According to a new study by researchers at the University of Westminster, viewers who watch a 90-minute horror film are likely to burn up to 113 calories – roughly the equivalent of a half-hour walk. Some movies are more effective than others, however: of the 10 films studied, the top calorie-burners were the Stanley Kubrick chiller The Shining (184 calories) and The Exorcist (158 calories).
Apparently films with regular jump moments are most likely to burn calories because they increase the heart rate. “Each of the 10 films tested set pulses racing, sparking an increase in the heart rate of the case studies,” said Dr Richard Mackenzie, senior lecturer and specialist in cell metabolism and physiology at the university. The release of fast-acting adrenaline, produced during short bursts of stress or fear (which is known to lower the appetite) increases the metabolic rate and burns a higher level of calories.
Suspiciously, the research was commissioned by couch-potato movie firm LoveFilm.