Top 10 Movies That Made Everyday Things Terrifying
VOICE OVER: Kirsten Ria Squibb
WRITTEN BY: Francesca LaMantia
Don't tell us you didn't double-take your TV for a while after watching "The Ring"! For this list, we'll be looking at films that took mundane objects or actions and imbued them with horror. Our countdown includes "Coraline", "Friday the 13th", "Psycho" and more!
Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Movies That Made Everyday Things Terrifying. Due to the nature of this list a spoiler alert is in effect. For this list, we’ll be looking at films that took mundane objects or actions and imbued them with horror. Which of these movies had the biggest effect on you? Did they change your habits? Make you look at ordinary things with suspicion? Tell us in the comments!
#10: “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984)
Having nightmares is scary enough. Just imagine that those nightmares could do you real harm - even kill you! Freddy Krueger is the embodiment of fear. If he existed out in the world, at least he’d be something solid that can be faced. But fighting him inside your dreams is like battling against your own mind. What makes Freddy so scary is not just the burned face or the razor hands, but the fact that he makes something as blissful as sleeping torturous. He attacks you somewhere that’s supposed to be completely safe. Who wasn’t at least a little scared to close their eyes after watching this one?
#9: “Coraline” (2009)
Buttons are among the objects we interact with the most on a regular basis. Unless your wardrobe consists solely of sweatpants and tee shirts, you probably use buttons nearly every day. Based on Neil Gaiman’s novella, “Coraline” is basically a kids horror movie. The button eyed doppelgangers from the Other World kidnap people and steal their souls. Even before the Other Mother reveals her true colors, something doesn’t feel quite right about those eyes. But once you find out exactly what those buttons are used for, they become absolutely terrifying.
#8: “The Birds” (1963)
Director Alfred Hitchcock actually had real live birds thrown at Tippi Hedren in order to get a scene. Talk about terrifying. In this thriller loosely based on Daphne du Maurier’s story of the same name, the birds of Bodega Bay, California, suddenly go crazy and start attacking people. There’s no explanation and nothing anyone can do to stop them. As if that wasn’t scary enough, Hitchcock was somewhat inspired by a real life event in making the film. In 1961 a town in California had a similar anomaly where birds were flying directly into cars and homes for seemingly no reason. Creepy dolls and ghost girls are one thing, but reality is what makes this one particularly scary.
#7: “Friday the 13th” Franchise (1980-)
If we’re being completely honest, those old school hockey masks are kind of creepy looking anyway. Blank faces with no expression, they’re nightmare fuel already. But after these movies, seeing a hockey mask immediately makes you think of Jason Voorhees. Ironically, Jason isn’t even the original villain. And the hockey mask doesn’t show up until the third movie. Fortunately, you don’t see too many goalies wearing this style of mask anymore, and honestly, we’re relieved!
#6: “Final Destination 2” (2003)
Even if you’ve never seen this supernatural horror film before, you probably know exactly what we’re talking about. This movie moment has practically become immortal. The scene is brutal, and because it’s seen from the main character’s perspective it feels like you’re experiencing it all yourself. If you ever catch yourself in traffic with a logging truck next to you, it’s pretty much guaranteed that the lane behind it is empty and every car is piled up behind you. No one wants to be caught behind the logging truck on the highway.
#5: “The Ring” (2002)
The Ring produced a generation of young adults scared of their own TVs. “You will die in seven days” practically became a catchphrase in the early 2000s. It’s kind of funny when you think about it. The movie is making the very thing that you’re watching the movie on scary. It almost seems counter productive, doesn’t it? Or maybe “Big DVD” was trying to manipulate us into switching over from our VHS tapes, hmmm. Either way, a terrifying little ghost girl crawling out of your television is the stuff that nightmares are made of.
#4: “It” (2017)
This Stephen King adaptation actually uses a lot of mundane things as scary elements, like balloons, or clowns. But for our purposes we’re focusing on storm drains. It all comes down to that opening scene, when little George loses his paper sailboat down a storm drain and finds Pennywise waiting for him. With his disarming charm, the clown convinces George to trust him and reach down inside …The fact that the movie deals with childhood and the loss of innocence makes the scene especially haunting. If you walked down the street after watching this movie suspiciously eyeing drains and keeping a bit of extra distance, you weren’t alone!
#3: “Psycho” (1960)
Be honest with us, you’ve definitely checked behind your shower curtain to see if there were serial killers hiding behind there before, right? It’s okay, we all have. This shower scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s seminal thriller film is so iconic that it’s become a horror movie staple. Just think about how many movies you’ve seen with a scary shower moment. The shower is one of the places where we’re at our most vulnerable; Hitchcock took that and turned it into a place of suspense and terror instead!
#2: “Child’s Play” (1988)
Tom Holland’s supernatural horror film didn’t just take an ordinary object and make it frightening. It took something associated with childhood and play, and made it feel positively evil. A doll is supposed to be an object of innocence, so this seriously amplifies the horror. The premise - that a kid’s doll comes to life and goes on a murder spree - may seem silly, when you think about it. But Chucky is anything but. Just think of how many movies and TV shows you’ve seen with creepy dolls. This movie definitely deserves some credit for popularizing the idea.
#1: “Jaws” (1975)
The tagline for the second movie in this franchise was “Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water”. But after watching that first movie, many of us NEVER felt it was safe to go back in the water. Steven Spielberg’s thriller has been blamed for increasing people’s fear of sharks, and even reducing beach attendance in the year of its release. If you’ve ever been swimming and suddenly heard those dreadful two notes in your head, you know what we’re talking about. The interesting thing is that in the movie, we barely see the shark. It’s the anticipation that really gets you. So, arguably, we’re more afraid of the unknown under the water than of the shark itself.