Friday, April 30, 2010

In Tight Places

I don't know at what age I realized it -- nor what spurred or caused it -- but I suffer from the irrational fear of tight spaces. Claustrophobia. That is such a marvelous and terrible (19th century) word. It's made up from the Latin claustrum "a shut in place" and the Greek φόβος, phóbos, "fear". Wikipedia says one study estimates that "from 5–7% of the world population is affected by severe claustrophobia". I'm bad enough, but I hope I don't think I qualify as 'severe'. Ever wonder if you're claustrophobic? There are a couple of easy ways to find out. You'll know it rather quickly if you ever have to go through a MRI of your head, or have to lie flat (with your arms over your head) under a Gamma-ray Camera (by way of experiencing a Thallium Stress Test). Believe me on this... I've experienced both.

This post has been moved and updated to my current blog, which can be found here.

15 comments:

  1. Good call on THE DESCENT. That film really plays on claustrophobia so well and is part of the reason why the film is so scary. Glad to see you giving DANTE'S PEAK a shout-out!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Excellent idea, proud to have inspired it!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks, J.D. Both definitely have their heart-racing moments.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks, B-Sol. Paige and you deserve the credit.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm not claustrophobic but I have a suffocation phobia. It's very spefically a chest-crushing type of suffocation. For instance, the thought of someone smothering my face to prevent me breathing elicits no response but the mere idea of my chest being pressed on so hard that I can't take a breath gives me the shivers. So for me it's The Great Escape. The idea of cave-ins made me a quivering mess as I was trying to watch the movie. I actually started gulping air at one point because I could not deal with the idea that a load of dirt might crush a soldier's chest.

    ReplyDelete
  6. That's another excellent example with The Great Escape, Rachel. And Charles Bronson's panic and explanation for being 'The Tunnel King' was just perfect (and understandable). Thank you for your comment and adding this.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I've never done that MRI thing, but I hear that even for non-phobics, it can be stressful. I'm not claustrophobic strictly speaking, but I can't stand to be stopped under something like a bridge or overpass. Although I remember not seeing or wanting to see Panic Room, because I didn't like the feeling of Jodie Foster being hemmed in like that. Dante's Peak, strangely enough, as long as Pierce Brosnan was with me, I might not mind being crushed to death.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Some of the older MRI units can get pretty snug for people. And Jodie was pretty well trapped in Panic Room (there's a name for you). Thanks, Naomi.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Did you ever see the two-part episode of "CSI" that Tarantino directed?  Nick is buried alive for the better part of both episodes, and let's just say that one bad thing after another happens, including fire ants. 

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh, yeah. I did watch that one! Yep, that was pretty uncomfortable to imagine and watch, Jeff. Thanks for adding that one, my friend.

    ReplyDelete
  11. 我們不是因為快樂而歌唱,而是唱歌使我們快樂........................................

    ReplyDelete
  12. Pop Culture NerdMay 1, 2010 at 7:42 PM

    When I saw the title of this post, I thought, "The Vanishing has to be on the list!" Yikes. Most claustrophobic ending ever for me, and I don't think I have it as bad as you.

    I saw the time you posted this: 4 a.m. Were you awake because of a claustrophobic nightmare?

    ReplyDelete
  13. Pop Culture NerdMay 1, 2010 at 7:47 PM

    Forgot to mention that if you thought that scene in Die Trying was bad, wait 'til you read about the ridiculously tight space in which Reacher finds himself in 61 Hours!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Yep, The Vanishing has to make a list like this one. In this case, the posting time just reflected the hour I had Blogger schedule the posting. Thanks, PCN.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I appreciate the early warning regarding the new Reacher novel, Elyse. I'll have the Lorazepam close by when I start that one up  ;) . Thanks for this.

    ReplyDelete