Zombie film fans were better prepared for coronavirus because they had “mentally rehearsed” for the pandemic, a university study has revealed.
Researchers found that those who watched apocalyptic films such as 28 Days Later and Dawn of the Dead may have been better equipped to handle the outbreak and associated lockdowns as opposed to others who do not enjoy frightening entertainment.
Emeritus professor of psychology John Johnson from Pennsylvania State University alongside colleagues in Denmark surveyed 310 people online on their reported level of preparedness for the pandemic.
Participants were then asked about the past and present experience with and interest in films that were explicitly about pandemics.
The group’s findings were published in the academic journal Personality and Individual Differences.
Prof Johnson said: “My latest research collaboration was unique in that my colleagues wanted to identify factors beyond personality that contributed to people’s psychological preparedness and resilience in the face of the pandemic.
"After factoring out personality influences, which were actually quite strong, we found that the more movies about zombies, alien invasions and apocalyptic pandemics people had seen prior to Covid-19, the better they dealt with the actual, current pandemic.
"These kinds of movies apparently serve as mental rehearsal for actual events.”
The popularity of apocalyptic blockbusters on streaming services has surged since the start of the pandemic.
A survey by NowTV of 2,000 viewers found that demand for world-ending epics such as After Earth and Armageddon had risen by as much as 450 per cent in 2020 in comparison to the preceding year.
Behavioral psychologist Jo Hemmings said: “By watching apocalyptic movies and TV shows viewers are able to anticipate the worst-case scenarios in their heads, a coping mechanism which helps them deal with the fear factor relating to Covid-19.”
Several directors have even gone so far as to produce their own feature length films about the coronavirus outbreak including the critically panned Corona Zombies and the more serious minded Canadian thriller Corona.