Fall is upon us, and Halloween is steadily clawing its way closer. It's also that time of year when our favorite horror movies start showing up on cable and streaming services everywhere. To help kick-start the terror, we exhumed and examined 20 of the most popular and highest rated scare flicks according to IMDB's top list.


Every so often, a scary movie executes the genre so well that it becomes an instant part of horror fans' fall rotations. The sci-fi horror flick "Alien" (1979) and the thriller/mystery horror movie "Psycho" (1960) are almost unanimously the most searched for scare flicks in the country. These movies masterfully utilized ambience, tension, and shocking visuals to bring us to the edge of our seats and out of our comfort zone. Both movies are timeless and legendary, but what other films stir our desire to be frightened?

Horror movies are meant to expose our deepest fears and explore the taboo in uncomfortable and powerful ways. The third most popular horror movie, "The Exorcist" (1973), delivers a cornucopia of terror. Its powerful religious imagery makes it a solid favorite of scare-seeking individuals along the Bible Belt and much of the eastern United States. A close runner-up: "The Shining" (1980), like "The Exorcist," is a film designed to bestow a deeply unsettling feeling among the viewers. Although it was originally bashed by critics, the movie has since become a cult classic and is revered by many for its deep levels of psychological terror.


We took the top cities for each movie and highlighted them on the map. Search trends around the country reveal that some cities seek certain horror movies more than others. Interestingly, a few of the results closely match the locations depicted in the films themselves. "The Shining" for example, takes place in the fictional Overlook Hotel in the Colorado Rockies and is coincidently most frequently searched for in the Denver area. "Dawn of the Dead" (1978), a story about what happens when the dead rise and walk the Earth, is set in Philadelphia.

Other cities may not have a direct connection to the films they love, but their horror movie culture runs deep nevertheless. Many of the top cities hold annual film festivals based on the horror genre.


The boogie man doesn't just bring chills to the big screen. He scrapes up lots of movie studio money as well. The most popular films have grossed hundreds of millions of dollars combined. "The Exorcist" has managed to rack up more domestic revenue than any other scary movie on our list. This is a testament to its universal appeal as a horror flick, besting more recent hits such as "The Blair Witch Project" (1999) and "The Conjuring" (2013), both of which have the benefit of substantially higher ticket prices in the current economy. The race really isn't all that close, with inflation-adjusted earnings for "The Exorcist" reaching nearly $1 billion.


If all of this horror movie talk has you hankering for a good scare, fear not. All but one on our top scary movie list are available to stream right now! If you're curious which streaming service is dishing up the most terror this Halloween, look no further than Amazon or iTunes, where you can find 19 of the 20 all-time greats. Indulging your inner scaredy-cat won't necessarily be free, however; many movies are available for rental or purchase-only.

Halloween is the perfect time to gather with a group of friends and watch a few of these all-time horror movie classics. Create the perfect atmosphere this year with party accessories, decor, and, of course, a killer Halloween costume from Halloween Express. Online or in-store, it's the place where Halloween comes to shop!

Methodology

For our map visualizations we selected 20 popular movies from IMDb's Highest Rated Horror Feature Films With At Least 1,000 Votes and used google.com/trends to analyze their search trends by city and state.

Box office sales data was gathered from http://www.boxofficemojo.com/ and streaming availability was gathered from several sources, listed completly in the "Souces" section of this article.

Sources

  • http://www.imdb.com/search/title?genres=horror&title_type=feature&num_votes=1000,&sort=user_rating,des
  • http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0063522/business
  • http://Amazon.com
  • http://Netflix.com
  • http://www.canistream.it/
  • http://www.boxofficemojo.com/
  • http://google.com/trends
  • http://itunes.com
  • https://play.google.com/store?hl=en

Fair Use

Feel free to share the images found on this page freely. When doing so, please attribute the authors by providing a link back to this page, so your readers can learn more about this project and the related research.

more halloween fun

We hope you enjoyed this HALLOWEEN HORROR FLICKS graphic as much as we enjoyed putting it all together. Speaking of putting things together ... when it comes to putting your costume together this Halloween — horror costume or otherwise — we hope you'll consider Halloween Express. If you're looking for the latest trends in Halloween costumes, you won't find a larger selection with more options than right here. We take costumes very seriously, (in our own wacky sort of way) so that when it comes time to getting your dress up game on, we make your job easy. When it comes to getting into a truly amazing costume look, Halloween Express has something for everyone. For example, decorating your yard and home has become quite popular at Halloween so we've assembled an awesome selection of Halloween decorations and props. You'll find everything from animated props to indoor/outdoor decorations to the latest in digital decorations. Of course Halloween wouldn't be as fun without the kids! That's why we feature a super selection of kids and children's costumes in unusual and hard to find styles and sizes. Boys costumes, girls costumes, infant and baby costumes as well as the most popular teen costumes anywhere. They're all here. Last, but certainly not least we can't forget about mom! Whether it's a sweet women's costume or perhaps a more provocative sexy costume, we have something for every taste and every body style. From petite and small sizes to a super selection of plus size costumes including 2x, 3x and 4X, our costume selection is the largest anywhere.