I've been a fan of horror movies as long as I can remember. Part of my love of them is based on how they tap into our most primal fears and so inspire an often unmatched group dynamic that surges through an invisible thread of electrified terror that connects audience members most clearly when we all groan, squirm, leap and scream together. It's this sharing of scares and screams that makes horror movies so much fun, and such a strong source of bonding from slumber parties to dates and midnight screenings.

But the sinister side of horror is the scares that follow you home afterwards. When you're all alone and the twisted scenes play out in your memory, does that weird bump in the night give you pause? Does shutting off the lights to go to bed cause anxiety? Do nightmares plague you the whole night through?

Whatever the immediate effects, I've found that there's a more lasting impact horror has had on me, making me fear—or at the very least be wary of—a handful of things that recur in some of the most terrifying movies. Below I share the things I fear along with why I believe their impact is profound and universal.

The Ocean
My fear of the ocean began as a kid withJaws, which today persists as being one of my favorite movies of all time because of its scary and satisfyingly exhilarating narrative. I revisit this movie at least once a year, usually before I go to the beach. So yes, I am doing nothing in the way of squashing this fear, but that's by design. The ocean is massive--and even with all of our technology--still wild and unknowable with beasts we strain to comprehend and sometimes can't even find. It is deep, vast, mysterious and a place where we don't belong. The same goes for outer space.

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