Profit from horror

Perhaps we all get a little more morbid during a downturn. Whatever the reason, horror is big business. Investors should take note.

Turn on the TV and you can’t miss the vampires. Whether it’s cult series True Blood or the Vampire Diaries, the bloodsuckers are everywhere. And they are not alone.

Horror video games are having a record year – it seems everyone these days has a favourite zombie, demon or chainsaw-wielding nutter. So much so that sales of horror video games are already at $147m this year compared to $131m for the whole of 2008, according to Michael Wachter, a games analyst for Wedbush Morgan Securities on Reuters.

Meanwhile, movies featuring blood and gore – think Saw VI, Paranormal State or Zombieland, all out this week – are flooding the market.

And then there’s the live stuff. Haunted attractions are having a massive year as high-tech theme venues scramble to recruit actors and actresses who will leap out and scare visitors.

So, how can investors (who are not of a nervous disposition) make some money from this horror-fest? It’s not easy to play direct, but one option is Konami Corporation (NYSE:KNM), the firm whose digital entertainment subsidiary is behind Saw for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Not a bargain basement stock in price/earnings terms, but the price to sales ratio is a reasonable 0.77.