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Top 10 Most Influential Horror Films

Updated on September 24, 2011

This top 10 list of horror films focuses most on low budget films that were financial and critical successes. In these cases most of these films became series or were very influential on films that came after them.

Night Of The Living Dead
Night Of The Living Dead | Source


Created by George Romero, considered by most to be the original blueprint for all modern zombie films. The film was created on a budget of $114,000 eventually going on the make over 30 million. Romero went on to act as director and producer of many zombie films and even games that came after this project.

The Exorcist
The Exorcist | Source

2. THE EXORCIST (1973)

Made after the novel that was released in 1971 the film directed by William Friedkin went on the make $441 million at the box office. The story follows a young girl possessed by demons and her mothers attempt to have the demons exorcised.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Texas Chainsaw Massacre | Source


Created by Toby Hooper on a budget under $300,000 it went on to make over $30 million. The story follows a group of friends that fall victim to a family of cannibals. This film spawned sequels, remakes, video games and comic books.

The Omen
The Omen | Source

4. THE OMEN (1976)

Directed by Richard Donner and created on a budget of $2.8 million the film made $60 million. The story follows the switching at birth of a politicians stillborn child for that of a demonic infant.

Carrie | Source

5. CARRIE (1976)

Directed by Brian De Palma this film was created on a budget of $1.8 million and went on to make $33.8 million. The film follows the story of an outcast girl with psychic abilities which throughout the story and the high metal abuse she receives from her mother and peers turns to tragedy.

Halloween | Source

6. HALLOWEEN (1978)

Halloween was directed by John Carpenter and created on a budget of $325,000 and went on to make $47 million. The story follows Micheal Myers a young man who while a young child murdered his older sister stabbing her to death. After 15 years in an insane asylum he returns to his home town and resumes a murderous rampage.

Friday the 13th
Friday the 13th | Source

7. FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980)

Directed by Sean Cunningham and created on a budget of $550,000 the film went on to make almost $40 million. The story follows a group of teenagers who are attempting to reopen an abandoned campsite but someone doesn't want them too. The are murdered one by one throughout the slasher film.

Poltergeist | Source


Created by Steven Spielberg the film was done on a budget of $10.7 million and made over $121 million. The story follows the abduction of the youngest child of a suburban family by evil spirits that inhabit their home.

Nightmare on Elm Street
Nightmare on Elm Street | Source


Created by Wes Craven on a budget of $1.8 million and ended up making over $21 million. The film follows a group of teenagers that are being killed in their dreams by Fred Krueger, they don't know why they are being pursued but their parents hold the answer.

Child's Play
Child's Play | Source


Directed by Tom Holland on a budget of $9 million it went on to make over $44 million. The story surrounds the possession of the evil spirit of a murderer in a doll. Throughout the film the doll known as Chucky kills people until he is finally destroyed or so it seems. This film continues and becomes a series of films.


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