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The Best Selling Horror Movies of All Time!

If you're looking for a new way to make money on your next project but don't want to deal with angry fans if their favorite character dies off screen…make it a horror film! Here's my list of the best selling horror films of all time:

By Courtanae HeslopPublished 2 years ago 8 min read

Is there a better genre than horror? I don't think so. Horror movies are fun, scary, and often have some twist at the end that makes you say "What?!" They're also super-popular at the box office. A couple of years ago, I wrote an article about how Hollywood was releasing too many superhero movies - like every single weekend - and it was hurting diversity in film. But then something happened: people started noticing that horror films were getting more popular than ever before! And now we all know why: horror movies aren't just scary; they're also lucrative investments for movie studios that want to make money fast (and cheaply). So if you're looking for a new way to make money on your next project but don't want to deal with angry fans if their favorite character dies off screen…make it a horror film! Here's my list of the best selling horror films of all time:

The Exorcist (1974): $441.3 million

One of the best selling horror movies of all time, The Exorcist is an American supernatural fiction film directed by William Friedkin. It was written by William Peter Blatty and adapted from his 1971 novel The Exorcist. When the film was released on December 26, 1973, it created a sensation and became both a critical and commercial hit. It also became one of the highest grossing films of all time with a total box office revenue worldwide of $441.3 million (adjusted for inflation).

The film tells the story of Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair), a 12-year-old girl living with her mother Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn) in suburban Georgetown who becomes possessed by Satan after playing with an Ouija board in her bedroom at night during an extended family vacation in Washington D.C..

Halloween (1978): $47 million

Halloween is a 1978 American slasher film directed by John Carpenter and starring Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis. The film follows serial killer Michael Myers as he stalks teenage babysitters on Halloween night, with the intent of killing them in the same manner that his sister was murdered years before. The low-budget movie was filmed on location in South Pasadena, California and makes use of natural lighting from throughout the movie to create an eerie atmosphere.

Halloween is often considered the first modern slasher film, beginning an ongoing trend of horror films about psychopathic murderers stalking children/teens for their own enjoyment (or for revenge). The story itself was inspired by real-life murderer Ed Gein. The character Michael Myers wears a mask similar to one worn by Norman Bates from Psycho - another horror classic from Alfred Hitchcock which inspired many subsequent horror films with similar themes or plots (such as Scream).

The Sixth Sense (1999): $637.3 million

The Sixth Sense was a box office success, taking in $672.8 million worldwide. It was nominated for six Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director (M. Night Shyamalan), Best Original Screenplay (M. Night Shyamalan), Best Editing and two Sound Editing awards. The movie won the Saturn Award for Best Horror Film and a BAFTA Award for Best Direction by M Night Shyamalan as well as several other accolades including four Golden Globes, two SAG awards and an MTV Movie Award for Breakthrough Male Performance by Haley Joel Osment.

It is based on The Village of the Damned by John Wyndham which was itself adapted into films twice before - first in 1960 starring George Sanders and Barbara Shelley then again in 1995 with Christopher Reeve playing Dr Andrews instead of George Sanders who played Dr Rolfe here although both films were very different from each other so don't worry if you missed it when they were on TV or want something new while waiting patiently (as many years) until another one comes out!

Poltergeist (1982): $76.5 million

Poltergeist is an American horror film about a family whose home is haunted by malevolent ghosts and evil spirits. It was produced and directed by Tobe Hooper, and written by Steven Spielberg (who also produced) and Michael Grais. Released in 1982, Poltergeist has been considered one of the best horror films ever since its release. The movie was nominated for two Academy Awards: Best Visual Effects, and Best Sound Effects Editing.

Poltergeist was the highest grossing horror film of 1982; it earned $76 million domestically on a budget of $11 million - more than any other movie that year

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984): $6 million

The Nightmare on Elm Street movies are among the highest-grossing horror films of all time, but that fact is not surprising when you consider that the first film in the series was made for a budget of $1.8 million and grossed $25 million at the box office in its first run. The film also spawned a wildly successful franchise, so it's no wonder that this flick has gone down as one of the best horror films ever made!

The movie was released in 1984 by New Line Cinema and directed by Wes Craven (who also wrote and produced it). It starred Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger - a horrific dream demon who stalks his victims while they sleep - and Johnny Depp as Nancy Thompson, an adolescent girl who becomes Freddy's primary target after she discovers he may be responsible for several murders in her town.

Friday the 13th (1980): $59.7 million

The movie was a box office success and spawned a franchise, making it the most successful of all horror films. The film's antagonist, Jason Voorhees (played by actor Ari Lehman), has become one of the most iconic characters in horror movies. The movie has enjoyed continued success as it has been released in multiple different versions over the years.

The Grudge (2004): $187.1 million

The Grudge is a remake of the Japanese film Ju-On (or "The Grudge"). The American version of The Grudge was released in 2004, and it was a box office success. It was a big hit both in Japan and the United States.

In this horror movie, an American nurse travels to Tokyo with her boyfriend Tomoko Tachibana, who had gone there previously to study medicine. When they arrive at their hotel room on their first night in the city, they find that someone has left an old wooden box outside their door - with a note that reads "Do not open!" If you remember seeing this movie when it came out more than ten years ago like I do, you probably remember how creepy it was!

Saw (2004): $107.9 million

The horror film was made on a budget of $1.2 million, and went on to gross $107.9 million worldwide. The movie was directed by James Wan, who later went on to direct the Saw sequels as well as Insidious and The Conjuring franchises. The story revolves around John Kramer (Tobin Bell), a serial killer who traps his victims in sadistic games of wits before killing them off if they fail or refuse to play along with him. In this case, four people are held hostage in an abandoned bathroom chained up by their ankles with little food or water, while another person is instructed to kill one of the four if he wants his freedom back after being captured by John Kramer during one evening at work..

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974): $30.8 million

A shoestring budget and an extremely limited number of shooting days were two things that made The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) one of the most profitable films ever made. No wonder it was shot in 20 days!

While it grossed only $30 million domestically, this classic horror movie has earned over $80 million internationally, making it the highest grossing independent film ever.

It Follows (2014): $23.7 million

It's easy to see why the film was so successful. It has a very low budget of $2 million and yet it is still able to tell a compelling story about the struggle of a young girl, Jay, who is being followed by something evil following her after having sex with someone. The movie has received praise from critics and fans alike for its unique style of storytelling. For example, each scene in It Follows transitions into another scene right on the spot with no overlap between them at all; this allows viewers to focus on what's happening in each moment because there are no distractions or interruptions from one scene into another. This also helps keep viewers engaged within each scene as well since there aren't any cuts that would disrupt their attention span either!

The movie was also written by David Robert Mitchell - himself an award winning director whose previous films include The Myth of the American Sleepover (2010) & Snow Angels (2008). Mitchell also wrote other popular horror movies such as Undertow (2004) & A Horrible Way To Die (2010).

Horror movies can make a lot of money even if nobody dies in the end.

You might think that, in order to be profitable, a horror movie must feature lots of death and destruction. However, many people have found success with movies that are less bloody than others - especially when it comes to the best selling horror movies of all time!

One of these is The Sixth Sense (1999), which has grossed more than $672 million worldwide. This film was written by M. Night Shyamalan and directed by him as well. It starred Bruce Willis as Dr. Malcolm Crowe and Haley Joel Osment as Cole Sear, a boy who sees dead people (or so he believes). When Dr. Crowe helps Cole understand what's happening to him, they form an unlikely bond that helps both of them come to terms with their lives and feelings about death in general - and in particular how death affects those left behind after someone dies suddenly or unexpectedly…something both characters struggle with throughout this movie!

Another great example would be The Blair Witch Project (1999), which cost only $35 thousand but grossed nearly $250 million at the box office worldwide over its lifetime - and this despite its "low budget" origins; many critics deemed it one of the most influential horror films ever made!


These movies prove that even though the genre isn't "cool," it has its place in history. The best way to make sure your horror movie is successful? Make sure that there are at least a couple jump scares and make sure your villain is scary enough so that everyone will want to see them get their comeuppance!

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About the Creator

Courtanae Heslop

Courtanae Heslop is a multi-genre writer and business owner.

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