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Frightful Fans: The Profile of Horror Movie Lovers

2 minute read | October 2015

It’s a fantastically frightful time of year for moviegoers, with studios springing their most spine-chilling creations on audiences ahead of Halloween. Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension and The Last Witch Hunter hit theaters last week, and Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse claws its way onto screens this week.

While scaredy cats may be waiting for it all to pass (hopefully in a well-secured safe room), millions of horror fans across the nation are treasuring this time of terror.

Who are these thrill-seekers? According to Nielsen Fanlinks 2015 data, horror movie fans are 23% more likely than the average consumer to be between the ages of 35 and 44. That means quite a few are Gen Xers who grew up watching Wes Craven slasher classics like A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream. Today, this group seems happy to make fear a family affair, as horror movie fans are 24% more likely to be part of a three or more person household, with children skewing between the ages of 6 and 17.

Macabre movies are also especially popular among the diverse horror fan audience; horror fans are 23% more likely to be Hispanic than the average consumer and 15% more likely to be African-American.

True to the Halloween spirit, horror movie aficionados love their sweet treats; fans spend $146 per year on average on carbonated beverages, $21 more than the $125 that the average consumer spends.

Popcorn is also in high demand with fans. Horror lovers buy 5% more popped popcorn and 6% more unpopped popcorn per year than the average consumer.

In October, they load up on the candy, spending 34% more on hard rolled candy and 30% more on caramel corn than the average. S’mores seem to be a popular snack, with horror movie fans spending 52% more on marshmallows and 27% more on graham crackers than the average American.

Finally, horror movie lovers seem to have a soft spot for cheesiness, both on-screen and off. In fact, they spend 25% more on puffed cheese snacks and 21% more on cheese crackers than the average consumer.

This is the most wonderful time of the year for lovers of scares on screen—and brands—as fright fans are not only willing to open their wallets at the box office, but at retail as well.

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