10 Normal Things That Movies Have Made Terrifying

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…

Comments (59)

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  1. onslaught94says:

    I had always thought clowns to be happy and jolly and that they existed to bring children joy. Then I saw Stephen King’s “IT” and that changed everything. Sure, I had read the book before seeing the movie but reading the book didn’t have the effect on me that the movie did. Seeing that pasty-white face and those ruby-red lips that peel back to reveal those filthy, razor-sharp teeth….oh man, I was done with clowns forever. Now, every time I see a clown, I can’t help but to think about what sinister things lay behind those painted smiles and what horrifying things would happen to little children if they were caught in the dark with a clown. Needless to say, you’ll never see me at the circus, and if I ever have kids, during their birthday parties there will be NO CLOWNS ALLOWED!!!!

    1. Nomadsays:

      This. IT ruined clowns for me. Now, every time I pass by some kids’ fair or a circus themed birthday party or even just a clown handing out balloons at the mall, I have to clamp down the urge to run shrieking and screaming in the other direction

  2. Paulsays:

    I disagree with the book, the tricycle and especially the paranormal dissing only because I don’t believe in ghosts. Others you could have included:
    Videos-The Ring
    Dolls-Child’s Play
    Condoms-Killer Condom
    Looking into mirrors- most horrors

    1. Indrid Coldsays:

      Telephones – Various Films
      Yogurt – ‘The Stuff’

    2. Febin P Sunnysays:

      Turning away after looking into a mirror……….. I was scared shitless to do that after watching the “Bathroom scene” in Mirrors !!( U know the part where the sister’s mirror image kills her real self by breaking off her jaw after she had walked away from the friggin mirror)

  3. jerry ksays:

    Uhm…. swimming in large bodies of water. Jaws scared everyone out of the water when in reality very very few sharks attack humans. Hell after seeing jaws for the first time I wouldn’t even swim in lake Michigan anymore

    1. Patrick Gilmoresays:

      I peed out

  4. LoLoLoLoLoLoLoLoLoLoLoLoLoLoLsays:

    this is kinda dumb he wont read books? hes scared of trycicles? wtf…

    1. Alex Lowesays:

      Laughing at the horrors of the world is a dangerous game my friend. Don’t you come crying to us when you get run down by a tricycle on your next late night walk.

  5. derek rsays:

    Little girls the reaping god help me if I ever have w daughter

    1. Edensays:

      Ah yes, the children of the horror genre… According to my mom, when I was about 6 years old, I would routinely wake up in the middle of the night, but instead of calling her or waking her up, I would go into her room and just stand over her until she woke up. I feel really bad about it now.

      1. TweedleNeedlesays:

        God that is sooo creepy! How were there no cameras filming you at the time!?

      2. Sabina K Wood Fillionsays:

        I used to do something similar. My dad worked nights a lot when I was young so it was always just my mum and I at home alone. I would walk through the house, not letting my mum turn on the lights and ask “Oh! What was that noise?” or “Did you hear that mum?” My mum said she would poop her pants.

    2. Anonsays:

      My mom hates horrors and I make her watch them and then say I saw the scary thing in the middle of the night the next day…

  6. bobthebuildersays:

    On the Number 23 part- Stephen King once said in an interview that he doesn’t remember writing Cujo at all. So yes, you can actually write a book and not remember it (plus that book is old now-lots of used copies out there). 😛

    1. Alex Lowesays:

      What if he didn’t actually write it… It was written by some once crazed man whose now living a normal life, potentially as a film journalist… gah!

    2. stevesays:

      because he was a drug addicted fulltime drunk 😉

  7. Owls and Alienssays:

    You know what is really scary…going to sleep at night. After the Fourth Kind came out I was terrified that I would unwrap some mysterious memory of being continuously abducted and experimented on by aliens. And then not remember the next day, until I meet a doctor who puts me in her sleep study because for some unexplained reason I cannot sleep any more, and I remember why I can’t sleep. Oh and forget ever looking at an owl the same way again! The reference of an owl looking at the peoplein their dreams…AHHHHH!

  8. Madiesays:

    A missed call is always worried me, I’m not terrified but I always think a killer spirit is on the loose. One missed Call is to blame.

  9. Anonymoussays:

    This article is trash. I expected way better.

  10. Taezyasays:

    How about missing messages on your cell phone? lol

    1. Taezyasays:

      missing calls on your cell phone I meant…

  11. ayasays:

    reality tv shows, halloween resurrection

  12. Ericsays:

    Anything not PG-13.

    1. Ericsays:

      People that could not handle the new “Evil Dead” are wimps.

  13. terrysays:

    i know its not a movie but not going to sleep after jeff the killer got scared shitless

  14. Nomadsays:

    The Orphan has made me very wary when I hear people around me say, “what about adoption?” I mean, the kid you adopted could very well turn out to be this creepy, creepy, old lady that doesn’t age and wants to move in on your husband and your family!

    1. babalyyywesays:

      I have to agree with you 120%

  15. Anonymoussays:

    Yes in the morning I feel safe but at night I’m so scared in the shower and I sleep under the covers! What scares me the most are spirits and ghosts!

  16. Victorsays:

    You forgot to mention cell phones/telephones (One Missed Call, When a Stranger Calls), and mirrors (Mirrors).

  17. Why wasn’t mirrors ever mentioned? Sooo many horror films where someone is casually brushing their teeth or washing their face, close the bathroom cabinet and there is someone behind them in their reflection. Or just glancing across the room at the mirror and something’s not right, they see themselves as a monsters, etc.

    I found “Rubber” a hilarious film, I also liked that there were people watching the film as well as the viewer.

  18. TommyTuTonesays:

    There is a scene in one of the later Nightmare on Elm Street movies where a kid went deaf because his mom pushed too hard when she cleaned his ears. Because of that I hate other people cleaning my ears.

  19. Gracie9007says:

    How could you forget mirrors?? Easily the scariest, right up there with showers. Empty hallways (Again, thanks to the Shining). Lastly, can’t forget creepy little girls. They have become quintessential in horror films.

  20. sweetsandycsays:

    The Final Destination movies have singlehandedly created my phobia of garbage disposals, slipping on wet tile, bridges, NASCAR races, flights to Paris, crossing a busy city street, elevators, plate glass windows, construction sites, trains, fast food drive thru lines, subways, rollercoasters, lifting weights, nailguns, wood chippers, tanning beds, Korean massages, Buddha statues, and swimming pool drains.

    1. SyllyGoosesays:

      not to mention the Log Truck. *shivers* I literally freaked out because of that movie EVERY DAMN TIME i saw one… it was horrible…

  21. erissays:

    After one missed call came out im so scared to get a voicemail from an unknow number u never know if there a ghost on the other side of the call

  22. Tiffanysays:

    I have a serious phobia of 18 wheelers because of Maximum Overdrive. I remember standing at a truck stop once in shock because a truck was driving up and for some reason I thought it was headed right for me. When I jumped out of shock and jumped onto a sidewalk, I remember my mom laughing…and me a few moments later from nervousness.

  23. Joe Hesssays:

    Doors, after seeing The Strangers. The way they pound incessantly on the door to scare everyone inside freaked me out! And movies like Outbreak and Contagion have me permanently paranoid about touching things that I know other people have coughed up untold biological horrors upon.

  24. Joe Hesssays:

    And before I forget, people making guttural croaking sounds, thanks to Ju-on…

  25. Jessicasays:

    In the movie The Grudge, when the little kid pops out of under the duvet… if the lights are off and I’m in my bed, I can’t look under the duvet, I’m afraid of seeing the kid’s face

  26. Brian Csays:


  27. Emr1970says:

    One notable omission: clowns.

  28. mikaelosays:

    The title of the article is so much better than the article itself. It’s too indulgent, the “writer” should have kept it on his blog or journal instead.

  29. SloanAttackssays:

    What about water???? Theme ever cabin fever 1&2??? Especially when it got to the bottled water plant?!? Omg I was terrified to shower or drink water. Lol

    1. SloanAttackssays:

      Remember**** damn iphone

  30. Brian Mac Iansays:

    What about “Jaws” and the fear of swimming at a beach?

  31. David Garrettsays:


  32. melasays:

    mirrors from bloody mary

  33. Kenneth Walkersays:

    Showers…Psycho….need I say more?

  34. FredC1968says:

    Caddyshack made me afraid of Baby Ruth bars.

    1. Kendra McPhersonsays:

      This..this is why I read the comments anymore!

  35. cryofpainesays:

    Not so much from any specific horror movie, but mirrors and windows at night really freak me out. And of course showers. I can mostly ignore that one, but every so often it just pops in my head and I end up showering with one eye on the door the whole time (and yes, that is one of the reasons I have a clear shower curtain).

    1. Toddsays:

      Yes windows really freak me out after seeing Pet Sematary 2 when “Gus” is standing outside the kids window while he’s sleeping just watching him! Gaah I could never sleep with blinds open in my room after seeing that. Still creeps me out til this very day.

  36. JakeTheSnakesays:

    Being a kid I’m a bit more paranoid then an adult but I feel the same way with tv and movies

  37. taheen74says:

    On the numbers thing, ever read the Dark Tower series? I was obsessed with the number 19 for a few years after reading that series.

  38. gussiesays:

    Mirrors! And I can NOT bring myself to look through a window when it’s dark outside! ACK!

  39. Don Miguelsays:

    The bath tub and bed scenes from Nightmare On Elm street Part I. I have never (ever) tried lying in a bath tub in hotels since I can remember. I saw the movie around mid-80s, when was about 9 or 10 years old, and it was only January of 2014 that I actually tried it. I didn’t go underneath it. The bed scene where Freddie Prince was lying and two hands gobbled him down shooting blood all the way up to the ceiling, that kind of fucked me up for a week. I didn’t sleep in my bed, and he lights were on while I was sleeping. Scary as hell

    1. Kendra McPhersonsays:

      I believe the scene you’re talking about was with Johnny Depp…

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