By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) — Witches, goblins, and ghosts, oh my! Halloween is upon us which means kids and adults alike are bracing for some frightening moments as darkness descends, but why do we love a good scare?

The new “Halloween” movie is one of the highest-grossing slasher films ever. But why do so many people literally pay to be terrorized?

Turns out we get a rush of adrenaline when faced with any fear, but unlike a real danger, like someone breaking into your house, when we see a horror flick or enter a haunted house, intellectually we know that we’re safe. We know it’s just a movie. We know that the serial killer with the bloody hatchet is just a regular guy playing make believe.

We can enjoy the adrenaline rush and the heightened arousal without a real fear of harm and then when it’s over, we get a surge of endorphins which put many of us in a good mood.

As an aside, British researchers say that watching a horror film can actually burn up to 200 calories due to the adrenaline rush. In their recent study, which movie did they find burned the most calories? “The Shining”, closely followed by “Jaws”.

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