Horror movies are famous for scaring audiences using an array of fictional monsters, but some are clever enough to take it that one step further and mold the mundane into something truly nightmarish. Whether it's inanimate objects, natural bodily functions, or even our own family members, the mundane is made all the more horrifying by its inescapable nature. These are the things that lurk in the everyday and, unlike many horror villains, they are all too real.
Here are seven examples of horror movies that monsterized the mundane:
7. Christine — Cars
Horror royalty Stephen King has managed to spook his extensive readership time and time again with his truly terrifying knack for scaring people senseless. Given his impressive bibliography, a fair few of his works have been subject to film adaptations of often equal prestige — 1983’s Christine being one example.
The tale follows the story of Arnie (portrayed by Keith Gordon), whose temperament becomes compromised after purchasing an old Plymouth Fury named Christine. It becomes quickly apparent that the car has a mind of its own, and a dangerously jealous one at that. After the new owner’s girlfriend expresses her resentment towards the car, it responds by sealing her inside and attempting to choke her to death. Then, when school bullies vandalize Christine, she seeks out her abusers and reaps her revenge in a series of grisly attacks. It would definitely make you question the previous ownership before you even think twice about purchasing a secondhand car.
6. The Ring — VHS
#TheRing film series was birthed from the novel of the same name by Koji Suzuki and was kick-started with a Japanese adaptation in 1998. In 2002, the franchise as we know it today was remade by Gore Verbinski, consisting of The Ring and two sequels The Ring Two (2005) and the recent Rings (2017).
The films feature a cursed video tape that kills the viewer seven days after watching. The footage alone is unsettling in itself, with a sequence of nightmarish clips that are not for the fainthearted. Surrealist images of creepy crawlies and twitching, dismembered fingers — among other disturbing thing — flash across the screen in lurid fashion, leaving the viewer half expecting to receive a phone call themselves moments after watching. It also made us weary of phones, too. It’s hard to take a call without expecting to hear an ethereal voice whispering "seven days" down the line.
5. Friend Request — Facebook
In recent years, there has been a surge in social media-based horror movies that have made it their goal to monsterize the internet. One prime culprit is 2016’s Friend Request — a Facebook-themed thriller about Laura (Alycia Debnam-Carey), a popular college student who accepts a friend request from a lonely girl in her class.
Laura lives to regret adding her classmate when their online relationship takes a turn for the worst, prompting her to unfriend the girl. As a result, the girl commits suicide in a fit of rage, and her spirit becomes fixated on ensuring that Laura comes to know true loneliness as she had. She does so by using social media to kill off everyone Laura loves one by one. It definitely prompts you to revise your friends list.
4. Oculus — Mirrors
If mirrors weren’t already creepy enough, 2013’s psychological horror Oculus takes it up a notch or two. In it, Doctor Who’s Karen Gillan takes the lead as a woman hell-bent on uncovering the truth about her parents’ deaths. Convinced that the creepily obscure mirror that had been hung in her father’s study was the reason behind hers and her brother’s long-term suffering, she finds the mirror and has it taken back to her childhood home with intent to destroy it.
Set in two different time periods, not only does the film make you weary of mirrors, it also makes you slightly fear our own parents. In the earlier time frame, we see the mirror gradually sending the parents into a pit of paranoia, prompting them to try and kill their own children. It’s a tale that leaves you willing to risk decades' worth of bad luck from smashing up all mirrors on the premises.
3. The Visit — Old People
Found footage films have always had the power to chill us to the bone with their authentically amateurish nature that gives them an uncomfortable sense of reality. M. Night Shyamalan’s 2015 thriller The Visit is no exception, and succeeded in creating a sense of unease in regards to something that we would never have expected ourselves to fear: our own grandparents.
When Becca and Tyler visit their grandparents for the first time at their secluded farmhouse, things start getting very freaky very fast. Projectile vomiting in the night, frantically scratching at the walls and attacking innocents in the street are just a few examples of extremely unsettling behaviors that are simply shrugged off as senility.
It is the movie’s tantalizing twist that really sends your blood pressure soaring. Now, it’s near impossible to pass an old lady in the street without wondering what dark secrets lay beneath the surface.
2. A Nightmare On Elm Street — Sleep
The late Wes Craven was brilliantly evil when it came to twisting normality into something truly horrifying. In 1984, audiences were introduced to the infamous Freddy Krueger for the very first time, and have been sleeping with one eye open ever since.
The highly-respected A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise centers on the tormenting Krueger and his young victims. In life, Krueger was a child murderer who was hunted down by a mob of vengeful parents and burned alive. Once dead, Krueger seeks out his own revenge by entering youngster’s dreams and attacking them while they sleep. Terrifyingly, as the characters fight sleep in order to avoid a potentially fatal snooze, it becomes easier for Krueger to infiltrate real life as their dreams entwine with reality. They weren’t kidding around when they said you’d "never sleep again."
1. Final Destination — Everything
Although it might not be the scariest on the list, the five-film #FinalDestination franchise takes the top spot with its impeccable ability to make us fear absolutely everything.
Each film in the franchise begins with the main protagonist experiencing a premonition, entailing a large-scale accident that leads to their own death and those of all the people around them. The protagonist, along with a handful of other characters, leaves the scene and narrowly avoids a gory fate. Following the event, the survivors start getting killed off one by one in the order that they had died in the premonition, and in the most bizarre ways.
Since the birth of the franchise, activities as innocent as going for a swim or through the car wash now seem like death wishes. Although seemingly far-fetched, the methods of death in the films are terrifyingly possible, whether it’s singeing in a sun bed, getting pummeled by falling objects or, rather ironically, being mowed down by an ambulance. Most frightening though, is one’s newfound sensitivity towards everyday household objects that could potentially spring an over-elaborate death trap.
The aforementioned horror films certainly make you observe the mundane in an all new, overly cautious light. Before long, we might start seeing plots regarding even more obscurely normal concepts that make us further fearful of the everyday. Is nothing safe?
What is the most ordinary thing a horror movie has made you fearful of?