Halloween means one of two things, either the night is spent asking strangers for "candy" or you'll be locking the door, dimming the lights and dragging up a blood-drenched, B-grade horror film from deepest, darkest corners of Netflix.
Thumping hearts, sweaty palms and tensed muscles - remind me what's fun about this? Our brains should be wired to avoid getting ourselves into such a state, so why exactly do people scare themselves shitless for a laugh, and what does it say about their personality?
According to researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, it could be a signal of above average intelligence. As if we needed another excuse for the amount of shit we watch on Netflix.
They found the main thing attracting people to trash-tastic films, especially low-budget horror movies, was their transgressive nature and subversion of the standards of mainstream film.
"At first glance, it seems paradoxical that someone should deliberately watch badly made, embarrassing and sometimes even disturbing films, and take pleasure in them," said Keyvan Sarkhosh who co-authored the study.
But he continues: “To such viewers, trash [appears] as an interesting and welcome deviation from the mainstream fare,” said Keyvan Sarkhosh who co-authored the study.
They found film-experts were more likely to watch trashy horror films, finding enjoyment in analysing production values, dialogue and plot structure.
“We are dealing here with an audience with above-average education, which one could describe as ‘cultural omnivores’," Said Sarkhosh, "Such viewers are interested in a broad spectrum of art and media across the traditional boundaries of high and popular culture.”
Similarly, photographer Susan Sontag argued intelligent people are drawn to low-budget horror movies as an ironic viewing stance: “[It] asserts that good taste is not simply good taste and that there exists, indeed, a good taste of bad taste.”
The most ironically watched film in the study was Sharknado, which Sarkosh believes is because of "all the flying sharks and blood and guts."
So if you're one of those "cultural omnivores" who enjoys watching trashy horror films, keep up the good work, Smarty-Pants.