The two fears that seem to cross all boundaries, regardless of race, gender, beliefs and anything else you can come up with is getting fat and growing old.

Currently caught up in the throes of both, I can attest that neither is easy. Getting old is something you can’t avoid, though you can speed up the process by drinking, smoking, eating a horrible diet and various other things.

We all know somebody who looked old way before their time. I’ve heard it said that one of the secrets of looking good at 60 is looking like you’re 60 when you’re 40. You don’t go downhill any and when you hit 60 people say you look as good as you did when you were 40.

Then there are the lucky few, those who look 40 at 40 and, somehow, look 40 when they’re 60. We declare we don’t know how they do it, but if you look closely, you’ll see fingers never stained by nicotine, lips that never had alcohol pass between them and an aversion to anything that might cause high stress.

And, apparently, they also never watch horror movies. According to a new study (there’s always a study) by something called FOREO you will contort your face in fear 11 times watching a horror movie, while thrillers will see viewers pull a shocked, tense or surprised face nine times.

The study said “when we express a shocked look we activate the evaluator muscles of the forehead, known as the frontalis. By repeating this expression and strengthening this muscle, we develop horizontal lines across the forehead. Squinting is another common expression used as a coping mechanism during violent or distressing scenes, and requires the activation of a number of muscles, including both the eyes and depressor muscles.

“This double whammy of muscle over-activation might result in frown lines and crow’s feet around the eyes, which when repeated over a five-year period could again result in 50% worse lines developing around the eye area.”

So, if I’m doing the math right, and I almost undoubtedly am not, if you watch a lot of horror movies between the ages of 35-40, you’ll actually look 42 ½ around the eyes. And if you keep doing this, by the time you’re 55, you’ll look 105. That last one was just a guess.

How did they come to this conclusion, you ask? Well, they took 2,000 Brits and had them watch “Insidious,” “Bridget Jones’ Diary” and “BirdBox.” “Insidious” is a straight up horror movie while “Bridget Jones Diary” is a comedy and “Bird Box” is a science fiction film with some horror elements and a lot of action. Have to have control tests, you know.

Watching “Insidious” over a five-year period resulted in 50% more lines on the forehead for some viewers.

When reviewing the facial expressions of people watching “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” participants laughed or smiled an average of 115 times throughout the film.

And Netflix film “BirdBox” saw on-edge viewers frowning up to 50 times during the tense 124 minute-long movie.

And as we all know, frowning uses a lot more muscles than smiling and laughing, so why don’t you smile more often? You’d be so much prettier.

What are the movies that will most damage your face and make you look much older than you actually are? They named 20 of them, which seems excessive, but here you are: 1. The Shining, 2. Alien, 3. The Exorcist, 4. The Sixth Sense, 5. Jaws, 6. Saw, 7. Psycho, 8. The Wicker Man, 9. 28 Days Later, 10. The Conjuring, 11. A Nightmare on Elm Street, 12. It, 13. Rosemary’s Baby, 14. The Omen, 15. A Quiet Place, 16. An American Werewolf in London, 17. Halloween, 18. Poltergeist, 19. Insidious, and 20. Carrie.

I will not lie. I’m stunned by the fact I’ve seen 17 of those 20 movies. I mean, I look so much younger than my actual age you’d think I’d never seen a horror movie in my life. I’m sure you agree. Also, I take horrible pictures, so that mugshot you see somewhere on this page isn’t a very good likeness.

We’ve discussed before how horror movies can help you burn off as many calories as a 30 minute walk (surely you remember), so this appears to be a danged if you do, danged if you don’t situation. Scary movies will melt the fat, but leave you looking 75 at 38.

Of course, if you’re really fat, losing a bunch of weight can reveal your true age (fat don’t crack, as the old saying goes), so maybe it’s just better to leave things as they are. That’s the story I’m going with. Nothing scary about it.

P.S.: Speaking of movies, I’m still reviewing them (and books and TV shows) at www.advocateanddemocrat.com. Just search for my name and scroll until you find them. Hint, hint.

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