Can Watching Horror/Sci-Fi Movies Prepare You for Real-Life Events?

Have you ever wondered why horror, sci-fi and apocalyptic movies are so popular? As long as the movie is realistic and well done, it promotes a “what if” response in most people. You may not even realize you’re having a “what if” response, but your subconscious mind is most likely thinking about what you would do if you were in a similar situation. So although it seems like you’re watching scary, apocalyptic movies solely for entertainment purposes, could your viewing habits also prepare you for real-life events?

Why People Like Scary Movies

Not everyone likes scary movies. In fact, some adults would rather sit in front of a kid’s show for hours at a time than watch 10 minutes of a scary movie. But for others, horror and sci-fi movies have a mysterious appeal that draws them in time after time. There are different reasons why people like scary movies, but many people like the excitement and adrenaline rush associated with horror and sci-fi movies.

But the interesting thing is that research shows most people want movies to end on a positive note, even if they are scary and gory throughout. Most people don’t want to watch a horror movie that ends in gore and despair.

What Scary Movies Can Teach Us About the Future

According to new research, post-apocalyptic sci-fi movies may help fans develop a mental and practical advantage in real-life situations. The interesting thing about sci-fi movies is that they often draw on reality to some degree. In fact, some of the components of older sci-fi movies have actually become reality (take Metropolis, for example, which is a 1927 silent film that depicted the invention of human-like robots).

The truth is, what could once only be imagined in terms of technology has now become reality. Similarly, shows featuring futuristic apocalyptic themes may become more fact than fiction in the years ahead.

How Scary Movies Can Help Hone Our Disaster Response

Research shows that people who regularly watch horror or sci-fi films tend to learn vicariously through the characters on the screen. That’s why you often find yourself critiquing the seemingly stupid actions of characters in distress and imagining what you would do if you were in their situation. This vicarious learning can help prepare you for similar situations that could potentially occur in your own life.

For example, people who regularly watched “prepper” or post-apocalyptic movies were likely more prepared for the coronavirus pandemic than those who didn’t watch such movies. You’re more likely to know what foods to buy and stock up on if you first watch characters on the screen navigate their survival food needs. Though our world likely won’t be invaded by zombies or aliens, watching shows that depict people dealing with these types of crises can hone our reactions to real-world situations such as riots and social upheaval.

One interesting tidbit revealed by research is that fans of horror films show greater resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic than people who didn’t watch horror films. The same study also revealed that fans of sci-fi or “prepper” genres were both more resilient to the pandemic and more prepared to deal with it than those who didn’t indulge in such movie genres. So it seems that watching such movies can actually help us cope with real-life situations better.

Sci-fi movies help reveal how people tend to act in the face of social unrest and a rapidly spreading pandemic. Some psychologists think that watching these types of movies can be very valuable for average people who have never been through such scenarios before.

So the next time you’re told that your horror or sci-fi watching habits are a waste of time, you’ll know the truth. They’re actually preparing you for any real-world disaster that may arise.

Do you have a favorite horror or sci-fi movie? Let us know in the comments section below!