- Cult horror classics like The Shining release powerful chemicals, study says
Although they can make your heart race, the jumps and shudders caused by horror movies could be good for your health, experts have said.
Tense scenes in cult horror classics like The Shining and The Exorcist release powerful brain chemicals known to reduce stress, according to a study.
Dr Kristen Knowles, a neuropsychologist at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, said horror movies help produce endorphins and dopamine, chemicals linked to happiness and stress relief.
She told The Herald: ‘Researchers have found that watching horror films can improve pain tolerance due to the production of endorphins.
Tense scenes in cult horror classics like The Shining (pictured) and The Exorcist release powerful brain chemicals known to reduce stress, according to a study.
Horror movies offer a safe way for people to explore fear because in movies “the objects of fear are more simplistic than in real life.” In the photo, a scene from The Exorcist.
‘The body’s response to fear or suspense is to increase the production of stress hormones, such as adrenaline, which mobilize the body’s energy resources.
‘This is combined with an increased heart rate and focused attention.
“All of this can be quite exhilarating when the tension is released at the end of the film.
“Doing this safely can make you feel good simply because it’s exciting; consider skydiving as a similar activity that is terrifying but also euphoric.”
The body uses endorphins to make us feel pleasure and reward.
They are produced by the brain when eating and exercising, but also when the body feels pain or stress, such as during a horror movie about jumping.
Dr. Knowles added that horror movies offer a safe way for people to explore fear because in movies “the objects of fear are more simplistic than in real life.”
He added: “Through this safe interaction, we can learn to cope with negative emotions and develop resilience to fear and stress.”
His thoughts are supported by a 2012 study from the University of Westminster that showed that watching a 90-minute horror movie and enjoying a short walk burned the same number of calories.