What Banal Fear Has Pop Culture Inspired in You?

Are there any routine actions that make you uncomfortable after you’ve seen them going awry in a piece of media? Read some staff answers below, then add yours!
  1. Looking through the peephole in a door
    Whether it’s Will Smith blowing a bad guy’s head off after waiting for him to look through the peephole in Bad Boys II, or the woman being shot right in the eye in Fled, or the countless horror films where someone gets stabbed because they were foolish enough to peer through that little opening while being in a scary movie, it never fails to make an impact on me. (Alex McCown)
  2. Stopping at a random, secluded gas station
    It’s become such a common trope that it was satirized in The Cabin In The Woods, but that’s not going to change my policy of never, ever stopping at a ramshackle gas station in the middle of nowhere. Nope, only well-lit Flying Js with security cameras and lots of people around for me. Otherwise, an incestuous gang of murderous freaks might kidnap me and turn me into human BBQ. I don’t feel like living out any of those horror-movie scenarios now or ever, thanks. (Katie Rife)
  3. Going into a bathroom stall
    The last time I went into a bathroom stall without looking up was almost 20 years ago, before my friends subjected me to a late-night cable screening of the ’90s crime thriller, Copycat. The gist is there’s a copycat killer recreating famous murders, at least one of which involves a noose lowering around someone’s neck while they’re on the toilet. Naturally I started checking to make sure there were no pesky murder implements waiting for me whenever I’d use the bathroom. (Brandon Nowalk)
  4. Stepping obliviously into the street
    I've seen so many people hit by cars after stepping obliviously into the street that it has given me a startle response I can’t shake. I’m usually not even surprised when it happens—I understand it’s a visual beat we’ve come to expect when someone steps backward into the street. I understand the stunt logistics involved in staging one of these shots. I will still look both ways twice before I cross the street for the rest of my life. (Genevieve Valentine)
  5. Looking in the ceiling corners of bathroom
    When I was a child, I saw a movie called "The Little Vampire" and in it, the little vampire waited in the ceiling corner for the main character to come in the bathroom. I don't remember being afraid, but the idea that someone could wait up there freaked me out. For years after that, anytime I walked into a bathroom, I had to have a visual on all corners to relax.
    Suggested by   @oliviaf
  6. Reaching down with my hand to turn the outside water faucet on or off. Memories of movies from 4th grade about black widow spiders still with me 30 years later. Thanks Sister Mary Margaret.
    Suggested by   @mrskantner
  7. Pulling back the shower curtain.
    🔪🔪🔪🔪🔪🔪🔪🔪🔪🔪
    Suggested by   @lgw
  8. I can never have my feet or hands hanging over the edge of the bed. In the 2nd grade my class watched a movie about fairies and goblins (yes, this was the late 70's). They showed a goblin under a kid's bed that would play with the kid's feet and hands if they were over the edge. Scarred for life!
    Suggested by   @vern1971
  9. Parking garages--you're going to get murdered no matter what.
    I hate them. Luckily, my city doesn't have them. But visiting downtown Houston (twice) nearly sent me to an early grave.
    Suggested by   @rulesofjinx
  10. Looking in a mirror in a dark bathroom
    I think it's Bloody Mary? Or some other ghost that can be summoned thusly? I still to this day am afraid of summoning a ghost in a dark bathroom mirror, even if I don't actually say anything and just think about it.
    Suggested by   @melissathomson
  11. Driving in the country on dark, two lane roads.
    This is for sure when I'll see the mothman.
    Suggested by   @19keightyfour
  12. Any unmarked white van, anywhere.
    I avoid the fuck out of these! Bank robbers pour out the back doors with masks and guns. Women, men, and children get dragged in and tied up, and then they bounce around during the bumpy ride with duct tape on their mouths, trying desperately to reach for a tool to cut the rope on their wrists. Please add specific film and tv examples -- evidently I've purged the sources of my trauma :)
    Suggested by   @lucas00