Horror Movie Reviews: Top 10 Highest-Grossing Horror Movies Of All-Time

The horror movie genre is hotly in demand this month as Halloween lurks around the corner. While the 2017 adaptation of Stephen King’s It is undoubtedly the most buzzed-about horror movie of the year, and Pennywise is expected to become everyone’s go-to costume for Halloween, it hasn’t quite conquered the No. 1 spot in the Top 10 Highest-Grossing Horror Movies list of all time. In this listing, the films will be ranked based on their global ticket sales.

10. Van Helsing

No. 10 on the list is the 2004 action adventure film Van Helsing, starring Hugh Jackman in the titular role. Despite earning $300.25 million worldwide, the film received mostly negative reviews. Critics perceived it as a CGI-loaded movie with a hollow plot. Although based on a rich material headlined by some of the most feared monsters in literature, Van Helsing failed to tie loose ends and weave a coherent story.

9. The Conjuring

James Wan’s The Conjuring set in motion a horror movie franchise of sorts inspired by the real-life story of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. The 2013 film netted $318 million worldwide on a $20 million production budget, Box Office Mojo reported.

It amassed generally positive reviews, with Rotten Tomatoes giving it an 86 percent approval rating. Because of its unprecedented success, it spawned two sequels and spin-offs.

8. The Conjuring 2

Following the success of The Conjuring in 2013, James Wan delivered The Conjuring 2 in 2016. The sophomore outing grossed $320.2 million worldwide. The film continues one of the cases handled by the Warrens, this time involving the murders at the Amityville house.

One of the factors that drew people into The Conjuring series is the alleged supernatural occurrences that took place during the film’s production. According to Cinema Blend, actress Vera Farmiga, who played Lorraine Warren in the movies, discovered three claw mark bruises on her thigh shortly after completing the first film.

7. Se7en

The 1995 film Se7en is a star-studded crime thriller featuring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman. It grossed $327.3 million worldwide and earned a generally favorable response. The follows two cops that investigate a set of murders inspired by the seven deadly sins. Se7en is a balanced mix of action and shock factor, with carefully executed portrayals from its leading men.

6. Hannibal

Hannibal is the 2001 sequel to the Academy Award-winning film The Silence of the Lambs. In the follow-up, Anthony Hopkins returns as Hannibal Lecter, who is arguably on the most iconic villain and serial killer in movie history.

Hannibal scored $351.6 million at the box office. However, unlike The Silence of the Lambs, the sequel received negative reviews. While the film maintained the creepy and gory scenes as well as displays of witty dialogue, Hannibal failed to equal, much less exceed, its predecessor.

5. It

It is arguably the biggest blockbuster to hit theaters in 2017 and will also go down in history as one of the most talked-about horror films. The Andres Muschietti-directed movie grossed $404.3 million worldwide. It made its lead star Bill Skarsgard a household name.


The movie, which in part is a coming of age story, properly delivered the right amount of scare in an emotionally-driven story. Pennywise himself is a nightmare of exponential proportions—he is a collection of all things terrifying and everyone’s deepest, darkest fears.

4. Signs

Signs earned $408.2 million at the global box office and scored positive reviews from viewers and critics. One of the film’s allure is its soundtrack, which ups the thrill in the supernatural encounter in the film. The soundtrack picks up the tension in the film and subtly alternates between suspenseful and menacing.

3. The Exorcist

The 1973 classic film The Exorcist still reigns supreme in the horror movie department, grossing $441.3 million globally and without taking inflation into account. The Exorcist, for many of its viewers, remains the scariest film of all time. For some, the film is almost impossible to sit through due to its grotesque special effects and somewhat disturbing nature.

Over the years, the film has maintained its solid reputation as a horror classic. It holds an 86 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

2. Jaws

What sets Jaws apart from the others in this list is quite obvious—its scare factor comes from a gargantuan animal and not a product of supernatural entities and occurrences. Nevertheless, the supersized great white shark in Jaws is as terrifying as vampires, ghosts, and ghouls combined. This Steven Spielberg film took home $470.6 million worldwide.

Like Signs, Jaws’ scare factor also comes in part from its soundtrack. The John Williams-composed score for its main theme is perhaps one of the most recognizable movie scores in history. Jaws quickly became a cultural phenomenon and was followed by three sequels.

1. The Sixth Sense

Another M. Night Shyamalan entry is The Sixth Sense, which starred Haley Joel Osment as a young boy who can see and talk to dead people. The film solidified Shyamalan’s reputation as a writer and director. Shyamalan is known for his signature surprise plot twist at the end of his films, and The Sixth Sense is no different.

The movie netted $672.8 million worldwide and picked up multiple Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. Osment also received profound praise for his acting.

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