Horror Movies Diversity: Main Topics

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Horror is arguably one of the most, if not the most, popular film genre out there. This has recently led to debate among movie fans if horror movies are as diverse as they should be. In 2016, film critics felt that most of the mainstream horror movies out were too white, but it appears that things are changing. Variety claims that today, it is a diverse audience keeping horror movies alive and well, which mostly means that over the past three years they’ve managed to become more diverse and less “white.” The Conjuring Universe In 2016, according to Coming Soon, the films in the Conjuring Universe were credited with the rebirth of the horror genre. This includes The Conjuring itself and Annabelle 1 and 2. 

It’s impossible to deny how successful the movie franchise has been, and how much profit it brought New Line Cinema. Coming Soon also notes that looking at anything James Wan has attached his name to also reflects on how well the horror genre is doing right now. Of course, looking at the cast for films in the Conjuring Universe, and many other horror movies released around the same time, will show what Coming Soon thinks the problem is. Horror movies are too white. Too White Hollywood horror films are typically about white families and the problems they are facing with supernatural forces. “It’s not that all of them are bad (or look bad). 

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The Witch is fantastic. Lights Out is receiving good reviews. The Conjuring is great and in general, viewers seem to like its sequel, which received mostly good reviews. Individual quality isn’t really the issue here,” explains Coming Soon. The issue lays almost exclusively in diversity. In general, the problem stems from Hollywood horror movies, because TV horror shows tend to be quite diverse. Shows from American Horror Story to Scream and The Walking Dead feature a wide array of characters from various backgrounds. Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones Coming Soon explains that when Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones came out, it was marketed as a Latino spin-off to the horror movie franchise. While it is considered to be the least successful in the series, it made just as much worldwide (90 million) as The Purge did. 

The only difference is The Purge didn’t do much to help with diversity. Apparently, 2015 was an even worse year for seeing a diverse cast in Hollywood horror movies. That year included the films from The Woman in Black 2 to Paranormal Activity: Ghost Dimension. Each movie from that year, as explained by Coming Soon, featured supernatural forces and mainly white casts (especially the leads) fighting against it. A Diverse Audience A 2018 study showed that horror movies were more popular than ever and, according to Variety, “diverse millennials may be to thank for the surge in ticket sales.” Apparently, those who regularly see horror movies are 27 percent younger than the average age for other movie goers. 

Variety also states that they tend to be more loyal, averaging out at watching 12 movies a year. Variety also explains that horror fans can be broken down into two categories—paranormal horror fans and action horror fans. Paranormal Horror Fans Variety claims “paranormal fans are drawn to supernatural and slasher films, like the first Purge, Slender Man, and Happy Death Day.” These types of fans also tend to be young adults, and are actually younger than the average action horror fan. In terms of those viewers, it’s split pretty evenly between men and women. Action Horror Fans Variety also calls these action horror fans sci-fi horror fans. 

Variety explains that “action addicts lean more toward sci-fi titles including Annihilation, A Quiet Place, and The Predator.” As a whole, they make up six percent of the moviegoer population and come in as five percent younger than the average, which makes them older than most paranormal horror fans. The Diversity When breaking down each of these cohorts, it is clear to see the diversity that is present. Variety claims that “13 percent of paranormal and 16 percent of sci-fi ticket-buyers are African-American and 31 percent of paranormal and 23 percent of sci-fi attendees are Hispanic (versus 15 percent and 19 percent respectively for an average blockbuster).” 

In addition, paranormal horror fans are split pretty evenly between male and female, while action movie fans lean more toward a male demographic. However, there isn’t a clear answer as to why that is. Where Are The Diverse Casts? It’s true that horror movies are becoming more diverse, especially when it comes to portraying characters who aren’t really able-bodied, like Hush and Bird Box, and more women are taking leading roles, but these films still fall short in terms of racial and ethnic diversity. With the diversity in viewership, it is fair to assume Hollywood may begin catering to them as well. 

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