It’s that time of year again, of ghouls and ghosts and kids in costumes wanting candy. It’s also that time that studios used to try to scare you. But with the exception of Paranormal Activity 3, there’s no new horror on the way. Once the Saw franchise died (a merciful death btw) and the PTB saw fit to release Insidious, Scream 4 (both in April) , Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, Final Destination 5 and Fright Night during the summer, you’ll have to turn to Netflix or Blockbuster (or cable) to get some seasonal scares. Everybody has fears, so let’s talk suggestions and tap into your innermost phobias and nightmares, shall we?
CLAUSTROPHOBIA (fear of tight spaces)
I must admit I have a fear of tight spaces. I honestly didn’t think about it until I had to have an MRI done. Now I didn’t have a major freakout but I did have to practice some serious deep breathing and some sending my mind to a happy place to not think about what was going on. With this in mind, I can most heartily recommend The Descent
The story of 6 longtime friends, who reach out to one who’s lost her husband and daughter in a grisly car accident. They reconnect by planning to explore underground caves. The chemistry between the women are great, you buy the story, you buy the premise and it’s truly scary and claustrophobic. Neill Marshall did an excellent job conveying the tense atmosphere and tight spots. But I recommend watching the original UK version and don’t bother with the sequel.
COULRAPHOBIA (fear of clowns)
We don’t have to explain this fear. I don’t really have it but I can certainly understand it. From that creepy clown doll in Poltergeist to Tim Curry’s scary Pennywise in It, clowns can be frightening. Now let me tell you about a little movie called Clownhouse, made in 1989, I saw this film and fell in love with it.
It’s the story of 3 brothers (one played by a very young Sam Rockwell) who are visited by 3 creepy clowns one night. Casey, the youngest has an intense fear of clowns which his oldest brother, Randy (played by Sam) loves to exploit. You know how family can be. The boys visit a circus, where a clown attempts to pull Casey out of the crowd which totally freaks him out. Three escapees from a local asylum go to the circus, kill a few clowns, put their makeup and outfits on then follow the boys home. The lead of the clowns is a really creepy guy, played by a man who calls himself Tree. I highly recommend this for scary night in.
SELACAPHOBIA (fear of sharks)
When it comes to sharks, nothing beats the original big bad Jaws
But I discovered a little film called Open Water that came close. The story (allegedly true) of a couple left behind while snorkeling. That’s pretty much it, well , and there are sharks. Imagine being in plain sight of something that will hurt you. There’s no way to get away, nowhere to hide. It’s certainly given me a reason to think twice about going underwater. If I ever do go diving, I’ll be sure to yell at the guide or my fellow travelers so this doesn’t happen to me!
OK , The Dentist wasn’t played very seriously (though Corbin Bernsen obviously had a great time) but I can understand this fear. You’re sedated, with someone working in your mouth with both sharp tolls AND drills. Then here’s another iconic scene to feed your dental nightmares!
*shivers* Gives me goosebumps just watching it.
As a kid who grew up with cats & dogs, I wasn’t afraid of them. It took me getting bit a couple of times to realize not every animal is friendly. Actually, come to think of it, I still talk to dogs to feel them out, then pet them if they seem open to it. The first time I read Cujo, I was horrified. The film did a great job of the menace a pet can be when it’s not itself. Man’s Best Friend is another movie that really captures how terrifying these animals can be.
Luckily I saw the original Willard before I saw the remake. Bruce Davidson was such a sympathetic character, you understood his frustration. Crispin Glover just came off like the oddball he usually is. I had pet rats as a kid so I’m not put off by them. But if you have murophobia, Willard and to a lesser extent the sequel Ben will keep you up nights.
My last suggestion doesn’t have a name, well, maybe Xenophobia – fear of strangers, foreigners, or aliens.
I mean thanks to films like Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The Hills Have Eyes
The Blair Witch Project
It’s enough to make you just stay in the safety of your home. Oh wait….
So that’s just a few. What scares you?