Research Shows That Watching Scary Movies Burns Calories

Photo: Rotten Tomatoes

Good news for those of you who decided to skip the costume parties tonight and made plans to watch that thriller you’ve been dying to see instead: According to a study from the University of Westminster, watching scary movies can help you burn calories. In 2012, researchers from the university monitored the heart rates of 10 participants while watching classic horror films, and found that those who watched 90 minutes of a scary screening burned upwards of 113 calories. That’s more than your favorite fun-size candy bar!

The researchers credit the burn to “jump-scare” moments. The short bursts of adrenaline released from fear increased participants’ heart rates and ultimately burned higher levels of calories. Adrenaline has also been shown to increase the basal metabolic rate, boost energy, improve focus, and heighten senses—all of which you want while watching the terrifying new take on Pennywise, right?

If you need a hair-raising recommendation, consider one of the 10 films used in the study. Those that burned the most calories included The Shining (184 calories), Jaws (161 calories), and The Exorcist (158 calories). The scarier the movie, the better your couch workout.