Recent, Successful Horror Movies to Help Get Your Fright On

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Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren work to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in their farmhouse. Forced to confront a powerful entity, the Warrens find themselves caught in the most terrifying case of their lives.
Photo Credit: New Line Cinema
October 29th, 2013

Recent, Successful Horror Movies to Help Get Your Fright On

Whether it's time to load the DVD player with scary movies for October's fright-filled holiday, or the gang feels like an anytime monster-movie marathon, it's easy to fall into the habit of selecting classics such as "The Shining" or "The Exorcist." For updated terror and chills, viewers can pick something that hasn't been seen a dozen times. These five recent horror movies provide a great place to start. One of these movies is the most successful horror movie of the past two years.

"Texas Chainsaw 3D" started 2013 with a modern take on classic horror. It debuted in January 2013. Instead of boring viewers with a remake of the original cult-classic horror movie, "Texas Chainsaw 3D" picks up over twenty years after the events of the first movie. The film follows Heather, who has received a strange land inheritance in a small Texas town. She travels to the town to find out she's inherited the Sawyer mansion and estate, but she and her travel companions are in for a huge surprise. They discover additional horrors are linked to the property. Part of what makes "Texas Chainsaw 3D" such a successful modern horror flick is its tie to a much-loved, and feared, classic.

In what many called the most frightening modern horror movie, two children are found in a cabin in the woods five years after they disappeared following their parents' deaths. "Mama" was released on January 18, 2013 and promptly stole some thunder from "Texas Chainsaw 3D." The creepy ghost story about two children being raised and protected by a vengeful ghost with an almost mommy-dearest attitude is enough to raise goose bumps on most arms. The fact that the story carries a realistic and compelling emotional element helps bring this ghost story to success. "Mama" has become a much-watch film for horror enthusiasts of all ages.

Drawing on the wild success of paranormal investigation shows and the previous box office wins of movies such as "Paranormal Activity," in July 2013 director James Wan brought movie audiences "The Conjuring." The movie tells the story of Roger and Carolyn Perron and their family. The Perrons live in an old farmhouse in Rhode Island. Since 1971, the family has experienced terrors associated with the property. When the fear hits the fan, they finally call in notable paranormal investigators Lorraine and Ed Warren. The plot escalates as the Warrens deal with a satanic presence and strive to rid the property of a long-term haunting. The result is a disturbing, terror-filled, and often violent movie that shoots straight to the quivering hearts of horror fans.

Released in theaters on April 13, 2012, "The Cabin in the Woods" combines two elements to create a successful box office debut and guaranteed long-term video success. First, the filmmakers use traditional horror elements that allow older viewers to be nostalgic for the teenagers-in-the-woods terror of the '80s. Second, the involvement of Joss Whedon brings an enormous following to the movie, based on his pop-cult success with series like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Firefly." Add to the mix a crew that includes Chris Hemsworth, Kristen Connolly, and Anna Hutchinson, throw in a mysterious cabin and a family of zombie killers, and you've got a movie that's likely to appear on video store racks for decades. "The Cabin in the Woods" is especially successful because it ties all those horror elements together in a cohesive story that doesn't make viewers cheer too hard for the death of each character.

There's just something about possessed children that makes movies especially frightening. From "Pet Cemetery" to "The Exorcist," movies have been playing this angle up to horrify audiences for decades. In August 2012, "The Possession" hit the big screen to do it all again with a story of a little girl named Em, an antique box, and an evil spirit. A divorced dad tries to deal with the issues, but he's thwarted by his ex-wife and her boyfriend. Despite a restraining order, he continues trying to find help for Em. In the end, the family has to come together to resolve the demonic possession with the help of outside experts.

To name the most successful recent horror movie requires a scale for success. Over the years, each movie will see different types of success, and many viewers might argue that "Mama" and "The Cabin in the Woods" are going to win in the long run. However, based on the first box-office weekend, "The Conjuring" is the most successful recent horror movie. Not only did it bring in over $41 million the first weekend but it also broke the record for an original, R-rated horror movie's weekend debut.