Scary Movie Season Offers Frightening Social Insights

Crimson Hexagon uses social media analytics to learn audience's thoughts on different scary movies

October is here, which means scary movies are back in season. As Halloween approaches, movie-goers choose from a higher concentration of horror-themed films to watch in theaters. A few contributions to this year’s “scare season” include Annabelle–a fresh take on haunted doll horrors, Dracula Untold--a history of the vampire’s origin, and Ouija–a tale of the terror faced when summoning the game’s spirits.
At Crimson Hexagon, we wanted to see which of October’s scary movies are scaring up the most social insights like who is talking about these films, and what they think about them. We investigated how the demographics and topics of discussion compare between those mentioning Annabelle, Dracula Untold, and Ouija on Twitter and Instagram to get a clear idea of audience’s thoughts on each movie.
On October 3rd, Annabelle became the first of these three movies to hit box offices. Annabelle remixes the bedroom doll horror story while serving as the prequel and spin-off to 2013’s The Conjuring. We used our ForSight software to learn more about those mentioning Annabelle online the most since October started.
Annabelle AgeGender
This graph shows how the film successfully tailors a classic horror story to a younger audience. We see how the 17-to-24 age range dominates in both the volume of Twitter conversation, and share of Twitter conversation online compared to the other age groups. Annabelle is discussed far less on Twitter by older audiences. These results are no ploy of the film’s marketing strategy since Annabelle is rated R. Depending on where you are, the younger audience weighing in on Annabelle online is most likely denied entry by the movie theater in the first place. In addition, older generations may perceive the movie’s plot as unoriginal.

 There seems to be an even split of interest in Annabelle between males and females. The movie has advertised shocking, scary content from beginning to end with little focus on its story, resulting in a gender-neutral response online.
So how does Annabelle’s audience online compare to the other films? Let’s take a look at similar graphs for both Dracula Untold and OuijaDracula Untold’s October 10th release came exactly one week after Annabelle. The story of the legendary vampire’s origin features a dark, sinister storyline and more action than the other two films. Dracula GenderAge This film has done a better job reaching a greater spectrum of audience generations. A PG-13 rating further validates the distribution of interest amongst age groups. Again, this film had split interest from the male and female conversation on Instagram. Despite having such themes of horror within the story’s historical context, Luke Evans starring as Dracula turns this film into a candidate for date night.
Finally there is Ouija– the tale of a “true” horror story experienced by a group of young people playing the game. Although the film will be released to theaters until October 24th, younger audiences on social media are already expressing interest online. Ouija Age Gender Rated PG-13, Ouija is the only movie of our three to have a substantial majority of online conversation come from one gender over the other. Nearly two-thirds of the film’s mentions on Instagram came from females, quite possibly reflecting the film’s teen-centric setting and dramatized “scare appeal”.
What about when these audiences are talking about these films online? With the new “Day and Time” capabilities on ForSight, we can look even closer into when conversation occurs online. Those tweeting about Annabelle do so most often in the wee hours of the morning, specifically between 2-6 AM. Annabelle seems to be making audiences lose sleep already. Annabelle Ouija D and T
The volume of online conversation for the film Ouija is similar to Annabelle’s in that it keeps its audience up late at night. The movie mentions more and more on Twitter throughout the day, peaking between 2-5 AM.
Now that we have sized up our scare season demographics, we can see how the topics of conversation online compare the levels of general enthusiasm expressed toward each of the films. It turns out Annabelle has been haunting its audiences late at night: 73% of the film’s Twitter conversation surrenders to the doll’s scariness.
Annabelle Dracula Opinion
Dracula Untold topics of discussion praise the film for its watchability, but not scariness. An enjoyable storyline and a handsome lead actor combine to drive such positive film discussion. The third most popular hashtag on Instagram behind #Ouija and #OuijaMovie is the name of Dracula himself, #LukeEvans.
The level of online activity and “actor appreciation” category further imply the validity in Dracula Untold as a choice for date night at the movies. 9% of conversation makes a case that the film bears too much warfare and action or romance to qualify as “scary”.

Dracula Instagram
A ForSight Topic Wheel for #DraculaUntold on Instagram demonstrates the connection between Luke Evans starring as Dracula and our online demographic seeing the film.
Dracula Topic Wheel

Though highly anticipated by younger audiences, Ouija seems to be perceived as more gimmicky and less scary compared to conversation about Annabelle.
Ouija Opinion
A Topic Wheel for #Ouija shows how the film’s younger demographic is shared with Annabelle. It is notable that any doubts in the film’s scariness while anticipating its release have not yet revoked its horror-genre status amongst audiences in the way Dracula Untold lost its own following its release.
A final piece of our investigation compares the share of voice for each film during the month of October. ForSight’s “Share of Voice” Comparison shows how much of the online conversation has been dominated by Annabelle in all of her haunted glory. We see how the debut of Dracula Untold in theaters on October 10th causes a noticeable, but brief, spike in the film’s share of overall horror movie conversation during the first half of the month.
Halloween Movie Share of Voice
While we can infer that the gap in volume of discussion gap between age groups for Annabelle represents a missed target audience, the movie is still the most popular of this season’s horror films. Such a takeaway is a testament to the power of the young person’s product review and opinion via social media. So now we know- spells and Annabelle are scarier than vampires, and solid plot-line never earned any horror film its approval. Then there’s those who simply enjoy it all.

Crimson Hexagon’s ForSight platform offers deep insights for measuring the consumer perceptions of films – such as analyzing drivers of sentiment, share of voice, or audience demographics. To learn more about ForSight, request an online demo  Request a Demo with us today.

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