It’s a simple enough question: Which horror movies are most popular in each US state? There are, of course, thousands upon thousands of great flicks in this category – many you can watch on mainstream streaming channels. They’re the perfect choice when you want to get together with friends and raise your adrenaline level, wherever you happen to be in the world.
However, choosing one horror film can often be challenging when there are so many options. So, why not watch a horror movie that’s most loved in your US state?
Here’s a list of some of the top popular horror movies associated with various states in North America.
The most popular horror movie in California is…
Theater of Blood (1973)
Combining British comedy with horror, Theater of Blood (1973) portrays Vincent Price as a Shakespearean actor who tries committing suicide after being humiliated for his performance as an actor. He survives and goes on to exact vengeance against his critics who couldn’t recognize his prowess and skills, killing each of them in ways similar to scenes from Shakespeare’s plays.
The most popular horror movie in Colorado is…
The Shining (1980)
In Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980) Jack Torrance, played by Jack Nicholson, is a recovering alcoholic and aspiring writer. He takes a position as a caretaker of the Overlook Hotel, which is located in the Colorado Rockies. Staying with Jack is his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and son Danny (Danny Lloyd). The calm setting quickly gets disrupted when Danny uses his psychic abilities to tap into the hotel’s horrific past.
This movie is obviously popular in Colorado due to its location!
A fun fact about the classic elevator scene; it only took three shots. However, the scene took a year to prepare in total and was subject to much deliberation on how it would work!
The most popular horror movie in the District of Columbia, Texas, New Jersey and Michigan is…
The Devil’s Backbone (2001)
Directed by Guillermo del Toro, The Devil’s Backbone (2001) leads the list for being the most popular horror movie in four separate states. The only other film on this list that’s popular in more than one US state is Freaks (1932).
The Devil’s Backbone (2001), set in 1939 depicts the journey of a 12-year-old boy named Carlos (Fernando Tielve) who must stay in an orphanage after his father dies in Spain’s bloody Civil War. The presence of a ghost named Santi, a former resident in the orphanage, warns him many will die.
What’s interesting about this movie, is the notion that most ghosts don’t always exist to frighten us, but more, to communicate with us that something needs to be dealt with or uncovered so that they can finally rest.
The most popular horror movie in Florida is…
Starring John Cusack and Samuel L Jackson, 1408 (2007) follows the story of Michael Enslin who writes books associated with supernatural events but does not believe in their occurrences. After finding out about a hotel in New York City called the Dolphin containing a room where people are warned not to enter, he decides to take on the challenge.
Once in the room, Mike describes the ‘boring’ appearance of the room on his mini-cassette recorder. Little does he realize he’s just getting started when the clock radio begins playing “We’ve Only Just Begun.”
1408 (2007) is a fantastic paranormal chiller based on a Stephen King story and highly reminiscent of his iconic movie The Shining (1973). It’s also the first Stephen King film adaptation with scenes shot in New York City to not include footage of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.
The most popular horror movie in Georgia is…
Jacob’s Ladder (1990)
Jacob’s Ladder is a psychological horror, following the story of Jacob Singer (Tim Robbins) who is deployed to Vietnam and comes under attack with his unit. Several of his comrades are wounded or killed during the battle. Jacob escapes from the area and heads to the jungle where he is stabbed.
He wakes up in the New York City subway in 1975, working as a postal clerk and living in a Brooklyn apartment with his girlfriend. The movie illustrates Jacob’s harrowing hallucinations and chilling experiences following his time in Vietnam and his attempt to seek out the truth. It has become renowned over the past three decades as being one of the most thought-provoking and disturbing cult-movies ever made.
Jacob’s Ladder is packed to the brim with special effects, flashbacks and first-person perspective scenes. In the original script, the demonic hallucinations Jacob experiences were actually inspired by shapes depicted in the bible but this was then canned after the director (Adrian Lyne) believed they would seem ridiculous.
The most popular horror movie in Maryland & Nevada is…
This 1932 horror film stars a trapeze artist (Leila Hyams) who joins a crew of carnival performers with the motive of murdering a dwarf in the group to steal his inheritance. Due to this movie’s controversial content, Freaks was banned in the UK for several years and has been labeled as grotesque and brutal in Canada.
The most popular horror movie in New Mexico is…
Directed by Ridley Scott and starring Sigourney Weaver, Alien (1979) is one of those classic horrors that never gets old! After finishing duties in space, the spaceship Nostromo returns to Earth. Onboard is a seven-member crew who are currently in stasis. The ship’s computer awakens them due to a distress signal coming from the moon.
Despite warnings from some of the crew members, they land and find a derelict alien ship. Later, they discover an alien has invaded one of the crew members when it pops out of his chest (possibly one of the most renowned of all horror movie scenes!) and escapes into the ship.
The success of Alien led to a huge franchise of films, novels, comic books, video games, and toys and was Weaver’s breakthrough lead role.
The most popular horror movie in Oklahoma is…
Making their way around the southwestern US to escape a zombie apocalypse, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin star in this witty and thrilling comedy/horror. They are among a small minority of individuals who haven’t been affected by the mad cow disease that left several people mutated and turned into zombies.
Zombieland (2009) is definitely on the lighter side of the genre and an excellent one to watch if you want something fast-paced, full of clichés and a good laugh!
The most popular horror movie in Rhode Island is…
The Invisible Man (1933)
Starring Claude Rains, this 1933 sci-fi horror movie involves Dr. Jack Griffin, a man who became invisible due to a secret experiment. His appearance is highly mysterious to onlookers as he must wear dark glasses and bandages to make himself visible. Unfortunately, his secret is revealed when the staff at a lodge he is staying in discovers he’s invisible.
For it’s time, The Invisible Man (1933) certainly boasts clever photography and sways between macabre and emotionally satisfying.
The most popular horror movie in South Carolina is…
An American Werewolf in London (1981)
When tallying up the data on the best horror movies in each state, southeastern states seem to be less interested in looking for scary movies to watch! South Carolina was at the top of the list for this disinterest. However, data showed An American Werewolf in London (1981) as the top choice for those residing in the state searching for a horror flick.
This 1981 horror comedy movie tells the story of two American backpackers from New York, Jack Goodman (Griffin Dunne) and David Kessler (David Naughton) who are on a walking tour of London and attacked by a werewolf.
Director John Landis actually wrote the script for the movie when he was a teenager. It wasn’t until years later when werewolf movies were becoming more popular that the script was picked up and the movie made.
The most popular horror movie in Utah is…
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Foster’s character, Clarice Starling, is an up-and-coming FBI trainee. Hopkins plays Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a cannibalistic serial killer, who decides to use his knowledge to help Clarice Hunt down another serial killer (Ted Levine) known as “Buffalo Bill,” who enjoys skinning his victims.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991) is one of the most chilling psychological thrillers out there. It’s potent plot is as compelling today as it was in 1991 and the autopsy scene is still as disturbing as ever! It was also Hopkins who decided Dr Hannibal Lecter should wear white in the movie. This was to heighten the fear that people have of doctors and dentists.
The most popular horror movie in Virginia is…
Dead Ringers (1988)
Jeremy Irons stars in Dead Ringers (1988), a psychological thriller introducing twin gynecologists who operate a clinic to treat fertility problems. Challenges begin for the twins when actress Claire Niveau (Geneviève Bujold) visits the clinic and upsets the bond between the twins, leading to destruction for the clinic and the lives of both gynecologists.
Dead Ringers (1988) has been regarded as one of the best horror movies ever made and won 10 Genie Awards from the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television.
If your state wasn’t included in this list, you can check out the full article and report on the most popular horror movies in each US state.
Editor & Artwork: Richard Williams