Halloween is just around the corner, so it seems like a time to take a break from real world horrors and look at the ones that pop up on movie screens and our televisions.
To help with this, we look at a study (of course) that shows what movies made a person’s heart rate spike, sometimes to startling levels.
The study was done for something called Consumer Comparison and took 50 people of all ages and hooked them up to heart monitors while they watched 120 hours (!) of horror movies.
How were the movies they watched picked? Through a combination of critics lists and voting on Reddit, an internet thing that confuses most people over 40.
What 10 movies were ranked the best (worst?) at getting your heart rate up?
2. The Conjuring
4. Paranormal Activity
5. It Follows
6. The Conjuring 2
7. The Babadook
9. The Descent
10. The Visit
Now, if you’re over a certain age, you might be saying, “What about …?” “Where’s …?” “Have they not seen …?”
You see, all of these movies are 21st century movies. There was nothing picked from pre-2000. I’ve seen two of these movies, never heard of “The Visit,” and know about the rest of them.
“Sinister” caused a high heart rate of 131 beats per minute (bpm) and an average of 86 bpm throughout its run time. “Insidious” caused a higher spike of 133 bpm, but had a lower average heart rate.
If you want to hear a real horror story, the study said an adult has an average resting heart rate of 65 bpm. According to my FitBit, my heart rate never goes below 90 bpm. I may be close to using up my allotment of heart beats.
I can’t comment on whether eight of these movies are that scary, but I have seen “It Follows” and “The Descent.” I barely remember the first, but the latter movie was indeed scary, but I’m not sure I’d put it in a top 10.
What would an old guy who remembers there was life before 2000 put in a top 10? I don’t know if I can get to 10, but there’s a few I’d put in.
1. The Shining. A very divisive movie among Stephen King fans, even the author doesn’t like it, but to a 13 year old boy in 1980, the sense of dread permeating the film probably had my heart at 200 bpm.
2. The Night of the Living Dead. The original zombie movie that spawned literally thousands of imitators. At more than 50 years old, it still holds up and may have been the first movie where spoiler alertall the characters die.
3. 28 Days Later. In the worst nightmare, this is what a pandemic does to the human population. Mislabeled as a zombie movie, it’s about a virus that turns people into violent creatures who kill until they starve to death. The empty London streets are an astounding thing to see.
4. The Exorcist. Probably seems a little dated now, but it also spawned a legion of imitators and might have been the first mainstream movie to not care about putting a child through the cinematic ringer.
5. Dawn of the Dead (2004). A remake of the 1978 sequel to “Night of the Living Dead,” this was the dawn of the fast zombie. Before you could think you’d run away and soon the zombie would forget that you existed. Here, running toward you at what seemed like 90 mph, what could you do?
6. The Devil’s Rejects. A bizarre horror movie from Rob Zombie that ends with the strangest and most stomach churning use ever of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Freebird.”
7. Halloween. The original. Yes, I know it’s a very 1970s movies, but doesn’t feel dated. There were a ton of sequels and a recent reboot, but the un-killable monster will get anybody’s heart rate going.
8. Event Horizon. A pretty much forgotten ghost movie from the late 1990s set in outer space that uses memories to give you the willies.
9. Alien. After watching this movie, whenever you got heartburn or felt stomach pain, you started making out your last will and testament.
I’ll leave it at 9, cause what could be scarier than a top 10 list with only 9 entries?
Enjoy Halloween, if you can.