me – as it should you.
Friends Who Don’t Understand The Consequences Of Messing With The Paranormal – Take Your Pick (Paranormal Activity)
Everyone has that one friend who either doesn’t believe in ghosts or isn’t afraid of them (well, OK, maybe not everyone), always willing to taunt the unknown. Be it a Ouija board, a seance, a book of dark spells, or just a blatantly over-hetero display of hardass-ness, everyone has a Micah from Paranormal Activity in their group.
Everything in Paranormal Activity can be pointed to this idiot. He spends the film projecting negative energy which keeps the demon around, continuously filming it even though every single person surrounding him explains what a terrible idea it is, egging on the demon with the above mentioned Ouija board, and then going all Micah-berserker style and literally calling the demon out like a drunken frat bro. “COME AT ME DEMON, I AIN’T SCARED!” No, you’re right Micah, you aren’t scared at all, because you’re a dumb, dead, bastard.
I mean, OK, I’m not going to go all conspiracy theory on you and say ghosts are real, I have as much proof as any other average Joe, but I can tell you the one thing I fear the most is anything I can’t see. Ghosts fall in that classification, so I’m therefore afraid of ghosts. What if one has been watching me since birth, just waiting for the right moment to move my keys and open all my cabinets at the same time? The last thing I need is some blowhard friend of mine cracking an offensive ghost joke that sends my unbeknownst stalker into a vengeful rage. Stop being a Micah, you assholes.Previous Next
Televisions – (Poltergeist/A Nightmare On Elm Street)
Televisions – every American has them, and some have multiple. There’s the living room TV, the bedroom TV, the basement TV, the kitchen TV, the toilet TV, the bathtub TV – hell, we’ve even got TVs in our cars and on our phones. But while everyone sees this as a major advancement in entertainment, I’m now horrified every waking hour of my day. Thanks a lot, technology.
Why am I scared? Haven’t you people seen movies like Poltergeist, A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, or The Ring?! Killers use America’s favorite time-waster as a distraction all the time, sometimes even turning the televisions against us by dragging their victims into the set or extracting what the viewer is watching. This is especially terrifying for someone who watches as many horror movies myself. What’s to say Freddy won’t pop out of my set and grab me with his cable-wire arms and slam me head-first into the screen!? Sorry, I’m perfectly fine in reality. No need to cross the 4th wall into the programs I’m watching.
I watch TV for a reason – because each show is fictitious and can’t hurt me. Horror movies have of course ruined that for me, turning the device which delivers my cinematic goodness into a devil appliance I’ll never trust again.
Sushi – Dead Sushi
I love sushi, there’s no hiding that. From something as simple as a California Roll to something more complex like a Spicy Dragon Roll, I gobble the raw fishy treats up. I’ll even go for the simple Sashimi dishes which are just rice and a sliced fish (preferably salmon for me), but leave it to Japanese horror cinema to ruin one of my favorite meals. Damn you Norobu Iguchi!!
Yup, ever since watching Dead Sushi, now I can’t help but be paranoid I get the one bit of contaminated sushi that turns me into a rice-mouthed undead sushi zombie. I mean, let’s be honest, eating raw fish is a gamble enough, but now I have to worry about dark forces possessing my food?
But no, the fear doesn’t just stop there, because if I don’t turn into a zombie, the sushi will just come to life and eat me! With all the sushi I’ve eaten, I’ve probably got a target on my head in the sushi community – if they were to come alive that is. With revenge on their mind, there’s no way the carnivorous sushi would even think twice about passing up turning me into their own Donato Roll.
Wonder what sauce I’d go best with…Previous Next
Showers – Psycho
There are few horror scenes as iconic as Psycho’s shower scene, and possibly no scene that instills such an intense fear of such a mundane activity like showering. We’re vulnerably naked, wet, and blind behind a shower curtain, but no one realized that until Alfred Hitchcock felt the need to point it out.
The shower is supposed to be a safe place. It’s a relaxing break in the day where the biggest concerns are slippery soap and what song to sing. Not anymore. Thanks Psycho.
Now I’ll drive days looking for a shower with a glass door because I’m convinced Norman Bates will leap unseen through a dark shower curtain and stab me with no warning unless I have a full view of the bathroom. Do you know how awkward it is to have to ask a hotel clerk if their shower curtains are see-through every single time I go out of town? I even tried showering without a curtain for a while, but there’s still the possibility of someone breaking through the door while you’re all wet and vulnerable. There’s simply no solution.
I know I’m not the first person to be afraid of showers due to Psycho and I guarantee I won’t be the last. Hitchcock was more than a master of horror – he was a devil of a man who took away one of the only peaceful parts of my morning. Thankfully I still have enjoying my coffee while staring out my back window. Wait, what? Damn you Hitchcock!
Typewriters – The Shining
As a writer, I once felt obligated to buy a typewriter. You know, pay homage to those who came before me, get into the cliché writer’s mode and attempt to channel the spirits of the greatest writers to ever live. Well The Shining taught me that typewriters can channel spirits alright, but sure as hell not the kind I was to absorb.
Most would attribute Jack’s descent into madness to his solitude or to the demons of the hotel, whether tangible or in his head, but I think there was something much darker and much simpler at play. It was those hours he spent in front of the typewriter that ruined him. I mean have you ever seen a more demonic look than the one Jack gives while sitting at his typewriter? It was that room where he wanted to be alone – completely alone so he could sit at his typewriter in peace, just as many writers tend to do. I sometimes wonder if I even want to be a writer anymore when I think about The Shining.
After the first time I watched The Shining I not only threw away my typewriter, but I went house to house in the dark of the night throwing away every typewriter I found. That sounds crazy, I know. Wait, that really does sound crazy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. What? Why did I type that? Gah! Typewriters are asserting their power on me and I’m just writing about them. Stephen King, you’ve ruined me.
Tricycles – Saw
The majority of us learned to ride a bike by starting with a tricycle. It’s a ritual that every good suburban kid is subjected to before they’re permitted to graduate to the much more exciting and more dangerous two-wheeled transportation. My children on the other hand will be thrown straight onto a bike with no three-wheeled preparation. Why, you ask. Because I’ve seen the Saw franchise that’s why! There’s no way I’m letting one of my kids learn how to ride on one of those three-wheeled death traps. Hell, they can learn on a unicycle for all I care, but no tricycles will be found in or anywhere near my house.
Most people would say the puppet was what they were most scared of in those scenes – not me. All puppets are a little freaky. Sure, that one was a bit creepier than say Pinocchio, but regardless, that fear was well instilled long before Saw. However, when that creepy creaking was heard and the terrifying trike slowly rolled onto screen, I knew I could never look at my childhood in the same way.
Seriously, why did that thing have to ride a tricycle? Did I look like that as a little kid? Now I’m freaked out about how creepy I was. If that’s the case I’m definitely burning all the pictures of my childhood. Damn you, Saw.Previous Next
Getting Pictures Developed – One Hour Photo
I’m a firm believer that One Hour Photo is a large part of the reason why digital cameras are thriving. Sure, you can see the picture right away and the storage is way better and cheaper than a roll of film, but there’s also the whole thing where you’re not going to have a creepy old man think he’s part of your family.
This film is the single reason that I have a completely used roll of film sitting in a drawer in my house – and it’s going to stay there. Forever. I just know that if I take the risk and try to get it developed I’ll end up with an old man thinking he’s my uncle and creeping into my house at night.
One Hour Photo was definitely made scarier by Robin Williams’ haunting performance. It slightly scarred me when it comes to his other movies as well. No more thinking that he’s the awesome dad from Mrs. Doubtfire or the voice of Aladin’s pal. But still, the worst thing this movie did to me is make me fear what the developers do with my pictures. I mean they look at every single picture, who knows what they think about what they see. It’s a thought that never crossed my mind until I saw One Hour Photo.
And yes, I went digital the day after watching One Hour Photo for the first time.
Used Books – The Number 23
The Number 23 focuses on numerology obsessions and being oddly involved with, yet slowly reading, a little known book. Numerology doesn’t scare me much, but never again will I buy a book I haven’t heard of before.
Of course I’m realistic and realize the odds of me writing a book and having no memory of it are pretty slim, but there’s always a chance. A small chance, but it’s there nonetheless. I mean I am writer, I could’ve written some messed up story fictionalizing a series of murders I committed in a former life, and if I did, I definitely don’t want to know about it.
The fact I can’t read an obscure used book now really upsets me. I love literature, and I love being able to find something that isn’t famous but is still excellent. Now the undervalued books of the world will forever remain undervalued in terms of my appreciation.
So thanks Jim Carrey, I’ll never read another used book unless it’s written by someone as famous as Twain or Dickens. You’ve officially stopped my literary exploration.
So what do you think? Will you be able to look at the things discussed the same way? What’s something silly you’re terrified of thanks to a film? Let us know in the comments!Previous