Top 10 Horror Movie Franchises

One of our favorite pastimes is getting scared watching films that make us fear for the safety of the characters, while making us feel like we're in mortal danger. From slashers to ghosts and zombies, there have been no shortage of terror-ific horror films. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down the Top 10 Horror Movie Franchises. Just to be clear, we’re only including movies with more than one sequel, and balancing iconic status, popularity and box office might.
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Top 10 Horror Movie Franchises


These are the frightening are a cut above the rest. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down the Top 10 Horror Movie Franchises.

Just to be clear, we’re only including movies with more than one sequel, and balancing iconic status, popularity and box office might.

#10: "Scream" (1996-2011)


Kicking off our list is the Wes Craven creation that spanned four instalments, and even played foundation to a scary movie parody. Focusing on various psychopathic serial killers taking turns with the Ghostface identity, it made an impact with its self-reflexive style that played with horror conventions and kept viewers guessing until the end. Four films together managed over 604 million at the box office.

#9: “Child’s Play” (1988-)


Everyone knows that dolls can be creepy as hell, and this is perhaps the franchise that started that. In the Child’s Play movies, this particular doll has become possessed with the soul of Chucky, a voodoo practicing serial killer. Making us all fear inanimate objects and children’s playthings, the series and its terrifying little “good guy” doll remains a horror staple, raking up 182 million over several instalments.

#8: "Final Destination" (2000-)


A relatively new horror draw, this one is unique for having no masked killer, but instead focuses on an unseen influence of death itself that singles out those who have escaped his master schemes. A series know for its over the top creativity, how the characters will die is often more important than if (there’s hardly ever an if). Death has been busy, because it’s box office has ben making a killing, currently siting at over 665 million.

#7: "Paranormal Activity" (2009-)


If there ever was proof that psychological scares are much more effective than buckets of gore, this would be it. A phenomenon when released, this found footage phenomenon has gone on to spur sequels in rapid succession. A 714 million box office pull isn’t bad for a B-movie ghost series that makes people wet themselves by shaking lamps and slamming doors.

#6: “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (1974-)


This horror series didn’t just challenge you to guess who would survive, but what would be left of them. Its plot is centered on victims coming across a family of cannibals and their aptly named chainsaw wielding member son, leather face. While it was marketed as based on a true story, that was thankfully a bit of a stretch. Seven films later, and it’s pulled in over 235 million from sadistic moviegoers.

#5: “Saw” (2004-2010)


While few imagined the original and inventive torture porn in the series would even get one sequel, it quickly triggered seven instalments, making a killing at the box office at 873 million dollars. Moviegoers really are twisted, as they couldn’t get enough of Jigsaw, his apprentices and the harrowing traps in which he places his ungrateful victims.

#4: George Romero’s “Dead” Series (1968-)


Next up are the influential and definitive zombie films written and directed by the master himself. With the Night going into the Dawn, Day and so forth, this horror franchise is especially noteworthy for the social commentary that’s sown into each shambling bite-fest. There would really be no zombie genre without Romero’s “dead” series, and they’ve resurrected 170 million to show for it.

#3: “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984-2003/2010-)


Horror films are meant to effect their viewers on the subconscious level, and Wes Craven’s nightmare franchise do that in a literal sense. Rather than having a killer that stalks by night, Freddy Kruger tormented his victims them whenever they closed their eyes. Sealing the legendary status of the franchise was the killer’s iconic look, from his horrific burns to his claws, striped sweater and fedora. With eight instalments plus a remake, it’s pulled in 457 million to date.

#2: “Halloween” (1978-2002/2007-)


This slasher is a favorite for focusing on the horrors committed by notably simple mask-wearing psychopath with a blade. Institutionalized as a child, Michael escaped to hunt down his sister, and whoever’s unlucky enough to be around at the time, while being pursued by his psychiatrist through Haddonfield, Illinois. While the series tried transitioning into a more general holiday themed franchise in number 3, John Carpenter’s iconic villain returned for another five instalments, before reboot-itis set in. The box office currently sits at nearly 367 million.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

#1: “Friday the 13th” (1980-2003/2009-)


Was there any doubt? Taking the top spot on our list is the franchise centered on the undead killer from Crystal Lake with major mommy issues, who has made it an annual tradition to stab horny teenagers. With ten movies, plus a Freddy crossover, and a reboot, the franchise hasn’t just raked up over 465 million at the box office, but made hockey masks fair game as Halloween costume for decades.

Agree with our list? Which horror franchise made you afraid to be alone? For more frightening top 10s, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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