Sunday, July 29, 2007

Highest-grossing horror movies of all time - by special request

You can tell just from the name of this blog that I'm a big horror movie fan, which is why I've been trying to defend certain titles and filmmakers against mainstream disdain - even though horror is almost by definition an outsider phenomenon, beyond the pale of what a mainstream audience typically wants out of a movie. But of course there are exceptions. This is a list of the highest-grossing horror movies of all time, adjusted for inflation:

1. Jaws
2. The Exorcist
3. The Sixth Sense
4. Psycho
5. Gremlins
6. Jaws 2
7. House of Wax (1953)
8. The Amityville Horror (1979)
9. Alien
10. The Silence of the Lambs
11. Hannibal
12. What Lies Beneath
13. The Omen (1976)
14. The Blair Witch Project
15. Interview with the Vampire
16. Poltergeist
17. Scream
18. Seven
19. The Ring
20. Scream 2
(revised - 21. Halloween
22. Bram Stoker's Dracula
23. Sleepy Hollow)

These rankings are adapted from a list off of, which for some reason included action/horror hybrids like The Mummy(1999) and Van Helsing, but not Gremlins or the two Hannibal Lecter movies, which I feel are a better fit. But this kind of genre slipperiness is to be expected, because in order for a horror movie to make a lot of money, it probably has to be more than just scary (half of these movies have happy endings), and so at the top of the list are dramas like The Sixth Sense and adventure movies like Jaws. I could have also included Jurassic Park or Signs or hell, Fatal Attraction, but they didn't feel right. Also, I think the list is incomplete - I'm pretty sure that Psycho, adjusted for inflation, should show up here, as well as the likes of Rosemary's Baby, The Birds, or even the original Universal Dracula or Frankenstein.

I've been wanting to write up a list of what I think are the 50 best horror movies of all time and make it a running series on this blog (I need to see some more Asian horror classics before I feel right in doing that) but for now I'll say that nine of these movies would definitely be on that list - Jaws, Exorcist, Gremlins, Alien, Blair Witch, Seven, Halloween, Silence of the Lambs, and The Ring.


frankbooth said...


Not a bad list, quality-wise. A few surprises. The only films on it I really dislike are the silly and redundant Jaws 2 and the just plain silly Amityville Horror (though I'm sure the recent remake makes it look like a classic.) I can't believe it outgrossed Alien.

Sleepy Hollow and Dracula were both great production design movies that are fun to look at despite their other failings. You may disagree with last part of that statement -- I think I heard you say you're a Burton fan.

Yeah, Psycho and Rosemary's Baby seem like they ought to be included. According to this site, Psycho made nearly 260 mil adjusted:

Speaking of Asian horror, have you seen Onibaba and/or Kwaidan? Both good ones. Jigoku is supposed to be as well, but I haven't seen it yet.

I see you like Blair Witch. So do I. I think the backlash was the result of the hype, people's expectations of something more graphic, and the fact that those foolish enough to believe
it was real felt burned when they discovered that it wasn't. I don't often feel truly uneasy at the movies, but that film did it to me. It was also a brilliant budget-saivng gimmick I wish I had thought of.

Looking forward to the list of 50 someday. I'm sure the fur will fly then -- especially if Hostel is on it.

Jeff McMahon said...

According to that site, Psycho goes into fourth place, and the original House of Wax goes into sixth place, which tells me that there are plenty of other older movies that need to populate the list. I'm going to update it accordingly.

I don't know if I've ever seen Jaws 2, and I do know that I've never seen Interview with the Vampire - I was always waiting to read the book first. If's not surprising that the original Amityville Horror would be a hit at the time. In Stephen King's Danse Macabre, he points out that it's a horror movie that was immensely relatable to audiences at the time, being largely about the horrors of buying a house that you can't afford which then self-destructs on you - a subtext that the new version didn't get.

Coppola's Dracula is entertaining, but it's clear that Coppola isn't really a horror director - it's too busy being visually impressive to be scary. I suppose one could say the same about Sleepy Hollow, but that movie has a lyrical quality that I love, plus a lot of interesting and weird things to do with patriarchy and the return of the repressed to make it one of my favorite Burton movies.

Onibaba, Kwaidan, and Jigoku are precisely the three movies I need to view before I can proceed with the big list (which will not contain Hostel - I like it, but it's not _that_ good.)

frankbooth said...

Those are the three? Lucky guesses on my part.

I think you'll find Interview (movie and book) fairly dull stuff.
The film is all about costumes and cheekbones. The most interesting thing about it now is seeing Kirsten Dunst as a child vampire (she still hasn't removed the jagged dentures) and Cruise's hammy, "overpraised because he wasn't as bad as expected" performance.

The book is a tough slog through stilted, flowery prose, though I did get caught up in it once I forced myself past the first chapter. Each subsequent volume is more fat and less story. Reading them is like being smothered beneath a ton of perfumed lace handkerchiefs dabbed with ketchup.

Jaws 2 is funny, but not half as much as Jaws: The Revenge, which is Night of the Lepus quality.

viagra online said...

this list is missing something, and have some not particular movie as Gremlins, what the hell are doing this movie in horror movie list like this? I better put Pocahontas in this list.

viagra online said...

I have watched these movies:The Silence of the Lambs,Hannibal,What Lies Beneat,The Omen (1976),The Blair Witch Project,Interview with the Vampire,Poltergeist and Scream. so I think that all are so horror.

Humberto said...

This is fantastic!