Whether you’re a fan or a hater, there are certain things
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- Olivia Grande
- April 13, 2023
about horror movies that make them so popular. Experts share some of their fascinating theories about why people love this genre. They offer fear and excitement to viewers. These feelings can even help people forget real life terrors for a while, according to a study.
1. They’re scary
People enjoy watching horror movies because they stimulate the body’s fight-or-flight response. This involuntary reaction causes the body to release adrenaline and other chemicals that help increase heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration. The body’s fight-or-flight system is responsible for alerting the brain to threats and storing fear memories, says Glenn Sparks, Ph.D., a psychology professor at Purdue University.
2. They’re entertaining
Horror movies are a popular form of entertainment. It’s no wonder, considering they’re packed with jump scares and a whole host of other frightening elements. While some people deeply enjoy the adrenaline rush associated with fear, others find horror films and television shows upsetting. This could be due to their sensitivity to anxiety, as they may correlate the images on screen to real-life situations.
3. They’re a form of exposure therapy
The fear-inducing hormones dopamine and adrenaline are released when you watch a scary movie. This is part of the body’s stress response system, and it’s a necessary mechanism for dealing with threats. Repeated exposure to frightful situations can desensitize you, making it easier for your brain to handle them in the future. This is called exposure therapy.
4. They’re a way to bond with friends
For many people, horror movies are a great way to bond with friends and family. They allow you to face your fears together and enjoy some of the best films in the world. Therapist Alicia Clark says that people who suffer from anxiety have found it helpful to watch scary movies as a form of exposure therapy. This allows them to experience their symptoms in a safe environment and control their fears.
5. They’re a way to relieve stress
For people who struggle with anxiety, watching scary movies can be a great way to relieve their stress. Experts believe that it helps them learn how to cope with their worries in a controlled manner. Frightening scenes put the brain in a fight-or-flight response, which releases stress hormones such as adrenaline and serotonin. It also increases dopamine levels, which can improve mood.
6. They’re a way to escape reality
If you’re feeling anxious or stressed about something, a horror movie can help you to escape it. Whether you’re watching them with your friends or alone, they can trigger your body’s fight-or-flight response, which makes you feel better. They also give you a sense of control over what’s happening on screen. That makes it a great way to relieve stress, says Scrivner.
7. They’re a way to detach from reality
When watching horror movies, people’s bodies experience a spike in adrenaline and dopamine. This is similar to what happens when we’re on a roller coaster or skydiving, and it gives us a sense of excitement without there being a real danger present. Watching horror films also helps people develop a thicker skin when it comes to reality and overcoming their fears. However, this coping mechanism should be used with caution if you’re suffering from anxiety.
8. They’re a way to feel good
Horror fans report feeling less anxious after watching horror movies. This may be because horror films help us develop coping skills that we can use to regulate our emotions in the real world. Psychological horror films, which rely on psychological fear rather than violence or monsters, are especially useful for people who have high anxiety. These films also have a joyful “comedown” effect, which feels great after you’ve been scarred.
9. They’re a way to feel bad
Horror movies often deal with subjects that are dark on a social level. This can include economic crises, disasters, or governments that are rotten to the core. In fact, some therapists believe that watching a horror film can help you cope with your anxiety. It can also be a great way to experience the catharsis of experiencing intense emotions while you know you’ll never be harmed in any way.
10. They’re a way to feel free
Horror movies have a long history as a staple of filmmaking. From the earliest talkies and silent classics to modern blockbusters, they’re all about scary things, evil powers, and supernatural creatures.
But there’s another reason to watch horror movies that you might not expect – they can be good for your mental health. Here are five unexpected ways they can help.