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Study: Amazon Prime Video Has Biggest Horror Library

Steve Anderson

The culmination of spooky season hits this weekend, with the arrival of Halloween. While a case can be made for spooky season all winter long—when night falls at 5:30, it’s hard not to be a little spooked—Halloween is still the leading force of fear in our calendar year. For those looking for a good scare on streaming, Amazon Prime Video is the way to go. The amazing part is, it’s still the leader despite recent cutbacks in its horror content.

There’s plenty of horror content out there, no matter what time of the year it is. Amazon is proof positive of that. Amazon’s horror content currently accounts for one in every four hours of horror content available to stream in the United States. According to a study from Ampere Analysis, Amazon currently boasts 664 hours of horror-based content for streaming.

That’s a huge win over even its most immediate competitor in scare circles, Netflix, which boasts about half that at roughly one in every eight hours of horror content online. In perhaps the unkindest cut of all, horror-themed streaming site Shudder can only boast about 12 percent of all horror-themed streaming content.

While Amazon is a clear and present winner in horror streaming, there’s less carnage available than in previous years. Last year at this time, Amazon boasted over four times as much horror content, coming in at over 2,800 hours.

This is actually part of a concerted effort on Amazon’s part; Amazon has been focusing its efforts on pulling together what Ampere calls a “…a smaller, curated and higher value title list.” Meanwhile, much of the horror film landscape is comprised of low-budget material that went straight to DVD. That was a lucrative strategy back when there were video stores in every town, but not so much these days.

Amazon’s pullback, however, comes at a time when its competitors are ramping up the scary. Netflix, for example, offered up the “Netflix and Chills” horror event. Taking full advantage of the pop culture lingo, Netflix used the phrase centrally to its advertising of horror content. Meanwhile, Shudder went full-court press, declaring the spooky season to start back around Labor Day with “61 Days of Halloween”, culminating in the actual Halloween, October 31.

There is an advantage to the notion of “quality over quantity.” Just because there are six “Sharknado”movies (seven if you count the documentary) out there doesn’t mean anyone wants to watch them over and over.

Focusing on the best and hardest-hitting of the lot isn’t a bad idea per se, but it also has a downside connected to it. One of the great attractions of horror film is the “so-bad-it’s-good” notion. Horror has long been ripe for mockery, with groups of friends sitting around and laughing at how bad the special effects are, or how cheesy the dialogue is, or even some of the logic failures inherent in the plot. Failing to account for the sheer fun of watching garbage horror is almost like failing to account for kids interested in wolfing down cheap Halloween candy. Sure, you’re taking the high ground in offering one sliver of 47 percent cacao chocolate to those trick-or-treaters. But you’re begging for an egging, metaphorically speaking, when the house down the block is dumping handfuls of miniatures into visitors’ bags.

If Amazon continues its overall strategy of thinning its offerings to the best and the brightest alone, it may have a hard time competing when the next spooky season hits. Horror has its own built-in audience. Decades of low-budget horror makes that perfectly clear. Not meeting that audience’s expectations won’t produce positive results, especially in the increasingly competitive streaming market.

Related: How to Watch the IMDb Top 50 Horror Movies Online
Related: Best Horror Movies on Each Streaming Service: Netflix, HBO Max, Prime Video, Hulu, Tubi, and More

Best Horror Movies on Prime Video

  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers

    February 5, 1956

    A small-town doctor learns that the population of his community is being replaced by emotionless alien duplicates.

    This is Metacritic’s fifth best-reviewed horror movie of all time.

  • The Wicker Man

    December 1, 1973

    Police sergeant Neil Howie is called to an island village in search of a missing girl whom the locals claim never existed. Stranger still, however, are the rituals that take place there.

    Watch out for the 2006 Nicolas Cage remake, which is simultaneously terrible and hilarious.

  • Train to Busan

    July 20, 2016

    Martial law is declared when a mysterious viral outbreak pushes Korea into a state of emergency. Those on an express train to Busan, a city that has successfully fended off the viral outbreak, must fight for their own survival…

    This highly entertaining zombie adventure features Gong Yoo as a father trying to connect with his estranged daughter. He’d later appear in the breakthrough Netflix series “Squid Game” (2021).

  • The Lighthouse

    October 18, 2019

    Two lighthouse keepers (Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson) try to maintain their sanity while living on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s.

  • The Host

    July 27, 2006

    Following the dumping of gallons of toxic waste in the river, a giant mutated squid-like appears and begins attacking the populace. Gang-du’s daughter Hyun-seo is snatched up by the creature; with his family to assist him, he sets off to find her.

    This film is directed by Bong Joon-ho, who would later go on to international fame thanks to Best Picture Academy Award-winner “Parasite” (2019).

  • The Wailing

    May 12, 2016

    A stranger arrives in a little village and soon after a mysterious sickness starts spreading. A policeman is drawn into the incident and is forced to solve the mystery in order to save his daughter.

  • The Endless

    November 5, 2017

    Two brothers return to the cult they fled from years ago to discover that the group’s beliefs may be more sane than they once thought.


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