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Got phobias? Watching these animated films might help with that (or not)

Got phobias? Watching these animated films might help with that (or not)

Got phobias? Watching these animated films might help with that (or not)

On my only trip to the top of the CN Tower, my then-partnerwho frustratingly fears nothingled us to the part with the glass-bottom floors. He lay down on one of the thick windows overlooking the faraway ground while young children next to him horrifyingly jumped on the glass to see if the sheer force of their weight would make it pop out of the structure.

He somehow persuaded me to try laying on it too, and as I crawled my way there, I left a trail of sweaty palm prints before suddenly freezing. The cognitive part of my brain knew that I was safely enclosed and not in a perilous situation, but my eyes kept sending a message to my amygdala that I was definitely too high off the ground and should therefore be falling to my death. So the amygdala froze my body in an attempt to not die. 

Was my fear irrational? Maybe. I intellectually understood that I wasn’t in any danger, but other parts of my brain were working overtime to convince me otherwise, and they made strong data-driven arguments. 

Facing your fears is supposed to help you shed them. But if I can face those fears from a safe distancesay, not 553 metres above groundthat’s even better. Watching films that deal with phobias is especially efficient, because if it gets to be too much, you can stop the movie and walk away. Whether or not you’re brave enough to hit “play” again is between you and the film, and films can’t snitch. 

So here’s a selection of phobia-related animated films that will either discredit or legitimize your fears.  

Zeb’s Spider: Arachnophobia 

I’ve heard that some people willingly coexist with spiders, sometimes even placing them in spots where they’re more likely to catch bugs and, y’know, thrive. This adorable stop-motion short makes a pretty strong case against doing any of that. 

Zeb's Spider, Alicia Eisen & Sophie Jarvis, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

The Turtle Syndrome: Hypochondria 

The thing about hypochondria is that you often know you’re a hypochondriac, so you book each needless trip to the doctor expecting it to lead to a firmly reassuring “you’re fine… again.” This animated short does not deliver any reassurances. Lots of silliness, sure, but no consolation. 

The Turtle Syndrome, Samuel Cantin, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Nightmare at School: Glossophobia  

As if grade school wasn’t freaky enough already, this animated short added Escherian staircases and Acme portable holes to the mix. Worst. Class presentation. Ever. 

Nightmare at School, Catherine Arcand, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Hothouse 8 – The Visitor: Teraphobia 

I’m not spoiling anything when I say nope, nuh-uh and no thank you. 

The Visitor, David Barlow-Krelina, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

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