I don't know, blame your mother.
Yes, maybe you've swallowed a spider in your sleep before.
But contrary to the myth that the average human swallows eight spiders a year while they're sleeping, it's highly unlikely to happen more than once in your lifetime. Still, something about life in America encourages a fear of spiders, as 30.5% of Arachnophobiacs live in the United States. In fact, Google Trends reveal that fear of spiders is one of the most prevalent in the country. Clinical psychologist Sophie Li posits that that specific phobia could be social run-off from media depictions: As "a social or cultural component...spiders are often depicted and promoted as being scary and deadly." She adds, "Another theory is that, through evolutionary processes, we've been genetically predisposed to develop fears and phobias of things that threatened the safety of early humans, things like spiders and snakes."
Realistically, based on Americans' most common fears in 2019, it's probably a combination of both. A phobia is defined as "a type of anxiety disorder that causes an individual to experience extreme, irrational fear about a situation, living creature, place, or object." Phobias have unclear causes, but it's usually the result of traumatic events and/or a manifestation of a pre-existing anxiety disorder. As such, you're unlikely to develop a phobia past the age of 30. Of course, phobias are different from our every day fears (they are an official, diagnosed mental disorder, after all), but their roots lie in the same black depths of our brains where we process the world and our anxieties about it.
According to surveys of Americans' specific fears, the most popular (and growing) fears are of corrupt government officials, pollution, and economic instability. Meanwhile, our universal fears remain pretty constant: aging (gerascophobia), public speaking (or glossophobia), death (thanatophobia), being eaten by a wild boar (agrizoophobia)...the usual. Horror movies have mastered the science of tapping into our fears and anxieties, from natural disasters to killer v*ginas (v*gina dentata).
Welcome to our tour through humanity's most common fears with these celebrated and not-so-celebrated and sometimes downright cringey horror films.
First stop: Pediophobia, a.k.a. fear of dolls. Pediophobia is relatively common and classified as a type of automatonophobia, or fear of humanoid figures. Think uncanny valley plus evil spirits. Clinical psychologist Kate Wolitzky-Taylor, PhD, says we're strangely conditioned to fear dolls from pop culture and experience. "This consistent pairing of dolls with other creepy, scary stimuli may lead to experiencing fear or nervousness when confronted with a doll or an image of a doll," she says. "Learning is a big factor, whether it's direct learning experiences, or vicarious learning through others."
Bottom line: No adult genuinely f*cking likes dolls. Annabelle is a Bratz doll raised by wolves. Haunted wolves. Buy your DVD copy today!
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Happy birthday to the world's biggest genre
On this day in 1973, Clive Campbell, the Jamaican-American "selector" known as DJ Kool Herc, hosted a "back to school jam" at 1520 Sedgewick Avenue in the Boogie Down Bronx of New York City.
Armed with a booming sound system and reggae beats, Herc– a shortened nickname for "Hercules"– commanded insatiable audiences across the South Bronx with his unique looping technique called the "Merry-Go Round." "[I knew that] they were waiting for this particular break," Herc later said, "and I got a couple of records that got the same break up in it. I wonder how it would be if I put them all together."
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Start popping that popcorn.
There were horror writers before Stephen King and there will almost certainly be horror writers after Stephen King, but there will never be another writer as able to capture the world's imagination so thoroughly with his ability to terrify in one moment and inspire hope in the next.
Not only has King written nearly 90 bone-chilling and engrossing books in his decades-long career, his work has also been adapted for film or TV nearly 80 times. Of course, the problem with adapting a book to film is that the film version rarely lives up to the book. With that said, out of nearly 80 adaptions, a few have to go right sometimes.
We give you the definitive list of the top 10 Stephen King movies ever made.
10. Children of the Corn (1984)
Based on King's 1977 short story of the same name, Children of the Corn gained a cult following and inspired a film franchise despite lackluster reviews. The film follows a young couple as they drive through a small town in Nebraska, where they soon discover that the children of the town are beholden by an evil force called "He Who Walks Behind the Rows," who demands that the children sacrifice all the adults in the town to ensure a successful harvest. It's full of unintentionally hilarious 80s effects and tends to feel silly at points, but it still manages to offer plenty of scary moments.
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