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Horror Films- Why do we love them?

Photo retrieved from https://www.theodysseyonline.com/pros-cons-watching-scary-movie

Why do people love horror movies? What is the joy in being scared? 2017 has been a great year for the horror genre, with movies such as: It, Get Out, Jigsaw, and Happy Death Day. But why did people get so excited when these trailers came out?

Horror movies can cause a lot of symptoms such as sleeplessness, anxiety, and fear. This is because when a jump scare flashes on the big screen, our brains release two neurotransmitters, increasing the production of cortisol and adrenaline. These psychological changes cause the heart to race, the body to sweat, and the muscles to contract, according to Psychology Spot. The scares that we subject ourselves to cause our brains to tap into its primitive side. We shout to “warn those around us” that there is danger. Jump scares are a brief period in time where our brains assume that everything that it is seeing is real.

Even with all of the negative effects, people can enjoy horror movies. This is because things like horror movies and haunted houses are controlled fears. Once we realize that we are safe, the chemicals that are released in the brain are similar to those that would be released “when we’re happy, laughing, excited, or surprised. Those chemical signatures look similar to when we’re scared; it’s just a different context,” says a source from healthline.com. Therefore, we can enjoy what we’re watching because we know that it’s just a movie. And this chemical release can sometimes cause people to smile or laugh at themselves for being scared.

Horror movies are really good for your mental health: in the moment and afterwards. Doing things that scare you also make you a happier person. And that can be good for you and people around you. This year has brought about some really good horror movies, and you should check them out. If you’re too scared to, just remember it’s just a movie and that you’re in no real danger. Bring a friend that you feel comfortable with, and remember to laugh at yourself every now and then. You might have more fun than you’d think.


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Student Publication of Oswego High School, Oswego, IL