Everyone’s afraid of something. We can’t all be Daredevil or Green Lantern, and even they’re afraid now and again. But what separates everyone is what we’re afraid of. Common stuff like public speaking or heights isn’t universal by any means, and some people have weirdly specific fears. I, for example, am afraid of moths and squirrels. Probably not too many people in that specific Venn diagram. But if anything can strike fear into whole generations of people, it’s specific, hallmark horror films. Some of them have traumatized people for decades and likely will forever. On the new AMC series Eli Roth’s History of Horror, he asks some of the world’s great horror luminaries to discuss what movies traumatized them.
Roth interviews a million people in just this one clip, and it’s amazing to see what scares the people whom we associate with causing fear. Stephen King, for example, was afraid of The Creature from the Black Lagoon, Jason Voorhees actor Kane Hodder was terrified of The Birds, and The Howling director Joe Dante thought Boris Karloff as The Mummy was coming to get him. Irrational fears, but deep-seated and perpetual. As director Edgar Wright says at the end of the clip, though, it’s better to be scared in a theater than scared in real life.In order to be properly afraid in the theater, movies need a focal point, a villain, a monster for the audience to collectively fear. What must that do to the actor portraying them? In another clip from History of Horror, three of the biggest horror icons of all time–Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street‘s Freddy Kruger), Tony Todd (Candyman), and Tobin Bell (Jigsaw himself)–explain the processes they each go through to become their respective movie monsters, and the freedom it offers them. Englund specifically says playing Freddy allowed him to be far less self-conscious, since the character looked like weeks-old ground chuck anyway.Eli Roth’s History of Horror premieres Sunday, October 14 at midnight on AMC.