Home Horror Health and Horror – Unraveling Fact from Fiction as Theory Suggests Horror Enhances Immune System

Health and Horror – Unraveling Fact from Fiction as Theory Suggests Horror Enhances Immune System

Health and Horror – Unraveling Fact from Fiction as Theory Suggests Horror Enhances Immune System

Grain of Salt Disclaimer Up Top

This is an interesting topic, which is why I chose to write about it. However please let me preface this article with a bit of common sense that hopefully is unnecessary and causes massive eye rolling from you all. This is not a medical journal. Nothing here is meant to be taken as such. Listen to your doctor. Follow the government health guidelines. Be smart and stay healthy during this very real global pandemic.


With that said, there is an interesting theory going about that those of us who indulge in all things horror are possibly better geared from tip to tail in regards to the immune system and general healthy living. So I sat down and did some research and here is what bobbed to the surface. Enjoy!

Combing for Sources

When I sat down to research this, I made a promise to myself that I would stick to mainstream sources. Anyone can publish a blog after all. And for those of us who know that one “Karen” with her essential oil pyramid scam, we also know that these blogs can masquerade as legit science if the website looks well kept. But in times like this, any information that touts medical benefits needs to be as sterile as our hands – and anything with my name attached to it sure as hell will be as clean as possible. I might be New Orleans’ King of Schlock, but I run a sanitary kingdom damnit!


Forbes Says Horror is a Psychologically Beneficial

David DiSalvo wrote an article for Forbes a while back where he went through the science behind healthy stress and why we as horror fans seek it out. He speaks on how good stress can boost our mental health in ways not uncommon to boosting the immune systems.

Even though stress poses plenty of problems in our lives, research has shown that manageable bouts of stress offer some benefits, like generating an immune response that strengthens the immune system against bigger threats. It may be that watching horror flicks is like giving ourselves small stress injections that catalyze resilience.

David DiSalvo – Forbes.com

A study was conducted on this and the findings were published on Plumbed.gov. You can read the findings yourself, but the run down seems to be that raising our stress levels in a controlled and environment has a direct impact on our cardiovascular system and can boost our white blood cells. The study was conducted on 32 males and 32 females and the findings certainly appear to be rooted in real science.

Calorie Burns Speeds Up Too

An article published by The Telegraph took a crack at a study that suggested horror movie intake sped up metabolism to the point where watching a good scary movie was burning additional calories while the viewer was sedimentary. Check out some of the numbers and what films revved up the ol’ tickers the most.

  • 184 calories: The Shining 
  • 161 calories: Jaws 
  • 158 calories: The Exorcist  
  • 152 calories Alien  
  • 133 calories: Saw 
  • 118 calories: A Nightmare on Elm Street  
  • 111 calories: Paranormal Activity  
  • 105 calories: The Blair Witch Project  

The Theme Is Controlled Stress

I imagine that most of us are here because we love to be scared. Of course, that doesn’t mean we intentionally go out and walk in traffic and dangle off of skyscrapers. That’s because we love a controlled and consensual horror scene.

The logic is similar to a masochist who enjoys being beaten or humiliated. While being flogged to the point of bleeding might be a whirlwind of sexual gratification for them, that same thrill is absent when they stub their toe on their coffee table in the middle of the night. Pain is pain – but the way it’s received and its impact on the pleasure sensors and reward center of their brain is patently different.

Horror is no different in that regard. The scares thrill us, chill and, and perhaps and improve our overall health and wellbeing – so long as they are received in a controlled manner.


In Closing

Anyone who knows me knows that I live and breathe horror. I write it, I read it, I consume it. I’d never have it any other way. And if these studies are as solid as the confidence in which they’ve been reported – that’s great! I know I turn to a good thriller when I need a boost, and if it works, it works.

If we weren’t stuck in the middle of a global pandemic I’d probably have had more fun with this article. Because I do believe that horror is healthy. But right now the horror is all too real. We don’t need Blumhouse to tell us what to be afraid of – we can literally update our newsfeed and find lots of reasons to be apprehensive.

So have fun with your horror. Love it for what it is and if that helps you with anxiety or even boosts your immune system – well, that’s just what we call lagniappe down here in my hometown of New Orleans! A little something extra. However, stick to the safety and health guidelines that actual doctors are publishing. Practice your social distancing. Stay home. Binge horror. Let’s all survive until the credits roll!