To give you a good scare this Halloween, we’ve rounded up horror movies that zero in on common phobias people have, or worse, develop new ones in them. Unnerved by dolls? Say hello to Chucky. Creeped out by clowns? Wait ‘til you see Pennywise.
Get ready for a harrowing Halloween fear-fest!
1. Fear: Night (noctiphobia)
Movie: Paranormal Activity
See things that go bump in the night via a video camera set up by a couple to record strange disturbances as they sleep. Pray you don’t wake up in the middle of the night after watching this one.
2. Fear: Sleep (somniphobia)
Movie: A Nightmare on Elm Street
Freddy Krueger haunts and kills a group of teens through nightmares, and their only escape from this fate is to stay awake. Sweet dreams, CGs!
3. Fear: Mirrors (spectrophobia)
In this movie, people’s reflections appear to have a life of their own, killing their owners in blood-curdling ways. After watching this, you might find yourself turning away from mirrors—or avoiding them completely.
4. Fear: Clowns (coulrophobia)
In this miniseries based on a Stephen King novel, Pennywise the Dancing Clown devours children with his sharp gnashers, giving viewers more reason to cringe at the thought of clowns’ grotesquely grinning faces.
5. Fear: Dolls (pediophobia)
Movie: Child's Play
Chucky may look like a regular doll, but it’s actually a knife-wielding murderer possessed by the soul of a serial killer. You’ll never look at dolls’ dead, staring eyes the same way again.
6. Fear: Old people (gerontophobia)
Movie: Drag Me to Hell
When a bank officer refuses to give old gypsy woman Sylvia Ganush a loan extension, she puts a curse on her that sets in motion a series of horrific events. This movie will make you think twice about mistreating the elderly.
7. Fear: Strangers (xenophobia)
Thanks to this film, you’ll be even more wary of strangers you encounter, especially on vacation—they might just turn out to be accomplices out to sell you to rich clients for torture. (Shudder.)
8. Fear: Confined spaces (claustrophobia)
Five people who find themselves stuck together in an elevator under seemingly random circumstances realize that something more sinister is at work—and that one of them is the devil. Cue claustrophobia.
9. Fear: Technology (technophobia)
Movie: Ringu (Ring)
This Japanese film, which sparked the explosion of the Asian horror genre and made “Sadako” a household name, is responsible for making grown men and women the world over fear their television screens.
10. Fear: Bathing (ablutophobia)
Ablutophobia isn’t as common as the other phobias on the list, but we bet anyone who’s seen Psycho’s iconic shower scene has caught himself wondering, even for just a brief moment, if anything—or anyone—is lurking on the other side of that shower curtain.