Demons, dolls, rampaging maniacs and things that go bump in the night—everyone likes a good scare, right?
With superheroes flying faster than a speeding bullet and leaping over box offices in a single bound, it's easy to forget that one of Hollywood's more lucrative genres is horror. Indeed, Halloween coincides with the time of the year that Tinseltown normally floods screens with slasher/horror fare, which in the process becomes a huge cash cow for the movie industry.
In fact, some of the most iconic movies ever made have sprung from a well of imagination filled with blood and gore, and launched a number of careers in the process. This fall, box office champs have included three horror movies: "Annabelle," "Ouija" and "Dracula Untold." Collectively, the trio have reaped more than $150 million dollars during October alone, according to Box Office Mojo.com.
The forerunners of those movies include classic horror franchises that turned Michael Myers, Jason Vorhees and of course, Freddie Krueger, into household names, and went on to make much more than the cost of making them. CNBC took a look at several of the most famous (and lucrative) horror films of the last 40 years, showing why scary movies retain such a stranglehold on the public's imagination.
—By CNBC's Javier E. David
Posted 1 Nov. 2014