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CCSS: 6.SP.B.4, 6.SP.B.5, 7.SP.B.3, 8.SP.A.1, MP1, MP5, MP6

TEKS: 6.12A, 6.12B, 6.12C, 6.12D, 6.13A, 7.6G, 7.12A, 8.5C, 8.11A

Screams on Screen

Only a few minutes left in the movie, and you think everyone is safe. But suddenly, as the boy looks under the bed, a clown doll comes to life and grabs him! The scare sends your popcorn flying. Halloween and movies like Poltergeist go hand in hand, but horror movies—from mystery thrillers to chilling ghost and monster tales—are becoming more popular year-round.

In recent years, horror movies have set box office records and even won Academy Awards in 2017. “We’re seeing incredible movies that are just really well made, well written, well filmed, and culturally relevant,” says Margee Kerr. She’s a sociologist who studies fear at the University of Pittsburgh.

But why do people seek out scares in the first place? Kerr says people who like scary things like the physical feeling after “surviving” a scary experience. It’s like the rush runners feel when they finish a long run.

“I realized I like to do scary things when I’m looking for a way to relax or have fun,” she says. Kerr enjoys scary movies, haunted houses, and thrill rides because they’re exciting, but she knows she’s still in control. The adrenaline rush of being scared can make her feel like “a superhero.”

Horror movies have been around since 1896. As horror movies change to reflect what new audiences find frightening, Kerr looks forward to what kinds of screams will come out of the silver screen next.

Google Quiz

Click the Google Quiz button below to share an interactive version of the questions with your class. Click Download PDF for the non-interactive blank answer sheet.

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Article (all photos); Jim McMahon/Mapman (map)

Answer the following questions using the information in the charts and graphs above. Record your work and answers on our answer sheet.

Which age group has the most favorable opinion of horror movies?

A. 18-25

B. 30-44

C. 45-54

D. 55-64

About how much revenue did zombie movies make between 1999 and 2018?

A. $500 million

B. $800 million

C. $1 billion

D. $1.8 billion

In what year did the number of horror movie tickets sold first exceed 10 million?

A. 1999

B. 2002

C. 2007

D. 2017

How many people age 45 to 54 had a very favorable opinion of horror movies?

A. 63

B. 126

C. 189

D. 271

What percent of horror movies made in 2017 were made in Japan, the U.K., and Italy combined?

A. 11%

B. 19%

C. 23%

D. 56%

About how many more tickets for horror movies were sold in 2018 than in 2014?

A. 3,100,000

B. 4,200,000

C. 5,600,000

D. 6,800,000

Which movie creature grossed about 3 times the revenue that mummies did?

The average cost of a movie ticket in 2017 was $8.97. About how much did horror movies make from ticket sales in 2017?

In 2002, 1.5 billion movie tickets were sold. About what percent were horror movie tickets, rounded to the nearest tenth?

Poll your class on their opinion of horror movies. Customize your own poll using the Google form below. Then create a circle graph on a separate sheet of paper based on your results.

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