Anyone can make a scary movie, but only Stanley Kubrick’s films can permanently freak us out about things that previously seemed fright-proof. In honour of the Kubrick Exhibition opening October 31 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, we compiled a list of our silliest, most irrational fears — all of which are Kubrick’s fault.
17 irrational fears Stanley Kubrick put in your head
Hand Knit SweatersThey used to remind us of Grandma...now they remind us of blood-filled elevators and homicidal poltergeists. Thanks, The Shining. Warner Bros.
TwinsLisa and Louise Burns played the ghostly Grady sisters in Kubrick's adaptation of Stephen King's novel The Shining. They must have gotten a sense of just how scary they were because the fledgling thespians never acted on camera again. Warner Bros.
Hotel hallwaysHave you ever checked in to a Travelodge or Howard Johnson only to be kept up all night by the geometric print carpet lurking just outside your door? You can credit The Shining for that one. Warner Bros.
Room 237A motel clerk hands you your room key. The tag reads “237”. Do you stay the night or run screaming to the parking lot? We bet we know the answer. Warner Bros.
Ed McMahonThe announcer’s trademark Tonight Show line never sounded the same after we heard it come out of Jack Nicholson’s mouth in The Shining. Warner Bros.
Teddy BearsShudder. Kubrick’s The Shining bear makes Chuckie look downright cuddly. Warner Bros.
BeethovenThe soothing Symphony No. 9 is loved by classical music fans. Alex DeLarge, head thug in A Clockwork Orange, adores it too — until he undergoes aversion therapy that uses the piece as its soundtrack. After that, the 9th Symphony becomes his own 9th circle of hell. We admit it, the effect rubbed off on us a bit too. Warner Bros.
MilkMilk, it does a body good. That is, unless a pint bottle of it is being smashed across your face. Never has the stuff we grew up drinking alongside plates of cookies seemed so sinister as when it was laced with drugs and drunk in high quantities by the terrifying Droogs in A Clockwork Orange. Warner Bros.
Singin' in the RainWhat a glorious feeling? More like what a dystopian nightmare. Kubrick borrows this 1950s tune from Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds and uses it in one of the most disturbing scenes in A Clockwork Orange, thereby ruining mid-century Hollywood musicals for us forever. Warner Bros.
CommitmentMost movies are made in a few months but Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon took 300 days to make. Eyes Wide Shut took 400 days, due largely to Kubrick’s legendary perfectionism. It’s the Guinness World Record holder for longest continuous film shoot ever. (No wonder its two married stars never wanted to see each other again.) Warner Bros.
Carnival MasksBefore Kubrick released his final film, Eyes Wide Shut, we'd forgotten all about that Venetian carnival mask we'd picked up on our post-college tour of Europe. Now we're afraid of the very closet it's languishing in. Warner Bros.
Working with Your SpouseIt'd be nice to work with your significant other, right? You could carpool, eat lunch together, hold hands during coffee breaks. If you believe this, don't watch Eyes Wide Shut and definitely don't read about the making of the film. The experience is rumoured to have destroyed costars Tom Cruise' and Nicole Kidman's marriage. Warner Bros.
HaircutsWhy do 67% of all children cry on the occasion of their first haircut? Innate knowledge of Full Metal Jacket is one theory. Warner Bros.
Bars of SoapThey seem innocent enough, right? Small, symmetrical and pleasantly scented. You'd never guess that, wrapped in an equally innocuous towel, they could turn into a weapon. Unless you've seen Full Metal Jacket, that is. Warner Bros.
TechnologyWondering why Apple gave Siri a woman's voice? Two words: HAL 9000. MGM
Nuclear WarOkay, so this fear isn't so irrational. Dr. Strangelove just made it worse. Columbia Pictures
Pre-Teen girlsWhile this irrational fear may have faded over time, when Lolita was released in 1962, the Catholic Church’s Legion of Decency was so afraid of the film they decreed it a mortal sin for Catholics to go see it. That's right: seeing Lolita meant eternal damnation. MGM