1.The Sixth Sense (1999): $293.5 million
The most successful of M. Night Shyamalan’s films, The Sixth Sense made “I see dead people” a cultural catchphrase.
2.Jaws (1975): $260 million
The success of Jaws shows how suspense and character development are much more crucial to generating fear than special effects. The titular beast was rarely even seen on screen because of technical difficulties.
3.I Am Legend (2007): $256 million
The Will Smith vehicle is actually quite terrifying not due to its monsters but rather its depiction of dystopia.
4.War of the Worlds (2005): $235 million
At the time of release, the film’s couch-jumping star Tom Cruise was an example of why all press isn’t necessarily good press. Nonetheless, this modern take on the H.G. Wells novel set records for both Cruise and Steven Spielberg.
5.The Exorcist (1973): $232.9 million
The oldest film on the list, The Exorcist is the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time (when adjusted for inflation). Some theaters actually provided barf bags for theatergoers.
6.Signs (2002): $227 million
Oh hey, another appearance from Shyamalan. Though the alien invasion film didn’t reach the heights of The Sixth Sense, the Mel Gibson thriller still dominated at the box office.
7.World War Z (2013): $202 million
Loosely based on the novel of the same name, World War Z had a bumpy road to its release. If you didn’t get your fill of Brad Pitt fighting zombies the first time around, the sequel is scheduled for June 9, 2017.
8.Hannibal (2001): $165 million
The eagerly anticipated sequel to The Silence of the Lambs didn’t earn the original’s critical acclaim but it still brought in a massive audience. Notably, Jodie Foster did not reprise her role of Clarice Starling and Julianne Moore played the part in Hannibal.
9.What Lies Beneath (2000): $155.4 million
Featuring Michelle Pfeiffer and Harrison Ford, this starry flick did well despite its mediocre reception.
10.The Mummy (1999): $155.3 million
The first of the Brenden Fraser-led trilogy, The Mummy was more delightful than disturbing.
11.Gremlins (1984): $153 million
Believe it or not, Gremlins is actually partially responsible for the rise of the PG-13 rating. There are rumors of a Gremlins reboot on the rise.
12.The Blair Witch Project (1999): $140.5 million
It’s doubtful that The Blair Witch Project could have passed for actual found-footage in this day and age, but the hype definitely worked its magic in 1999. It’s also one of the most successful independent films of all time.
13.The Conjuring (2013): $137.4 million
Oddly enough, this period piece is the most recent film on the list. Despite its relative lack of gore, the sheer scariness of the film earned The Conjuring an R-rating.
14. The Silence of the Lambs (1991): $131 million
The suspense and rich tension between Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster made The Silence of the Lambs truly terrifying without much bloodshed onscreen. The serial killer thriller was also a critical darling and won five major Oscars.
15. The Ring (2002): $129 million
This take on a Japanese ghost story is also the highest-grossing horror remake of all time. Other remakes of Asian supernatural horror films, including The Grudge, largely failed to match The Ring’s critical and commercial success.