The 10 Highest-Grossing Horror Films Of The 80s, Ranked

The 1980’s was a great decade for films. Lots of classics came out during that time, and many of them were horror films. One very successful scary movie that was released during that time was Twilight Zone: The Movie, which featured strange tales that were similar to what made the original television series as famous as it is today.

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Another great one is An American Werewolf In London, which was released in 1981. It’s hard to forget the classic scene during which the lead character transforms into a werewolf in his apartment. But those are not even close to being on the list of the most successful horror films of the 1980’s. Here are the highest-grossing horror movies that came out during those years.

10 A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master - $49,369,899

There Nightmare On Elm Street film series is pretty long, and many of the films have been rather successful at the box office, which is the case for the fourth installment in the series, which brought in $49,369,899 in America. This one was called A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master.

In the previous film, it appeared as though the main character in the series, Freddy Kreuger, had passed away. But the plotline for this film revolved around his resurrection, as well as a character named Alice, who has a special supernatural power that he takes advantage of.

9 Pet Sematary - $57,469,467

This film adaptation of author Stephen King’s classic book Pet Sematary brought in $57,469,467 domestically. This film almost doesn’t count as a 1980’s movie at all, considering the fact that it came out during the very last year in that decade.

This movie is definitely a very creepy one. The film centers around a man who discovers a burial ground that has been there for a very long time. What makes it even creepier is the fact that this burial ground is behind his house, and it contains a very special power: it can raise the dead. This film was so popular that it was recently remade.

8 Predator - $59,735,548

In the United States, the film Predator managed to rake it approximately $59,735,548. The film was released in America on June 14, 1987, and it made over $12,000,000 during its’ opening weekend alone.

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The star of this movie is actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and it is probably one of his most popular films to date. It is very easy to see why this movie was such a financial success, since it introduced a great movie monster that no one was familiar with at the time. It’s also pretty hard to forget the creepy sound the creature makes during some scenes in this movie.

7 Beetlejuice - $73,707,461

Beetlejuice managed to bring in $73,707,461 domestically, making it one of the most financially successful spooky movies of the 1980’s. This movie is great, and it has a star-studded cast as well.

Just a few of the well-known people that make an appearance in this film are Geena Davis, Alec Baldwin, Catherine O’Hara, and Winona Ryder. The lead character in the movie is plated by Michael Keaton.

But the film almost didn’t have many of those actors in it, since a lot of them initially thought that the script was too strange for them. The only one who agreed to do it right away was Geena Davis.

6 Poltergeist - $76,606,280

There are lots of interesting facts about the film Poltergeist, including the fact that it managed to earn approximately $76,606,280 across America. That’s a lot of money, especially for a horror film.

During that time, scary movies usually did not make as much as some of the films in other genres did, so this was a pretty big deal. There are lots of other fun facts about this movie as well. One of the actresses that was in it believes that she was staying in a haunted apartment. Whenever she came home, something would usually be out of place, such as a photograph.

5 The Golden Child - $79,817,937

The Golden Child managed to bring in $79,817,937 domestically. This movie is a bit different than some of the other spooky films from the 1980’s since it definitely has quite a bit of humor in it (the fact that the star is Eddie Murphy is probably a big clue that this movie is at least a little bit funny).

But it falls into the horror category because of some of the subject matter in the movie. The lead character is a detective, and the main focus of his career is finding children who are lost. He later finds out that he was chosen to protect a certain supernatural character.

4 Aliens - $85,160,248

Aliens is the sequel to the wildly popular horror film Alien, and it earned $85,160,248 domestically. The first film was released to theaters in America in 1979, but this film, which is the first of many sequels to that one, came out on July 18th, 1986.

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During its’ opening weekend, the movie brought in more than $10,000,000 in the box office, which is quite a lot of money. Another interesting fact is that this movie was nominated for numerous Oscars, and it actually ended up winning two of them, which is really rare for a horror film, especially during that time.

3 Ghostbusters II - $112,494,738

When the sequel to Ghostbusters was in movie theaters, it raked in a domestic total of $112,494,738. It’s pretty easy to see why audiences were so drawn to this movie. The first one had a wonderful cast, and it was lots of fun to watch, and the same is true for Ghostbusters II.

It’s hard for a movie to be a financial flop when it has stars in it like Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, Dan Aykroyd, and Ernie Hudson in it. The cast alone is enough to convince some people to go buy a ticket. But the first movie was still a bit more successful.

2 Gremlins - $148,168,459

It seems that a lot of people can agree that Gremlins is a pretty awesome film, since it earned a whopping $148,168,459 while it was in theaters in America. Aside from the amount of money the movie brought in, there are some other really cool things about it that most fans probably don’t know as well.

One of them is the fact that one of the stars of the film was actually made up to look older, since he had some very youthful looking skin. Another interesting fact about this movie is that some of it was filmed in the same spot where some scenes for Back To The Future were filmed as well.

1 Ghostbusters - $229,242,989

The original Ghostbusters was so popular that it brought in a domestic total of $229,242,989 during its’ theatrical run, which makes it the highest-grossing horror movie of the 1980’s. The film hit theaters back in 1984, and it has been extremely popular ever since then.

The original film spawned a sequel shortly after it was released, and then it was remade just a few years ago. But the remake was not quite as successful as the original film. But the Ghostbusters movies are still being made, since another sequel is currently in the works. Not much is known about the new film except for the fact that it has some of the cast members from the original movie in it, as well as Finn Wolfhard and Paul Rudd.

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