Here's How Horror Movies Affect Your Body

Halloween is coming to an end, but who says you can’t end the month with a nice long horror movie?

But while watching said scary movie from in between the crooks of your fingers, have you ever wondered how that experience might affect your body...or even your health?

Here are a few interesting facts about the good and bad health-related effects of horror movies:

Too tired to go out for a run? Watch a scary movie to burn off some calories!

According to The Telegraph reporters, scary movies cause your body to pump more adrenaline, which causes calories to burn. It is estimated that you can burn about 200 calories while watching a 90-minute long movie- about the same number you would burn during a half-hour walk.

In a study, the University of Westminster measured the total amount of calories that ten individuals burned as they watched ten different scary movies.

The following list is their results for the top 10 scary movies and the amount of calories the individuals ended up burning:

The top 10 calorie-burning frightening films were:

1. The Shining: 184 calories

2. Jaws: 161 calories

3. The Exorcist: 158 calories

4. Alien: 152 calories

5. Saw: 133 calories

6. A Nightmare on Elm Street: 118 calories

7. Paranormal Activity: 111 calories

8. The Blair Witch Project: 105 calories

9. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: 107 calories

10. [Rec]: 101 calories


BUT, scary movies can affect your sleep patterns.

If you've ever watched a scary movie late at night, you've almost definitely had trouble falling asleep after. We've all experienced those paranoid thoughts about the same “monster” from the movie lurking around our bedrooms. Scary movies can even lead to nightmares, which is especially common in young children. All in all, the best way to cop in a good night's sleep AND to also watch a scary movie, is to watch it hours before you go to sleep, giving yourself time to clear your mind and body. 

Scary movies can boost your immune system!

In research conducted by the School of Science and The Environment at Coventry University, it was discovered that psychological stressful movies can act as a booster for your immune system. They obtained blood samples from 32 male and female subjects during and after watching an 83-minute long horror movie. Their results showed an increase in the number of activated circulating leukocytes. Leukocytes are the cells that are involved in protecting the body against foreign substances. That is to say, horror movies can help boost your immune system! 

 Maybe this year we should all watch a few horror movies during flu season....


BUT, the 'bloodcurdling' myth is true…

The Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, wanted to conduct and experiment in order to test the medieval concept that extreme fear would cause bloodcurdling. Their research subjects consisted of students, alumni, and employees of the university who were asked to either watch a horror movie followed by an educational movie. They had then found out that by watching a horror movie, the levels of the blood coagulant factor VIII had increased. However, this was the only factor that had increased when a horror movie was watched by the subjects. The researchers had concluded that although the coagulant factor VIII increases your risk of venous thrombosis, since the horror movies act as only acute fear, no thrombin will actually form.

The moral of the story is: horror movies can have both positive and negative effects on your body, physically as well as psychologically.

But don't worry too much- movies have a minimum overall effect on your health so whether or not you decide to spend your screen time on scary movies: it's up to you!