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I watched the new film, Twisted: A Balloonamentary, last night, and was almost literally blown away by the bizarre creations and fascinating people behind “twisting” — the art of contorting balloons into a dizzying array of shapes and symbols. (The film is playing in selected cities this weekend and is already available on DVD. Watch the trailer here.) Though the first design most aspiring twisters attempt is the humble dog (requires one balloon), in this surprisingly engaging documentary, advanced balloon artists create, among many other things, a enormous flying octopus, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, multiple Jesuses, several extremely well-endowed men (in so-called “adult” twisting), a Trojan Horse, 100-foot soccer players in a field of waving green balloon grass, two full-body balloon dresses (once of which was worn by a avid twister to her wedding), and a beautiful geisha made of tiny balloon twists so perfect they look like beads (pictured). The heart-warming nature of the film was conveyed via a theme of redemption-via-twist (one man finds God in the art of making Jesus balloon sculptures, complete with balloon nails and fake blood). Such is the movie’s tagline: “Once you can make a balloon dog, you can do anything!” And the super-helpful press kit I received even included two balloons and dog-making instructions for practice at home.

NB: I did not achieve redemption. I did not even make a balloon dog. I barely made it through the film. I did not do anything but quake, down two beers, and beg a friend to come over and watch the film with me. Why? Because I have “globophobia” — a fear of balloons. I have a pretty mild case compared to some people it seems. But after a few minor freakouts, I realized that these people are pros; the chances of an accident slim. But amateur twisters, or — shudder — young children and babies playing with helium-filled latex. That’s a no-go zone for me.

To that end: Are you afraid of balloons too? (If so, let’s start a support group!) If not, what fears or phobias do you have that are triggered by shows or movies (fear of heights, explosions, blood, claustrophobia, awkward “you’re busted!” encounters) that make you cringe, change the channel, or maybe leave the room while your cruel, unphobic friends laugh at you? Let’s have it!

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