Blood, gore, guts, satanic murders and paranormal phenomena, why does the human brain crave this? Horror movies is a film genre seeking to trigger negative emotions. The genre uses elements in the films that triggers our primal fears. Like fear of the dark, the unknown and paranormal, or a psycho killer. All stuff we do not normally understand. Usually we hear about how these films can effect your body and psyche in a negative way, but can they also effect you in a positive way?
Since some of the first horror movies was brought to life, people have been fascinated and scared by them. Fear is a powerful emotion in the human brain, and stories about monsters, murderers, ghost and beast have been around since we learned how to talk. Before it was possible to make films, famous writers such as Mary Shelly, Bram Stoker and Edgar Allan Poe, wrote about our greatest nightmares. But why do humans watch these films and how does a fictional horror movie affect your body? Is there just something about horror that instinctively speaks to the human brain?
When we see horror movies, we train our ability to succeed in real life critical situations. This maybe explains why people are volunteering to get scared.
When you watch a horror movie it can cause a blast of adrenaline and cortisol levels in your body. Bur It can also trigger memories of traumatic events that you’ve experience in your early life, that your brain has subconsciously hidden according to neuroendocrinology professor Bruce McEwan. Also if you have a heart condition, and starts feeling pain, you should leave the movie early or just avoid them. Normally a healthy heart should be able to regulate, so you don’t have to worry if you feel your pulse beating faster than normal during the intense moments.Watching these films, can give you a bigger and smaller kick for your brain, depends how afraid and easily shocked you are.
Another way that horror movies can effect your body in a positive way is that it can boost your immune system. according to a study performed on 32 people, researches found increases in white blood cells. This means your body gets better equipped to fight diseases and self healing. If your also wants to burn some calories, other studies found out that watching a scary movie can make your body burn around 200 calories, depending on the movie and body.
The top 5 list for “fitness” horror movies:
The Shining: 184 calories
Jaws: 161 calories
The Exorcist: 158 calories
Alien: 152 calories
Saw: 133 calories
One thing we need and crave from the horror movies, is to get the famous chock effect. But why does our body twitch when we get chocked?
when the human body twitch, it is a way in which the body tries to defend and protect protect itself from danger coming from behind. But there is no specific answer to why we react like that, but one theory that may explain why we do it is that the purpose of twitching is to protect us against attacks by predators, because they often attack from behind.
“Predators are known to go for the neck. When attacked by a predator, it makes sense to in order to protect the neck, making it more difficult for the attacker to get to you” – Ole Kjærulff, Professor at the Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology, Copenhagen University.
So before you take your vitamin pills, cliff diving or go to the fitness, you should start by watching a scary movie, especially now when it’s Halloween.
Screenshots from: Donnie Darko, The Shining, House of 1000 corpses, Silence of the lambs, Seven and Rocky Horror Picture Show.