(NEXSTAR) – Looking for a scary flick that will get your heart racing and haunt your dreams? These movies are scientifically proven to do that – at least the first part.
The Science of Scare Project strapped heart-rate monitors to 250 test subjects and measured which horror films impacted their heart rate in two important ways.
The first is overall beats per minute, or BPM. Spikes in heart rate could indicate a movie has effective jump scares that get the blood pumping.
The team also measured heart rate variance (HRV), which is the time between each heart beat. They used this measurement to assess how stressed audience members might become while watching the film, making it “a good indicator of slow burn fear and dread.”
They combine the two metrics to create a “Scare Score” and determine which scary movies have the biggest impact. The highest possible score is 100.
The highest ranked movie is “Sinister,” which came out in 2012. It starts out with the horror movie trope of a family moving into a house, and then bad stuff starts to happen. Without giving any spoilers, Roger Ebert wrote in his review, “Yes, the ending is horrifying.”
Most of the movies on the list came out in the past decade, with many from just the past few years. “Talk to Me,” which ranked 10th scariest, just came out in U.S. theaters this year. It follows a group of teenagers who find an embalmed hand that allows them to communicate with the dead, and they use it as a party trick.
|Ranking||Movie||Avg movie heart rate (BPM)||Highest spike (BPM)||HRV drop (%)||Scare Score|
|8||The Excorcism of Emily Rose||82||96||17||76|
|9||Hell House LLC||81||107||16||75|
|10||Talk To Me||79||106||15||75|
Just how scary are these movies. As a point of comparison, “Shrek” has a Scare Score of 3, the Science of Scare Project said.
See the ranking of all 50 movies by the Science of Scare Project here.