Relatively speaking, horror movies don't scare up much action at the box office -- even around Halloween.
When you take a look at the 100 top-grossing U.S. films of all time, adjusted for inflation, there are only a few examples of the horror genre scattered among the bunch. The 1975 mother-of-all-blockbusters "Jaws" ranks No. 7 with $1.1 billion in receipts (adjust for inflation from $260 million), while the 1973 possession of Linda Blair in "The Exorcist" ranks No. 9 of all time with an inflation-adjusted $983 million in box office revenue ($232.9 million without the adjustment).
It gets scarce after that. If you generously consider 1984's "Ghostbusters" a "horror comedy," it comes in at No. 34 with $632.7 million (adjusted from $242.2 million). After that, it's only 1999's "The Sixth Sense" at No. 67 with $511.9 million (up from $293.5 million).
Sure, others like 1953's "House of Wax," 1954's "Rear Window," 1984's "Gremlins" and 1987's "Fatal Attraction" make the Top 200. However, when it comes to hardcore rated-R horror movies, there are very few that put up big numbers.
In the late '70s and early '80s, when Michael Myers, Leatherface, Freddy Kreuger and Jason Vorhees were all making their big-screen debuts, the PG-13 rating didn't exist. You either went for the R with as much blood and nudity as you could muster, or you aimed for PG and came away with something that looked like "Gremlins." That rating debuted in 1984, but the slasher genre had grown so accustomed to the freedoms that the R rating offered that it left PG-13 to more supernatural fare summer blockbusters looking to put a few more teens in the seats and naughty words on screen.
Even at their broadest, R-rated horror movies have a limited audience because of what the R means: Restricted. When you take everyone under the age of 17 out of the equation, and take their expendable income with them, you're paring off a whole lot of moviegoers. However, directors don't seem to mind all that much and still revel in the adult language, situations and gore that the genre provides. The following 25 horror movies were the genre's biggest box-office successes, according to Box Office Mojo. That said, don't be surprised if some of them appear on this list for being slightly less than horrific:
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