how movies raise your heartrate

Whole books have been written on studies of emotional response to media. 
Here are a few sources and quotes of interest;


Did you know:

"When we watch an intense scene in a film our heart rate and blood pressure increase. This can and does lead to heart attacks,"


watching aggression on screen can contribute to being a bully in real life, even if it is just in the short term. A study of 250 women found that when they watched clips of violence, bullying, or even just malicious gossiping, when tested afterwards the women were more likely to place importance, subconsciously, on words describing violence or aggression."

Do you want to test it yourself? Here's the clip they used for the testing.  Use our 'Cinemmerse rate me' feature to see your result, and how it stacks up to other viewers for their testing for their favorite horror, romance, comedy, action and suspense movies.


Because many films transmit ideas through emotion rather than intellect, they can neutralize the instinct to suppress feelings and trigger emotional release," said Birgit Wolz, a psychologist focusing on movies as therapy, and author of "E-motion Picture Magic." "By eliciting emotions, watching movies can open doors that otherwise might stay closed." ... "Laughter can offer you distance from your problems and enhance your sense of well-being"



"Children under 14 who watched horror movies end up having increased chances of developing anxiety conditions later in adulthood. This is because fear experienced when watching is stored in the amygdala, a part of the brain responsible for generating emotions. These now-adults cannot conjure up the memory without inciting trauma and fear. Other potentially long-term and dangerous effects include, “paranoia, irrational fears, interest in the paranormal or demonology, things that aren’t psychologically healthy for the mind,”


Like data? Here's the results from a university study on Heart Rate and Cinematic Terror


"We found watching horror, or 'bloodcurdling', movies was associated with an increase in blood coagulant factor VIII"

Dr Banne Nemeth, Leiden University Medical Centre


Good news though; 

"As the pulse quickens and blood pumps around the body faster, the body experiences a surge in adrenaline.

"It is this release of fast acting adrenaline, produced during short bursts of intense stress (or in this case, brought on by fear), which is known to lower the appetite, increase the Basal Metabolic Rate and ultimately burn a higher level of calories."

You can burn 200 calories at a time, watching scary films.


"The top 10 calorie-burning frightening films were:

1. The Shining: 184 calories

2. Jaws: 161 calories

3. The Exorcist: 158 calories

4. Alien: 152 calories

5. Saw: 133 calories

6. A Nightmare on Elm Street: 118 calories

7. Paranormal Activity: 111 calories

8. The Blair Witch Project: 105 calories

9. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: 107 calories

10. [Rec]: 101 calories"

"65% of participant’s brains reacted the same way to the Hitchcock clip, while only 18% were the same for Curb Your Enthusiasm. The researchers concluded that Hitchcock’s way of making movies allowed for “tighter control” of what the viewers experienced."

"Even if directors don’t have the money or inclination to use this technology, other findings could still effect the way films are made. For example, scientist know that audiences’ brains react strongest to the soundtrack of films. While you may have always known deep down that that creak of a door was actually more terrifying than seeing the monster, fMRI’s have proven it. "

This study claims The Shining scene is "the scariest scene in movie history"