Hollywood knows what scares you, and it’s not always boogeymen, monsters or zombies. Some of the most terrifying films from Hollywood’s Nightmare Factory prey on our phobias and make real our private terrors. So come Halloween this Saturday, if you’re looking for a scary movie to watch at home, you don’t necessarily have to turn to the traditional creature feature or haunted house thriller.
No matter what creeps you out, there is likely a seemingly innocent movie sure to unleash the cold sweats. Here are 10 guaranteed to give you phobophobia (fear of phobias).
Agoraphibia: Director David Lean’s panoramic desert landscapes in Lawrence of Arabia are considered the height of cinematic art, but they might send those with a fear of open places running for cover.
Aquaphobia: If you have a fear of water, you would of course want to steer clear of Jaws or Open Water, in which a scuba-diving couple must tread for their lives after they are accidentally left adrift in the ocean. But for true terror, take the plunge, if you dare, into any of the musicals starring championship swimmer Esther Williams featuring lavish swimming pool production numbers.
Cynophibia: Lassie, Toto, Benj or Beethoven? They might as well all be Cujo if you have a fear of dogs.
Demophobia: Woodstock is a joyous celebration of three days of peace, love and music, but if you suffer from a fear of crowds, Max Yasgur’s farm can seem just as terrifying as the old Hill House in The Haunting.
Ephebiphobia: From the Children of the Corn to the Village of the Damned, from The Bad Seed to The Omen, creepy kids have embodied every parent’s ultimate nightmares. But if you have a fear of children or adolescents, no need to go so extreme. Any Little Rascals short (especially one in which Alfalfa croons) will do the terrifying trick.
Gamophibia: George and Martha cordially invite you to an evening of fun and games in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. After rounds of “Get the Guests” or “Hump the Hostess,” those with a fear of marriage will surely scream, “I don’t.”
Hodophobia: Is this trip necessary? Those who suffer from a fear of traveling will find nothing at all funny about the Griswold family’s misadventures in National Lampoon’s Vacation.
Metrophobia: The documentary Louder Than a Bomb about a high school poetry slam offers two terrors for the price of one; a fear of poetry and tonophobia, a fear of performing.
Oenophobia: For many diners, ordering the wine can be an intimidating experience. But for those with an actual fear of wine may consider Sideways to be a real corker.
Phagophobia: Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life is a comedy, not a horror film, but those who suffer from a fear of swallowing may not be able to stomach the infamous restaurant sketch in which behemoth Mr. Creosote tops off his meal with a fatal, final, wafer-thin mint.
Your turn:Share your Halloween movie treats below. What movies give you the creeps and why?