Watch the Top Grossing Horror Films of All Time Before Halloween

From killer clowns to extraterrestrial hunters, Hollywood has given us some horrific nightmares over the years. Strangely enough, lots of people actually enjoy being scared, meaning that the horror genre has raked in a substantial amount of money. Here are the five highest-grossing horror movies of all time.

WESTWOOD, CALIFORNIA – AUGUST 26: Bill Skarsgård arrives at the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures” “It Chapter Two” at Regency Village Theatre on August 26, 2019 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)


Pennywise in It | New Line Cinema

While few would have guessed that a critically reviled miniseries from the 1990s would provide fodder for the most successful horror movie of all time, Stephen King’s It became a massive success due to nostalgia for the Tim Curry mini-series and the shockingly good reviews that the movie received. While the film’s sequel has gotten a more mixed response, nothing can take away from the accomplishments of the first film.

‘The Sixth Sense’

“I see dead people” might be the most iconic movie line of the past 20 years, and with good reason.  M. Night Shyamalan’s first box office success managed to scare millions with its thoughtful approach to horror and memorable twist ending. Even at a time when younger actors seemed to have an outsized role in the entertainment industry thanks to It and Stranger Things, Haley Joel Osment’s performance in The Sixth Sense remains one of the greatest ever by a child actor. Osment managed to completely eschew the cutesy acting associated with child performers like Shirley Temple and Jake Lloyd, drawing audiences in with his tense performance. No wonder he was given the opportunity to work with Steven Spielberg shortly after the release of the film.

‘The Exorcist’

 The Exorcist is one of a rare breed of films that has been referenced so often in popular culture that anyone in the Western world today will be fairly familiar with the film, even if they have never seen it. Linda Blair’s performance as the demonically possessed Regan, the film’s harrowing finale, and Mike Oldfield’s classic score have all become iconic. The film was followed by sequels, prequels, and a television series (not to mention countless parodies) but none measured up to the original.

‘A Quiet Place’

Emily Blunt in A Quiet Place
Emily Blunt in A Quiet Place | Paramount Pictures

There may not have been much of dialogue in A Quiet Place but that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t any noise in the theaters that showed the film; there were plenty of screams. The film had a brilliantly simple and simply brilliant premise:  The earth is invaded by aliens who hunt by sound, meaning that our heroes have to spend the rest of their existence without making much noise. Despite the film’s almost total absence of dialogue, its characters still emerge as fully formed people and the film’s climax packs a major emotional punch.

‘What Lies Beneath’

Harrison Ford as Norman Spencer in What Lies Beneath
Harrison Ford as Norman Spencer in What Lies Beneath | 20th Century Fox

Do you remember this film? Most people don’t, but despite its lack of longevity, What Lies Beneath became one of the highest-grossing horror films of all time, mostly thanks to its cast. For every horror film like The Shining or The Silence of the Lambs that features A -List actors, there are dozens that feature no famous actors at all. What Lies Beneath had the box office advantage of two of the biggest stars of its day: Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer. It also didn’t hurt that the film’s director, Robert Zemeckis, had a long history of directing major blockbusters like Back to the Future, Forrest Gump, and Who’s Afraid of Roger Rabbit? Clearly, Zemeckis knows what people want to see.