Head of Omnibus, US

Nothing gets us in the mood for a big scare like Halloween, the scariest of holidays. But with all the horror flicks available today, one must navigate through a sea of movies to find a truly scary one. YouGov Omnibus survey asked Americans their opinions on classic horror flicks and the results are in.

The most watched horror movie in America* is the 1975 Spielberg classic “Jaws”. The movie has been seen by 66% of Americans who watch movies. “The Silence of the Lambs” comes second with 61% and “The Exorcist” third with 57%. Although “Jaws” and “The Silence of the Lambs” both maintain pole positions in every age category, the same cannot be said of “The Exorcist”. Millennials are more likely to have seen the more recent “Saw” (46%) compared to “The Exorcist” (38%), and adults between ages 35 to 54 are more likely to have seen the 80’s flick “Poltergeist” (69%) (versus 63% for “The Exorcist”).  The Hitchcock movie “Birds” was most popular with Boomers (78%). 

Released in 1971 the Exorcist might not be the most watched horror movie in America, but movie-goers agree that it is the scariest. 88% of respondents who saw “The Exorcist” found it scary with 51% saying it was “very scary”.  The top three scariest movies are completed with “The Omen” (83% of those who saw it found it scary) and “Saw” (83%).

More than half (53%) of American moviegoers agree that psychological thrills scare them in a horror movie, while 52% find the tension scary.  Only around a quarter (26%) are scared by monsters.

*  Respondents were shown 36 horror films, then shown a maximum of 10 movies that they’d seen and asked how scary they found each one. Movies were shown to respondents on a least fill basis.

For further information about Omnibus results, and for details about methodology and Omnibus services, please email omnibus.us@yougov.com

Find the full results here.   

Image courtesy of Press Association

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