Top 50 Highest-Grossing 1980s Horror Films

by IMDb-Editors | last updated - 05 Oct 2017

Check out the horror films - including comedy horror - that ruled the U.S. box office in the 1980s.

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Don McLeod in The Howling (1981)

50. The Howling (1981)

Domestic Gross: $17,985,893

Plot: After a bizarre and near fatal encounter with a serial killer, a television newswoman is sent to a remote mountain resort whose residents may not be what they seem.

Martin Sheen in The Believers (1987)

49. The Believers (1987)

Domestic Gross: $18,753,438

Plot: A New York psychiatrist finds that a satanic cult, which believes in child sacrifice, has a keen interest in his own son.

Demi Moore in The Seventh Sign (1988)

48. The Seventh Sign (1988)

Domestic Gross:

Plot: Around the world, the signs of the apocalypse - as outlined in the Book of Revelation - seem to be coming to pass in the wake of a mysterious wanderer. Father Lucci, the Vatican Emissary assigned to investigate, dismisses the occurrences as natural, but Abby Quinn, a young American woman, has reason to fear they're real, and that the unfolding events may spell disaster for her unborn child.

Kane Hodder in Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)

47. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)

Domestic Gross: $19,170,001

Plot: Years after Tommy Jarvis chained him underwater at Camp Crystal Lake, the dormant Jason Voorhees returns to the camp grounds when he is accidentally released from his prison by a telekinetic teenager.

William Katt in House (1985)

46. House (1985)

Domestic Gross: $19,444,631

Plot: A troubled writer moves into a haunted house after inheriting it from his aunt.

C.J. Graham in Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)

45. Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI (1986)

Domestic Gross: $19,472,057

Plot: Tommy Jarvis goes to the graveyard to get rid of Jason Voorhees' body once and for all, but inadvertently brings him back to life instead. The newly revived killer once again seeks revenge, and Tommy may be the only one who can defeat him.

Bill Pullman in The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)

44. The Serpent and the Rainbow (198)

Domestic Gross: $19,595,031

Plot: An anthropologist goes to Haiti after hearing rumors about a drug used by black magic practitioners to turn people into zombies.

Kurt Russell in The Thing (1982)

43. The Thing (1982)

Domestic Gross: $19,629,760

Plot: A research facility in Antarctica comes across an alien force that can become anything it touches with 100% accuracy. The members must now find out who's human and who's not before it's too late.

William Hurt and Bob Balaban in Altered States (1980)

42. Altered States (1980)

Domestic Gross: $19,853,892

Plot: A Harvard scientist conducts experiments on himself with a hallucinatory drug and an isolation chamber that may be causing him to regress genetically.

Eric Stoltz in The Fly II (1989)

41. The Fly II (1989)

Domestic Gross: $20,021,322

Plot: The almost-human son of "Brundlefly" searches for a cure to his mutated genes while being monitored by a nefarious corporation that wishes to continue his father's experiments.

Sam Neill in The Final Conflict (1981)

40. The Final Conflict: Omen III (1981)

Domestic Gross: $20,471,382

Plot: The now adult Antichrist plots to eliminate his future divine opponent while a cabal of monks plot to stop him.

Mario Van Peebles in Jaws: The Revenge (1987)

39. Jaws IV: The Revenge (1987)

Domestic Gross: $20,763,013

Plot: Chief Brody's widow believes that her family is deliberately being targeted by another shark in search of revenge.

Christopher Walken in The Dead Zone (1983)

38. The Dead Zone (1983)

Domestic Gross: $20,766,616

Plot: A man awakens from a coma to discover he has a psychic ability.

Keith Gordon in Christine (1983)

37. Christine (1983)

Domestic Gross: $21,017,849

Plot: A nerdish boy buys a strange car with an evil mind of its own and his nature starts to change to reflect it.

Leslie Nielsen and Ted Danson in Creepshow (1982)

36. Creepshow (1982)

Domestic Gross: $21,028,755

Plot: An anthology which tells five terrifying tales based on the E.C. horror comic books of the 1950s.

Cujo (1983)

35. Cujo (1983)

Domestic Gross: $21,156,152

Plot: Cujo, a friendly St. Bernard, contracts rabies and conducts a reign of terror on a small American town.

Hal Holbrook and Rob Bottin in The Fog (1980)

34. The Fog (1980)

Domestic Gross: $21,378,361

Plot: Legend says that Antonio Bay was built in 1880 with blood money obtained from shipwrecked lepers, which no one believes. On the eve of the town's centennial, many plan to attend the celebrations, including the murdered lepers.

Amy Steel in Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)

33. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)

Domestic Gross: $21,722,776

Plot: Mrs. Voorhees is dead, and Camp Crystal Lake is shut down, but a camp next to the infamous place is stalked by an unknown assailant.

Tom Morga and John Shepherd in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985)

32. Friday the 13th - Part V (1985)

Domestic Gross: $21,930,418

Plot: Still haunted by his past, Tommy Jarvis - who, as a child, killed Jason Voorhees - wonders if the serial killer is connected to a series of brutal murders occurring in and around the secluded halfway house where he now lives.

Robert Englund in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

31. A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)

Domestic Gross: $22,168,359

Plot: The pregnant Alice finds Freddy Krueger striking through the sleeping mind of her unborn child, hoping to be reborn into the real world.

Fred Astaire in Ghost Story (1981)

30. Ghost Story (1981)

Domestic Gross: $23,371,905

Plot: Two generations of men find themselves haunted by the presence of a spectral woman. When the son of one of the elderly men returns to his hometown after his brother's mysterious death, they attempt to unravel her story.

Roddy McDowall in Fright Night (1985)

29. Fright Night (1985)

Domestic Gross: $24,922,237

Plot: When a teenager learns that his next door neighbour is a vampire, no one will believe him.

Robert Englund in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

28. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Domestic Gross: $25,504,513

Plot: Several people are hunted by a cruel serial killer who kills his victims in their dreams. While the survivors are trying to find the reason for being chosen, the murderer won't lose any chance to kill them as soon as they fall asleep.

Dick Warlock and Anne Bruner in Halloween II (1981)

27. Halloween II (1981)

Domestic Gross: $25,533,818

Plot: While Sheriff Brackett and Dr. Loomis hunt for Michael Myers, a traumatized Laurie is rushed to hospital, and the serial killer is not far behind her.

Cherie Currie in Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)

26. Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)

Domestic Gross: $29,450,919

Plot: Four horror and science fiction segments, directed by four famous directors, each of them being a new version of a classic story from Rod Serling's landmark television series.

Robert Englund and Mark Patton in A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985)

25. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985)

Domestic Gross: $29,999,213

Plot: A teenage boy is haunted in his dreams by Freddy Krueger who is out to possess him in order to continue his murder spree in the real world.

David Naughton in An American Werewolf in London (1981)

24. An American Werewolf in London (1981)

Domestic Gross: $30,565,292

Plot: Two American college students on a walking tour of Britain are attacked by a werewolf that none of the locals will admit exists.

Kiefer Sutherland in The Lost Boys (1987)

23. The Lost Boys (1987)

Domestic Gross: $32,222,567

Plot: After moving to a new town, two brothers discover that the area is a haven for vampires.

Ted White in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)

22. Friday the 13th: Final Chapter (1984)

Domestic Gross: $32,980,880

Plot: After being mortally wounded and taken to the morgue, murderer Jason Voorhees spontaneously revives and embarks on a killing spree as he makes his way back to his home at Camp Crystal Lake.

Michael J. Fox in Teen Wolf (1985)

21. Teen Wolf (1985)

Domestic Gross: 33,086,611

Plot: An ordinary high school student discovers that his family has an unusual pedigree when he finds himself turning into a werewolf.

Brad Dourif in Child's Play (1988)

20. Child's Play (1988)

Domestic Gross: $33,244,684

Plot: A single mother gives her son a much sought after doll for his birthday, only to discover that it is possessed by the soul of a serial killer.

Richard Brooker and Dana Kimmell in Friday the 13th Part III (1982)

19. Friday the 13th Part III (1982)

Domestic Gross: $34,581,519

Plot: Having revived from his wound, Jason Voorhees takes refuge at a cabin near Crystal Lake. As a group of co-eds arrive for their vacation, Jason continues his killing spree.

Anthony Perkins in Psycho II (1983)

18. Psycho II (1983)

Domestic Gross: $34,725,000

Plot: After 22 years of psychiatric care, Norman Bates attempts to return to a life of solitude, but the spectres of his crimes - and his mother - continue to haunt him.

Betsy Palmer in Friday the 13th (1980)

17. Friday the 13th (1980)

Domestic Gross: $39,754,601

Plot: A group of camp counselors are stalked and murdered by an unknown assailant while trying to reopen a summer camp which, years before, was the site of a child's drowning.

Jeff Goldblum in The Fly (1986)

16. The Fly (1980)

Domestic Gross: $40,456,565

Plot: A brilliant but eccentric scientist begins to transform into a giant man/fly hybrid after one of his experiments goes horribly wrong.

Heather O'Rourke, JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson, Oliver Robins, and Zelda Rubinstein in Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986)

15. Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986)

Domestic Gross: $40,996,665

Plot: The Freeling family have a new house, but their troubles with supernatural forces don't seem to be over.

Jack Nicholson in The Shining (1980)

14. The Shining (1980)

Domestic Gross: $44,017,374

Plot: A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil and spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future.

Robert Englund and Heather Langenkamp in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

13. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

Domestic Gross: $44,793,222

Plot: A psychiatrist familiar with knife-wielding dream demon Freddy Krueger helps teens at a mental hospital battle the killer who is invading their dreams.

Jaws 3-D (1983)

12. Jaws 3-D (1983)

Domestic Gross: $45,517,055

Plot: The sons of police chief Brody must protect civilians at a SeaWorld theme park after a 35-foot shark becomes trapped in the park with them.

Robert Englund and Tuesday Knight in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)

11. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)

Domestic Gross: $49,369,899

Plot: The last girl from Elm Street is still bothered by dreams about Freddy; soon he returns and kills her, but before she died she wills her power to a new friend.

Pet Sematary (1989)

10. Pet Sematary (1989)

Domestic Gross: $57,469,467

Plot: Behind a young family's home in Maine is a terrible secret that holds the power of life after death. When tragedy strikes, the threat of that power soon becomes undeniable.

Kevin Peter Hall in Predator (1987)

9. Predator (1987)

Domestic Gross: $59,735,548

Plot: A team of commandos on a mission in a Central American jungle find themselves hunted by an extra-terrestrial warrior.

Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Susan Sarandon, and Cher at an event for The Witches of Eastwick (1987)

8. The Witches of Eastwick (1987)

Domestic Gross: $63,766,510

Plot: Three single women in a picturesque village have their wishes granted - at a cost - when a mysterious and flamboyant man arrives in their lives.


7. Beetlejuice (1988)

Domestic Gross: $73,707,461

Plot: When a recently-deceased ghost couple find their now-vacant home invaded by an obnoxious family, they hire a sleazy ghost who gets rid of humans to help them.

Heather O'Rourke in Poltergeist (1982)

6. Poltergeist (1982)

Domestic Gross: $76,606,280

Plot: A family's home is haunted by a host of ghosts.

Eddie Murphy in The Golden Child (1986)

5. The Golden Child (1986)

Domestic Gross: $79,817,937

Plot: A private detective specializing in missing children is charged with the task of finding a special child who dark forces want to eliminate.

Sigourney Weaver and Carrie Henn in Aliens (1986)

4. Aliens (1986)

Domestic Gross: $85,160,248

Plot: 57 years later, Ellen Ripley is rescued by a deep salvage team during her hypersleep. The moon from the original movie has been colonized, but contact is lost. This time, colonial marines have impressive firepower, but will that be enough?

Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson in Ghostbusters II (1989)

3. Ghostbusters II (1989)

Domestic Gross: $112,494,738

Plot: The discovery of a massive river of ectoplasm and a resurgence of spectral activity allows the staff of Ghostbusters to revive the business.

Gremlins (1984)

2. Gremlins (1984)

Domestic Gross: $148,168,459

Plot: A boy inadvertently breaks three important rules concerning his new pet and unleashes a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters on a small town.

Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson in Ghostbusters (1984)

1. Ghostbusters (1984)

Domestic Gross: $229,242,989

Plot: Three former parapsychology professors set up shop as a unique ghost removal service.