Many like being scared. This is not new.
But it is on the rise.
On a hormonal level,
the fight or flight reflex releases hormones that give us a subtle rise. It can be addicting.
Your favourite slasher flick could actually help you shift the pounds ...
Research has shown that the spike in adrenaline levels that we experience when watching horror movies
actually increases the metabolic rate (that’s how much energy the body uses).
You could burn up to 184 calories watching The Shining!
On a psychological level,
there is an appeal to vicariously experience, the forbidden, the bizarre, or the dark.
Creepy stories allow us to release the pent-up frustrations and angers which society says we must bottle up.
It is thought that the effect of being able to “survive” a scary film could actually have a positive impact of mental health,
and experiencing fear in that controlled environment may actually equip you to deal with frightening and stressful situations in the future.
If you’re always fighting a cold around Hallowe’en,
then there’s even more good news as some surprising research
has shown that horror movies may actually boost your immune system.
The “fight or flight” response to danger kick starts white blood cell production in anticipation of healing wounds and fighting infection.
HAVE YOU EVER ASKED YOURSELF WHY SCREAMS ARE SCARY?
Scientists believe it's because there’s nothing else like it in all of human communication.
The frequency of a scream varied wildly compared to normal speech,
fluctuating between 30 to 150 hertz, giving it a quality that scentists call its “roughness”. Turns out, the rougher the sound, the scarier it is.
This is the same reason why sirens and alarms modulate up and down, it makes them unsettling and difficult to ignore.
It has to do with the warning calls of primates,
signalling when danger is near, which are basically the alarms of the animal kingdom.
THE SCIENCE OF SCARY MUSIC IN SCARY MOVIES
Composing the perfect scary music is a science as well as an art and has a surprising amount to do with the yellow-bellied marmot.
Daniel Blumstein, an expert on animal distress calls, found that baby yellow-bellied marmots would scream when they were being caught.
He found that people found music with more non-linear chaotic characteristics more frightening.
He also found that the music was more likely to be disturbing if it went up in pitch as opposed to down,
something that he was able to link to his expertise in animal calls,
as the baby marmot’s scream gets higher the more frightened it is.
Basically, the reason why the soundtrack to PSYCHO is a work of genius is
because it awakens the Mama Marmot in us all.
CAN YOU BE SCARED TO DEATH?
Because fear basically elicits your fight, flight or freeze response, you get a huge dump of adrenaline in your system.
This slows digestion, dilates the pupils, increases blood flow to the muscles, quickens breathing
and it is what causes your heart to go like a race horse.
Unfortunately, if the old ticker isn’t in top shape
then this stress can actually cause damage to the heart and even cardiac arrest.
SO WHY DO WE LIKE TO BE SCARED?
It's all about being able to separate fiction from reality in the "fear from a distance" that is a horror movie.
The brain is a complex organ but the body is relatively simple.
Exciting and stressful situations release the same chemicals, namely adrenaline, dopamine and endorphins,
it is the context in which these are released that dictates whether or not we enjoy them.
SO DO YOU ENJOY SCARY MOVIES?