Bloodcurdling movies is a really vivid metaphor based on the physical phenomenon that triggers the release of blood clotting agents. There’s many of us bloodcurdling movies fans out there. Snuggling a pillow in expectation of the most horrendous scenes, we’re still captivated, startled and fascinated with gruesome details.
And we refer to this experience as bloodcurdling. Researchers with the Leiden University Medical Center, Netherlands tried to become more intimate with the physical process pinpointing our bloodcurdling experience.
And they succeeded in pinpointing the exact cause. The study is published in the rather unusual Christmas edition of the British Medical Journal if you all care to take a look. So how did they do it? With the help of 24 volunteers, aged just under 30.
A pleasant study this must have been. Ten volunteers were invited to watch a horror movie. One week later after they watched 2010’s infamous Insidious movie, they group joined for another movie watching session. This time it was the light-hearted documentary, A Year in Champagne.
The other fourteen volunteers enjoyed the same viewing list, just in reverse order. All volunteers gave blood samples prior and post each movie viewing. Then, it became clear: bloodcurdling movies is a really vivid metaphor for what happens to our blood when horror movies are on the menu.
The Leiden University research team looked for any indication of blood coagulation markers. As it turns out, 57 percent of the volunteers had higher levels of blood clotting agents as they watched the horror movie. When it came to the documentary, 14 percent of the volunteers were found to have the same.
Frits Rosendaal, the lead author of the study and his colleagues concluded in the jolly spirit of the festive celebrations ahead of us:
“Although the coagulation cascade was influenced by acute fear, this did not lead to the formation of thrombin”.
The only blood clotting agent that was more active as the horror movie was watched is known as factor VIII. As the documentary was screened, no high levels were registered among the volunteers. Fear is powerful. So powerful that it can really make for a bloodcurdling experience….literally. Fear was the trigger of the blood clotting agents being more active.
While the study was intended to be a light-hearted Christmas-themed one, the research team holds that it may hold some key to evolutionary processes. Not related to bloodcurdling movies, fear may trigger the activation of blood clotting agents when we’re in life-threatening situations. An evil clown chasing us on dark alleys, an Evil Santa Claus attacking us with a candy cane, etc. Just joking, but you catch the drift.
Photo Credits: Flickr