Horror movie addiction

Wendy Courtemanche, Staff Writer

Horror films have been around for as long as anyone can remember, and they aren’t going to disappear anytime soon. These days there are movies from the time-honored films like Psycho, which are more strongly based around suspense, to movies like Saw, full of blood, guts, and gore. Again and again, there are always going to be people who make their way back to the movie theater or television to catch the latest horror-flick, or just to revisit the classics. So what’s so special about scary movies anyways? And why do humans choose to witness the disturbing and abnormal occurrences these films have to offer? While watching a scary movie, the human body will naturally react by releasing dopamine in the brain, as well as adrenaline. According to Dr. Margee Kerr in the article You Asked: Is Scaring Myself Healthy? by Markham Heid, “[The release of dopamine] happens because fear floods your brain with “a powerful chemical punch” of fight-or-flight hormones and neurotransmitters.” Kerr continues, “Those include endorphin’s and dopamine–feel-good chemicals that dull pain, excite your mood and create an incredible natural high similar to falling in love (or doing some illicit drugs).” All the instinctive responses the human body releases have a major effect on whether or not a person enjoys watching a horror film or not. Georgia Giles ‘15, is someone who enjoys watching horror movies. Giles expressed that while watching horror films “I get scared, which I like because it’s a different feeling than normal. I do get anxious about parts though, and I don’t like that. But I like them because of the adrenaline.” The adrenaline rush experienced is more than just a feeling, it’s also tapping into the instinct of survival. Adrenaline itself is a hormone released by the adrenal glands, especially in stressful situations, increasing rates of blood circulation, breathing, and preparing muscles for exertion. So while watching a suspenseful or disturbing movie, it gives the observer the experience of fear, while also avoiding real physical danger. There are always going to be people who do not enjoy the experience of a thriller. This can be for any number of reasons. For some, the feeling of suspense and the rush of adrenaline can be too overwhelming. Some viewers cannot handle what is physically being projected on the screen as well, and images can leave them paranoid and have unsettling images in their minds after recently watching. When asked what makes her want to watch a horror movie again Giles said that “they are entertaining, and more interesting than other movies because they’re about things that are different from normal life. I watch for both the scary parts and the feeling.” For the people out there who enjoy a good scare, horror movies are at the top of the list for the next movie night out, or a late night at home.