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US Horror Movie Death Count: How Safe is Your State?

Top 10 deadliest states according to horror movies

It’s time to inject more frightening fun into our #bloodstream series! We’ve discussed Doomsday in the USA and the best horror movies to stream on services like Shudder. And we even carved out a 24-hour horror movie marathon dream job for all the fear-loving fans out there.

Now, we’re ranking the deadliest states according to their horror-movie death tolls.

So which states give off spooky serial killer vibes, which are zombie apocalypse zones, and which road trips routes might end up in murderous regret?

First, we narrowed down Rotten Tomatoes’ 200 Best Horror Movies of All Time to include only movies with a US location. Then, we found the number of deaths in each film using Bodycounters.com and Fandom’s list of deaths.

With 63 films containing over 1,300 frightening fates, we totaled how many cinematic slaughters stack up in each state. (And if you’re in one of the 26 states not included, you should be safe . . . for now.)

Beware: If you haven’t seen some of the movies mentioned, you might get spooked by spoilers.

The deadliest states according to horror movies

State
Pennsylvania
New York
California
Maine
Illinois
Ohio
South Carolina
Nevada
Missouri
Texas
West Virginia
Massachusetts
Utah
Rhode Island
Virginia
Michigan
Colorado
North Carolina
Florida
Washington
Tennessee
Oregon
Washington D.C.
Number of deaths Number of movies
615 6
254 7
163 17
60 4
45 4
39 4
36 1
34 1
16 1
15 2
14 1
13 1
13 1
12 1
10 1
8 2
7 2
7 1
5 1
5 1
4 1
3 1
2 1

Pennsylvania is prone to piling up bodies after the people-eaters break loose: The Land of the Dead (2005), Dawn of the Dead (1978), and Night of the Living Dead (1968) collectively claimed 594 corpses in the Quaker State.

In New York, the majority of murders (176) came from the mind-melting House of Wax (1953), but the Big Apple also faced big problems with King Kong (1933), where the angry ape’s rampage made 52 New Yorkers meet their maker.

California captured our attention as the most killer-capable state with 17 horror movies on the list. Famous flicks like Nightmare On Elm Street (1990), Scream (1998), and The Lost Boys (1987) all cast a dark shadow over the Golden State. However, Creep (2014) features the highest death toll for a California-based horror. We won’t spoil much more about this freaky first-person film, but it’s worth adding to your collection.

Other high horror kill counts come from South Carolina–based Slither (2006) with 36 deaths, Maine-based The Mist (2006) with 33 deaths, and Nevada-based Tremors (1990) with 34 total deaths.

At least no animals were harmed in the making of these horror films, right?

The previous counts primarily include people-on-people murder, but as far as on-screen deaths go, it’s not always humans experiencing the horror:

  • California: The Birds (1963) features 17 aviary assassinations.
  • Rhode Island: The Conjuring (2016) kills off one dog and six birds.
  • Nevada: Tremors (1990) takes out 20 sheep, one horse, and four graboids.

The count also includes human-adjacent characters like Freddy Kreuger or Evil Dead 2’s flying demon.

Where should you go if you’re part of the horror show?

Roaming your region is safest if we start in the South or Midwest. In the West, you’re about twice as likely to die in a horror film. And folks in the Northeast are anywhere up to ten times more likely to get murdered in the movies.

Horror movie deaths by region

  • Northeast: 954 deaths
  • West: 225 deaths
  • Midwest: 108 deaths
  • South: 93 deaths

You could always plan on coasting through the killing, though. Apparently living near the coastline helps balance out your odds: The twenty non-coastal states accounted for nearly 59% of the horror movie deaths while the thirty coastal states accounted for just over 41% of the total kills.

The final cut

Zombies proved to be problematic for Pennsylvania, and other states in the Northeastern US aren’t likely to fare much better. But if over half of the US has horror-movie killers, it’s hard to say exactly where you’re safe from on-screen slaughter.

We took our stab at selecting the deadliest states based on their movie death tolls, but we’d like you to help keep the #bloodstream conversation going on social media by telling us about your favorite fright-inducing flicks (especially films from your home state).

Methodology

Our initial list came from Rotten Tomatoes’ 200 Best Horror Movies of All Time, and we excluded any movie that wasn’t based in the United States. We also excluded films where the number of deaths was not readily available from Bodycounters.com or Fandom’s List of Deaths Wiki.

Death totals include some non-human characters, and we did not include any deaths that weren’t shown on screen.

Sources

  1. RottenTomatoes.com, “200 Best Horror Movies of All Time,” Accessed October 6, 2021.
  2. Bodycounters.com, “Statistics,” Accessed October 6, 2021.
  3. Fandom.com “List of Deaths Wiki,” Accessed October 6, 2021.

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