Counting calories? Try scaring yourself slim

The idea that you can lose weight while sitting on your comfy sofa might seem pie in the sky, but according to new research it could be possible.

Scary movies burn calories

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Scientists from the University of Westminster claim watching a film could burn as many calories as a 30-minute walk... as long as it's a scary movie.

Researchers monitored the heart rate, oxygen intake and carbon dioxide output of ten volunteers as they watched a selection of classic horror flicks, in order to determine how much energy each was using.

The study, commissioned by LOVEFiLM, found that the participants used up to a third more calories when watching a fright night film than whilst watching a blank screen.

In fact, on average, the movie fans burned 113 calories during a 90-minute horror movie, equivalent to a 30-minute walk.

Those films that made the viewer jump, causing the heart rate to rise, worked best, with 1980 Kubrick flick The Shining proving the best calorie burner, the average viewer burning off 184 calories during the Jack Nicholson thriller.

Spielberg's Jaws could see you burn 161 calories while The Exorcist finished in third place, causing viewers to burn 158 calories.

Also featured in the top ten were horror classics Alien, A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, while more recent scary movies such as Saw, The Blair Witch Project and [Rec] also made the list.

Dr Richard Mackenzie, metabolism specialist at the University of Westminster, told the Daily Mail: "It is the release of fast-acting adrenaline, produced during short bursts of intense stress, or in this case, fear, which is known to lower the appetite, increase the basal metabolic rate and ultimately burn a higher level of calories."

So if you're planning a horror film fest this Halloween, get rid of the cushions and keep your eyes on the screen - at least that way you can rest easy in the knowledge that you'll be off-setting some of those movie night snacks.

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What's your ultimate horror movie? Leave your comments below...