We love going to the movies to be scared. But it turns out that there’s something even scarier than horror movies playing at the cinema, and that’s movie theater seats. Or rather, what’s in and on them. If you love going to the movies, you might not want to read any further. But if you want to know the dirty truth, keep reading at your own risk. And if you thought finding out what’s really hidden in the seats on public transportation was gross, believe it or not, this might top it.

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KLTV 7, an ABC affiliate in Jacksonville, Texas, conducted an investigation of movie theater cleanliness. They swabbed movie theater seats, armrests, and headrests from four local theaters for samples. (Seriously — if you’re chowing down on movie theater popcorn at the moment, you might want to finish eating before you continue, because their findings are pretty disgusting.)

For starters, they found that there’s a ton of bacteria hiding in and on movie theater seats. Which is definitely gross. But given how many people pass through movie theaters every day, it’s not too surprising. But what is surprising is the amount of fecal matter they found — a result of patrons not washing their hands after going to the bathroom. Gross.

“What I expected was skin organisms, the typical type of staph species things and those were almost universal in all the samples. You expect that because of people laying their hands on the seats,” Dr. Richard Wallace, a microbiologist at UT Health Science Center, told KLTV 7. “What I didn’t expect were what we call stool organisms or fecal organisms.”

But that’s not even close to the worst of it.

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When Good Morning America performed a germ test on a seat from the back row of a movie theater, the findings were enough to make us give up going to the movies altogether. In addition to a lot of bacteria, they also found e. Coli and staph, which can cause terrible infections. NOPE. Hard pass.

It’s especially important to consider these dangers given that a popular movie theater activity is eating. With your hands. That touch these dirty surfaces. You get where we’re going with this: It’s unsanitary to touch these surfaces and then touch your food. As delicious as movie popcorn is, you might want to get it to go.

But if you can’t fathom saying goodbye to movie night, what can you do to protect yourself from germs? For starters, don’t be shy about bringing hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes to clean the movie theater seats, armrests, and cupholders. (For good measure, you can wipe down the sticky floor at your feet, too.) Additionally, you might want to think twice about snacking. There’s just no telling how often the staff cleans their movie theater seats, if at all. And not even a new Star Wars movie is worth exposing yourself to such gross bacteria.

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