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In the this genre, you need to get creative to make people truly afraid. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the "Top 10 Little Known Phobias That Would Make Great Horror Movies."
For this list, we’re focusing on phobias that are painfully real to some, and that would likely shock modern horror viewers under the right circumstances. Given the sensitive nature of horror plots in general, viewer discretion is advised.
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#10: Chirophobia: The Fear of Hands
Few people are completely satisfied with their looks, but can you imagine if the sight of your own fingers made you cringe? People suffering from chirophobia often wear mittens, usually following a traumatic event that’s made them terrified of their hands. So, here’s a movie plot for you: a political thriller in which an aspiring politician must overcome his or her issues on the campaign trail. There WILL be a lot of handshakes. Also, the character falls in love with a massage therapist. Or how about a crime thriller about a chirophobic serial killer who makes it their mission to rid the world of all hands?
#9: Spheksophobia: The Fear of Wasps
While Nicholas Cage’s version of The Wicker Man gives us a brief glimpse at the darker side of bees, it’s weird that there haven’t been more movies about their more dastadly relatives. The possibilities are numerous and varied. You could make a Hitchcockian throwback to The Birds, featuring a retired beekeeper who dons their protective suit to fight against swarms of wasps that have suddenly started terrorizing the neighborhood. Or an Alien-style movie about a genetically mutated spider-wasp that starts laying its eggs in people. Plus, you could have a post-credits scene that’s a literal “stinger”! Get on it, Hollywood!
#8: Rhytiphobia: The Fear of Getting Wrinkles
Picture this: an aging professor cuts the faces off young students to stay forever young. This character is suffering from a major case of rhytiphobia, but his or her colleagues don’t suspect anything until a surprise birthday party. As you can imagine, it doesn’t go well for the party guests, especially the young ones. Imagine the film Eyes Without A Face but with an updated mask. Ok, lots of masks. Voila, a new horror icon is born: The Forever Young Professor. This wrinkly character is known for delivering lectures at the most dramatic moments... beautiful on the outside, but struggling within.
#7: Iatrophobia: The Fear of Going to the Doctor
This one seems like a no brainer. There’s nothing scarier than visiting a person who’s supposed to make you feel better, only to find out that they’ve got the exact opposite in mind. The movie could have a child protagonist, just like It or Stranger Things, fretting over getting their first flu shot. Their parents and friends tell them there’s nothing to worry about, but then the kid discovers their fears are totally justified and the doctor is a depraved sadist. And maybe also a werewolf? We’ll leave the details up to the professionals.
#6: Aichmophobia: The Fear of Sharp Objects
This horror begins as a love story in which two recovering heroin addicts celebrate their one-year anniversary in a romantic city. Let’s say… Paris. But after taking a wrong turn, they’re kidnapped and immersed into the underbelly of a disturbing narcotics operation. Locked up with junkies, just the sight of sharp objects gives the characters pain. But they’re going to need a few needles and other sharp objects to fight their way out, and so they’re forced to face their fears. Alternatively, an aichmophobic teen is locked in a kitchen supply store overnight by local bullies, and there just so happens to be an escaped killer in the neighborhood.
#5: Catoptrophobia: The Fear of Mirrors
We can see the tagline now: “Sometimes, the scariest thing in the world...is you. Except like, reversed.” But seriously, there’s a lot of potential to build a horror movie around a fear of mirrors. Everyone knows carnivals are pretty creepy on their own, so why not set the film in a funhouse haunted by spirits that travel through other people’s reflections? Or, you could take a more psychological approach. For example, what if a twin, after the loss of their identical sibling, became terrified of their own reflection and steadily slipped into madness?
#4: Apeirophobia: The Fear of Eternity
The only thing scarier than dying is living forever. For this film, you could open on 14th century Europe, where a man dies of the black plague. However, after his body is disposed of, the man wakes up, and learns he’s immortal. Unfortunately, he’s also very unlucky, and finds himself living—and dying_through the worst atrocities in human history, including the Spanish Inquisition, the Holocaust, and eventually, the destruction of Earth itself. The final shot could be the man drifting through space, as he silently screams in the vacuum, his mind devastated by the horrors he’s experienced. If you want a lighter take on the same idea, you could always watch Groundhog Day.
#3: Logizomechanophobia: The Fear of Computers
Black Mirror may have cornered the TV market when it comes to reminding us about the dangers of technology, but there’s still plenty of room in the film world for stories about Logizo.. Logizmech... being afraid of computers. Consider this: a conspiracy thriller about a 9-5 white collar worker who begins to believe that someone—or something—has possessed all the computers in the world and is slowly brainwashing people, turning them into apathetic robots. Only the big twist is: there is no conspiracy, and it’s people’s own obsession with computers that’s making them lethargic. Ha! Eat your heart out, Charlie Brooker.
#2: Scopophobia: The Fear of Drawing Attention
For scopophobes, the last thing they want to do is make a scene. So maybe you can make a black comedy horror where an unassuming boom pole operator in witness protection is forced to act in front of the camera when one of the supporting actors is killed in a freak accident. All of the sudden, the sound guy’s terrible acting is broadcast across the world, and his scene goes viral, eventually becoming a meme. Unable to escape the constant attention, the man slowly starts to lose it. But when an unhinged mafia hitman from the boom operator’s past discovers the meme, things get deadly. The title: Scoping for Talent. You’re welcome, film producers.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
- Koinoniphobia: The Fear of Rooms
- Automysophobia: The Fear of Getting Dirty
- Phobophobia: The Fear of Phobias
#1: Trypophobia: The Fear of Holes
This is a relatively new phobia; one that hasn’t been officially diagnosed. It turns out, for some people, oddly shaped collections of holes can be seriously triggering. Given that this is a relatively new concept, what if, in our hypothetical film, people with trypophobia were invited to a seminar offering them support. But when they got there, they were actually subjected to horrifying experiments; trypophobia triggers created to push their minds to the very limits of fear and discomfort. And if that doesn’t sound scary enough, how ‘bout this: a trypophobic man orders a ham sandwich, only to react in horror when he discovers the sandwich also contains...swiss cheese! Oh, for the love of all that’s hole-y!