For a lot of people, horror movies bring fear. It may not be rational why we subject ourselves to fear, but there is actually some interesting science behind it. If you are one of those people that love shivers down the spine, here’s why you probably love it:
1. Horror movies can get your adrenaline pumping
Research has shown that people who suffer from depression often experience severe drops in adrenaline. If you’re feeling anxious or depressed and you can’t seem to get back that feeling of excitement, a good horror movie can put your adrenal glands in motion. That delicious mixture of suspense and danger you get from a scary movie will make your brain trigger the “fight or flight” state, pumping adrenaline throughout your body, hence an energy boost and the potential to trigger the release of some other feel-good chemicals.
Next time you’re feeling depressed, instead of skydiving or jumping off bridges, try The Exorcist – it’s a safer and less expensive bet.
2. Horror movies can help you forget daily stresses
You know how they say you can cure one pain by causing a stronger pain? It works the same with your everyday stress and anxiety, only it’s less… painful 🙂 Whenever you’re watching a horror movie, your whole body gets all tensed up. On the other hand, your mind gets the perfect diversion and you’re simply forgetting all the stressful things in your life. They say it’s both comforting and soothing.
Next time you’re feeling blue, don’t grab a gallon of ice cream, try Poltergeist instead – it should keep you busy for a while.
3. Horror movies can give you an anesthetic effect
Again, it’s all about the brain and how it reacts to that roller-coaster ride of emotions. Besides adrenaline, glutamate, serotonin, dopamine and other feel-good chemicals are also released into the body. The effect is much like an anesthesia or a drug. While you think you’re feeling better just because you realized you are out of danger, your body was, in fact, anesthetized.
Next time you’re feeling bored, instead of tequila shots have your friends over for The Blair Witch Project, it’s probably less harmful to your brain.
4. Horror movies can help you deal with your fears
This is another benefit backed by science, Dr. Mathias Clasen’s research indicating how scary movies compensate for something we no longer have nowadays. Our DNA sure has some indications on how to deal with frightening situations, but the modern times we live in rarely put us in such states of alert. Watching these kinds of movies can, therefore, act as emotional stimulators and trigger our DNA to respond. That’s how we learn to deal with fears, navigate of our own hidden thoughts and emotions, it increases our confidence so we can overcome tense situations.
Next time something personal keeps bugging you, try A Nightmare on Elm Street and face your fears of nightmares that become a reality.
5. Horror movies can boost your immune system
Folks, there’s a study claiming how watching horror movies will spike the levels of active white blood cells. The white cells are the soldiers brought to the battlefield every time a virus, a bacteria or any other wrongdoer tries to bring terror into your body. Any wound, any disease, any condition you have requires the support of white cells to fight back. And that study showed how a group of 32 women and men had their immunity level increased after watching Texas Chainsaw Massacre for the first time.
Next time you feel you might catch a cold, grab your cold pills stash, a bowl of hot chicken soup and hit play on The Sixth Sense.
6. Horror movies can help you burn up to 200 calories
In another study whose results showed up in The Telegraph, we discover how watching tense movies burns calories. The experiment included some notorious scary movies and the top calories burners were The Shining (with 184 cal), Jaws (with 161 cal), The Exorcist (with 158 cal), Alien (with 152 cal), and Saw (with 133 cal). There’s no sci-fi explanation for this other than the adrenalin surge, increased heart rate, greater oxygen intake and carbon dioxide elimination, plus muscular contractions – all mandatory ingredients of a good horror movie.
Next time when you want to watch a movie, experiment with Hellraiser and maybe that big bowl of popcorn will hit the ceiling.
These are just a few ways horror movies are good for you – I’ve overlooked other things like getting hugs and snuggling up on the chest of your loved one, but that’s kind of obvious, right? Nevertheless, there are also some other aspects of watching horror movies that are not so… good. Children, people with cardiac issues or people who have previously experienced traumatic situations should probably refrain from watching such movies. Just like with many other “bad” things in this world, moderation is the key!
P.S. I’ve also scattered around through this article 6 of the creepiest horror movies of all time – hope you’ve spoted them and, most importantly won’t be watching them alone ;)
What's your favorite horror movie?
Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.