Why You Should Never Watch Horror Movies

Why you should never watch horror movies

Why You Should Never Watch Horror Movies

Many people love a good scare. Watching horror movies can be a great way to get the adrenaline rushing from time to time. There have even been reports that suggest they can actually help people with PTSD cope with some of their trauma.

But horror movies aren’t just harmless entertainment, and watching them could have serious consequences, some you might not have considered.

Scary movies can cause psychological distress, depression, sleep disturbances, and even nightmares.

The New York Times article titled They Wait For Hours to Be Shocked, published in 1974, details the supposed traumas movie-theater goers experienced after seeing The Exorcist. There were claims of fainting, vomiting, and heart attacks!

In this article, we’ll discuss 8 of the sometimes unforeseen negative effects of watching horror movies.

1) You might become afraid of the dark

It’s natural for children to be afraid of the dark. However, even adults who have been watching horror movies before bed can have trouble getting to sleep in total darkness, because you’ll have been conditioned to fear it.

You know it’s irrational: your adult brain is telling you it’s silly to be scared of the dark, but because 99% of the bad stuff in horror movies happens in the dark, you start to associate the two.

2) You’ll be unable to sleep

If you happen to watch a horror movie that disturbs you, it can be difficult for you to get back into a normal sleeping pattern.

Studies have shown that when somebody watches something really intense or scary before bedtime, they’re left feeling on edge and unable to settle down. The chilling images stay with them, making it difficult to get back on track with their regular slumber routine.

3) Some scenes can haunt you for the rest of your life

There are scenes in horror movies that are guaranteed to stay with you for the rest of your life.

Some people have psychological triggers; and unfortunately, there’s really no way to know what an individual might find disturbing before they watch it.

Horror movies can be very unsettling—even if you’re strong-willed and consider yourself mature enough to separate fact from fiction.

A disturbing scene might trigger something inside you that never goes away; and the image remains forever imprinted in your mind.

4) You’ll have nightmares

Scary content or thinking about those images, sounds and scenes at night may lead to bad dreams. Watching horror movies is one of the leading causes of nightmares, in both children and adults.

This is where things get really troubling. The images you see on screen, for the most part, aren’t things your mind can conjure up on their own in a nightmare.

But now that they’ve entered your subconscious, it’s very easy for your mind to recreate them while you sleep, bringing those horrific scenes into your dreams, and making them more real than ever before.

Through nightmares, you could start experiencing/reliving some of the material you saw in the movie, which is something no one ever wants.

5) They’ll warp your perspective of the world

After consuming countless horror movies over the course of your lifetime, the world may start to look like a much scarier place.

Think of movies like Hostel, where some very unpleasant things happen to a group of young backpackers visiting Slovakia. For some people, after watching that film, it made going to certain countries and cities, and interacting with certain people a frightening prospect.

It’s this way of thinking – the searching for evil around every corner – that will color the way you look at the world. You might never be able to shake those feelings and return to normal life.

6) They can lead to depression and anxiety

You know the drill: pleasant images bring pleasant thoughts. So what happens when you watch scary movies where only the most terrifying things happen? I’ll give you a hint: you won’t be thinking of butterflies and flowers, that’s for sure!

Having the images of someone being attacked replay in your mind isn’t something that will put a smile on your face.

It’s only natural to become moody, anxious and slightly withdrawn after watching something gruesome (if you didn’t, you’d probably be a sociopath!).

This, in turn, will affect your daily life, at least temporarily, while you get over what you saw.

7) They can influence you to harm others

The debate over the potentially harmful influence horror movies have on impressionable people is a long one.

There have been cases where people, sometimes children, have done unspeakable acts after having been inspired by something they watched in a movie. This article, by Thought Catalog, details 5 acts of violence that were said to have been inspired by the horror movie Child’s Play.

Humans in general are easily influenced by the media they consume. We use lines and things we’ve taken from movies all the time in our everyday lives, so it’s not completely unrealistic to expect a handful of people to reenact a scene or two from their favorite horror movie.

8) You can become desensitized to violence

A common occurrence after seeing a lot of violence is to become desensitized to it over time. This is because, despite the images you see not being real, your brain doesn’t make that distinction: those victims, as far as it’s concerned, are real.

So naturally, after a while, you come to care less and less about human suffering.

How to safely watch horror movies

If you’re still tempted to watch a horror movie, there are a few safeguards you can put in place to minimize the potential negative effects:

  • watch horror movies during the day – this tends to make them less potent

  • stay away from psychological horrors – this means that you avoid any movies that don’t require a suspension of disbelief, i.e. movies with scenes that could happen in reality

  • never watch them alone – having company will reduce your fear