Which horror movie is most popular in your state

For many, Halloween is the most wonderful time of the year, giving them the perfect excuse to hide behind their sofas as they “watch” their favorite horror film.

But which films give which states the biggest frights?

Here at Comparitech, we’ve compiled a list of the most popular movies by state (based on what’s been the hottest topic on Google Trends over the past year) to see what people are finding most spooktacular.

Most popular Halloween movie by state

Creepy classics are a Halloween treat for these states

Sometimes, the best movies are the classics and this is no less true when it comes to scary movies. The graphics might not be up to today’s standards but the edgy filming, sinister music, and bone-chilling plots all add to the atmosphere.

So are the classics the best movies for Halloween night?

Residents in these states think so:

  • Iowa and Wyoming for The Exorcist (1973): One of the most renowned horror movies of all time, The Exorcist is rated 8.1 on IMDb–the highest scoring of the most popular movies featured in our list. Nearly 40 years old, this terrifying movie (which is loosely based on real events) tells the story of a 12-year-old girl who’s possessed by a chilling entity.
  • Maryland for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)Unlike residents of Alabama and Arkansas who opted for the 2003 remake of this classic, people in Maryland can’t get enough of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Released in 1974, the film was based on real-life serial killer, Ed Gein, aka the Butcher of Plainfield. Renowned for snatching dead bodies from graveyards so he could turn them into mementos made up of their bones and skin, Gein was also found guilty of murder and was eventually deemed insane.
  • South Dakota for Halloween (1978): South Dakotans also like to keep it original with the other must-see horror classic, Halloween. After being locked away for 15 years for brutally murdering his sister, Michael Myers escapes and returns to his sleepy hometown in Illinois to wreak more havoc on its residents.
  • Idaho for Poltergeist (1982): In Idaho, horror movie fans are getting their frights from the ghostly goings on of the 80s classic, Poltergeist. When a family starts to see objects moving around their home, it all seems friendly and amusing. But gradually, the ghosts start to terrorize the family before kidnapping the youngest girl.
  • Hawaii and Rhode Island for Scream (1996): While Scream isn’t as old as the others in this list, it has arguably become one of our favorite horror movies with a franchise that continues to this day. After teenager Sidney’s mother is murdered, a new killer called “Ghostface” goes on a slaying spree–but not before asking his victims a trivia question.

The modern horror movies that got everyone watching

While the aforementioned states preferred to stick to the oldies when it came to choosing a horror movie, there were a few new releases that got everyone watching over the last year.

  • The Black Phone (2021): This was the most popular movie by far, coming out on top in 24 states. And with a score of 7 on IMDb, it’s a highly-rated horror movie, too. The Black Phone follows Finney, a 13-year-old boy who’s snatched by a mask-wearing serial killer and locked in a basement. Then, when a disconnected black phone starts to ring, Finney hears the stories of the killer’s previous victims and they all want to make sure Finney doesn’t meet the same fate as them.
  • Nope (2022): The most recent movie from our list, Nope, follows two siblings on a lonely ranch in California who uncover something wonderful yet terrifying in the sky overhead. Meanwhile, the local theme park owner attempts to profit from the sinister phenomenon.
  • Hereditary (2018): Popular in Alaska, Nebraska, and New Hampshire, Hereditary sees a family unearthing a number of terrifying secrets about their ancestors’ past. But can they escape their family’s sinister fate? Rated 7.3 on IMDb, this is one of the highest-rated horror movies on our list.


Using Google Trends to search for the film genre “horror” in each state, we looked to see which movie was a rising topic in the related topics section. Rising topics are the top related search terms users looking at horror movies also searched for over the past year and saw the biggest influx in searches during that period. The top result for each state was the designated movie for that state. In some cases, a movie franchise may have appeared on top, e.g. “Insidious – film series” but we only noted the title when it was a specific film.