Escape Room is the latest movie to take an innocuous pastime and turn it into a horror film (see also Truth or Dare). While escape rooms are horror-based to begin with—otherwise, there would be no reason to, y’know, escape—it is worth imagining what harmless life event could next be mined for horror fodder.
This is no-brainer. Waking up is disorienting enough, and that irritating klaxon built into your alarm clock certainly isn’t helping matters. It’s not hard to push it a little further to terror: what if you didn’t wake up in your own house? Or in your house, but not in your bedroom? Or in your bedroom, but not your bedroom? We’re already in Gregor Samsa territory, and we haven’t even turned the alarm off.
Brushing Your Teeth
Unlike waking up, brushing your teeth doesn’t appear to lend itself to horror. But think about it? What are your teeth but the only parts of your skeleton you can see? Your teeth should outlast you—so many corpses are identified by their dental records. But what if this seemingly-permanent part of your body…wasn’t? What if the casual abrasion you do to your teeth every morning wore much more of your teeth away than you expected? Or, the reverse, what if your teeth kept getting longer and sharper with every brush, the teeth of not a person but an inhuman creature, with piercing hungers to match those razor-sharp chompers?
A lot of people already describe their commute as a horror movie, so it should be no surprise that this falls on the list. We’re all sealed inside our own cars, protected from what’s outside and literally strapped in a seat. But what if you couldn’t leave your car, stuck in its seat-belted embrace until it wants to let you go? Or, conversely, what if you could leave your car, but didn’t want to, because of the terrifying, apocalyptic chaos just outside your windshield?
What could be more relaxing than ordering delivery? And yet, when you think about it, you are giving a stranger your address, opening your door to them, and putting in your body food that they provided for you. Modern technology makes this even more fraught—you don’t even have to talk someone if you don’t want to. Most delivery people are too busy to take advantage of this amount of trust you’ve placed in them, but it only takes one…
Going To Sleep
What is going to sleep but a small version of death? Your body slowly loosing the ability to function, your eyes closing, your once-vital form now limp and corpse like. Of course, you’re still alive when you fall asleep. But what if we took that a bit further? What if you were trapped in your own body, apparently asleep but in reality wide awake, just unable to move or interact with the world in any way? Sleep paralysis is a real condition, and its surprising it hasn’t been mined for horror move fodder yet. You don’t even need a blade-fingered nightmare man, just being unable to wake up no matter how much you want to.