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Is Watching Horror Movies Good For Your Health?


Caroline Lejman

Watching horror movies can have many benefits for your overall well being.

Caroline Lejman, Staff Writer

It is almost Halloween, which means everyone is getting ready for the day to dress up and feel spooky. Most people resort to trick or treating, but you decide to stay home with your friends and watch a scary movie. It gives you this rush of adrenaline, on top of the sugar rush, making you question if there is something hiding in the dark corner of the room. Suddenly, there is a loud knock on the front door. Everyone screams, and one friend is sent out to check what the sound was, only to find out it’s the pizza guy. You may not know it, but there are actually health benefits to watching horror movies – not just on Halloween, but throughout the year.

Watching a horror movie that is about 90 minutes long can burn around 200 calories, which is equivalent to a 30 minute walk. In 2012, researchers from the University of Westminster conducted a study to test which horror movie caused viewers to lose the most calories. “The Shining” viewers lost 184 calories, taking first place, while “Jaws” viewers got second, burning 161 calories, and the third place winner was “The Exorcist,” which burned 158 calories.

Horror movies can also boost your immune system and strengthen your fight or flight responses. While you are watching the movie, your body begins to increase your leukocytes, which are cells that help fight diseases in your body. Researchers had two different groups watch “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” the first group having never watched it. When the researchers studied the blood from both groups, the first group had a high increase of leukocytes. 

Not only can it help with your physical health, it can help your mental and emotional health. These movies allow you to face your fears in a healthy way. They can also enhance your brain activity as you watch the movie. It helps emotions flow and boosts adrenaline. It also helps you cope with anxiety and get rid of stress. People who suffer from anxiety can practice slowing their breathing when they know their anxiety is coming while watching the movie. This can also help them in the future to help calm themselves faster when they are in stressful situations. Another psychological benefit to watching horror movies is that it can help you have a more positive outlook on the future and make situations feel less intimidating. It makes you realize that the events in the movie may begin to seem scary or feel risky, but in the end, you end up safe and still alive.

But what actually draws people to horror movies? Well, movies in general provide a distraction from just about everything. Horror movies give you this sense of being in control of a situation, even when life’s problems, such as COVID-19, feel out of your control. It also provides an outlet for good stress, plus it can comfort you because you feel as though you have just faced a fear by watching something that scares you. Personally, I watch these movies because the special effects and the sound effects make me feel as if I were actually in the movie. It pulls me in and gives a stomach turning rush of feelings, like being on a rollercoaster. The horror genre also makes me wonder if certain movies, such as The Purge, could become real.

Watching horror movies can be lots of fun and good for your health . . . just don’t forget that you ordered pizza.