What are the most common fears that inspire horror movies?

Posted on

While there are many notable horror movies that creatively craft their plot sequences from pure imagination, there are also those who take inspiration from the primal instincts of the human brain. Whether it’s an emotional reaction to pure darkness, built up tension leading to a striking moment of terror or a simple, unexpected jump scare, these elemental details are what keeps fans of the genre gripping their seats with fear and suspense. Since filmmakers feed on these emotional reactions to create a powerfully, spooky movies, you can pretty much guarantee that screenwriters and directors are known to recycle the same heightened phobias. Whether it’s a time-honored horror flick or a crummy addition to the dreadful genre, you can rest assured that the following horror hang-ups will continue to find their place into the chilling timeline of future films.

Fear of spiders (arachnophobia)

While arachnophobia can range anywhere from mild to severe depending on the person, psychologists believe that it is a fear that is instilled by the conditioning from a loved one. This means that most people who say that they’re fearful of spiders do not necessarily undergo an experience that instills “spider trauma”, but they have been told by a close friend or relative to be scared of creepy crawlies. So, it’s not the fear of being bitten, but rather the fear of their erratic movements and their abundance of legs and eyeballs that fuels this phobia fire. Needless to say, horror movies like Arachnophobia and The Exorcist have really taken the fear of spiders to a whole new level.

Fear of clowns (coulrophobia)

The concept of a creepy, evil clown is nothing new. In fact, horror movies like Stephen King’s IT and the Killjoy franchise have capitalized on it. While coulrophobia is more common in children, this intense fear is known to build up into adulthood. But why are so many people scared of clowns? Psychologists believe that this familiar fear is usually the result of a traumatic childhood experience and since humans rely on facial expressions to understand each other, the exaggerated, distorted, painted-on faces of clowns are something we become fixated and fearful of. Not to mention, clowns are mischievous, uncertain and in many cases portrayed as tricksters. It’s their appearance and unpredictability that makes you wallow is discomfort at the sight of them in horror movies.  

Fear of puppets (pupaphobia)

Although pupaphobia is not as common as some other fears, there are still many people who’re scared of these uncanny hunks of wood and plastic. Although the fear of puppets is also generally developed through a case of childhood trauma, which makes it such a unique phobia is the fact that puppets are not real. Although they’re human-like and realistic in their appearance, the very notion of them moving or talking in any way has the ability to invoke suspicion and uneasiness in anyone. This is probably why Goosebumps’ Slappy and Saw’s Billy Puppet have become such wildly popular horror icons!

Are there any other fears that you can think of that horror movies utilize? Drop a comment below to share with our readers.