Horror Films Do Better With a Lower Body Count According to a New Study From Rotten Tomatoes

A lot of horror films involve a lot of death. If you’ve seen the new Halloween, then you know that some films will have a lot of killing. Thinking back on the deaths in horror films got the folks over at Rotten Tomatoes thinking about if the number of deaths impacted their Tomatometer score (the score from critics on the aggregate’s site) and the box office results. They analyzed 188 horror films under these rules:

  • The film must be part of a franchise (at least two films with theatrical wide releases)

  • Only deaths caused by the central antagonist and protagonist would count

Two simple rules. So, what did they find? They found that generally, the more kills in a film, the lower its score and box office money. Also, they found that sequels tend to have more deaths and lower scores. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule as can be proven by the new Halloween, the original Carrie, and Aliens.

However, here’s their breakdown:

  • 0-5 Kills: 56.7% Average Score|$115.4 Million Average Inflated Domestic Total

  • 6-10 Kills: 41.7% Average Score|$78.8 Million Average Inflated Domestic Total

  • 11+ Kills: 38.1% Average Score|$56.9 Million Average Inflated Domestic Total

  • First film in franchise: $145 million average box office | 67% Tomatometer average

  • Second: $70 million | 42% Tomatometer average

  • Third: $68 million | 39% Tomatometer average

  • Fourth: $67 million | 40% Tomatometer average

  • Fifth: $49 million | 32% Tomatometer average

  • Sixth–tenth: $45 million | 27.625% Tomatometer average

  • Remakes (and their sequels/prequels): $52 million | 37% Tomatometer average

What do you think about the findings of this study?

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