The 12 Most Popular Horror Series of All Time, New Data Shows
If you're looking to get spooked, check out one of these beloved horror franchises.
Sometimes the hardest thing about being a horror fan is narrowing down what movie to watch. Frankly, there are too many choices, from new releases to cult classics. And then there are the franchises—horror series that produce sequel after sequel, most often with the same killer stalking a new group of teens each time. Of course, there are exceptions to the slasher formula, and plenty of long-running franchises buck the most common trends. But which horror series is the most popular of all time?
To find out, gambling site CSGOLuck looked at Google keyword search data to determine which of these beloved franchises gets the most buzz. They ended up compiling a list of the top 12 most searched series, which truly run the gamut—there's something for all fans here. Wondering if your favorite made the ranking? Read on for the full list of the 12 most popular horror series of all time.
With 171,104 annual searches, Candyman earns a spot at the bottom of the list. That's not terribly surprising: The original Candyman earned positive reviews in 1992, but it was followed up by two largely forgotten sequels. And while the 2021 sequel/reboot was well received, we haven't seen the title character again since.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Beating out Candyman is the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise, which earns 183,984 annual searches. This is a much more expansive series, spanning from 1974's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre to 2022's similarly titled Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The latter got terrible reviews, but people seem to enjoy the new video game called—you guessed it—The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Freddy Krueger dominated the '80s and '90s in the Nightmare on Elm Street series. And even though Freddy hasn't been seen since 2010's disastrous reboot, the nine films, TV series, books, and comics that make up the Nightmare franchise still earn it 277,070 annual searches, according to CSGOLuck's report.
Talk about staying power. Chucky has been invading children's nightmares since 1988's Child's Play. Seven movies later, he's still going strong: USA's Chucky, which also airs on Syfy, is currently in its third season. Series creator Don Mancini has written every installment (save the 2019 reboot) and Brad Dourif has voiced the serial killer-possessed doll the whole way through. That consistency helps Child's Play get 310,009 annual searches.
A more recent franchise, The Purge picks up an impressive 350,417 searches every year. Like Child's Play, The Purge also got a TV series, though most people are more familiar with the five films that hit theaters from 2013 to 2021. A sixth movie is in development.
The only found footage franchise to earn a spot on the list of the most popular horror series, Paranormal Activity accounts for 358,478 annual searches. That's even more impressive when you consider that there hasn't been a Paranormal Activity movie in theaters since 2015's Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, which got abysmal reviews. More recently, Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin went straight to streaming in 2021, and was similarly maligned.
Friday the 13th
Like Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees was an '80s slasher mainstay whose appeal extended well into the next few decades. His franchise earns an even better 656,359 annual searches. Friday the 13th does have more films than Nightmare—12 in total, though Freddy vs. Jason is shared between them—and its 2009 reboot was slightly better received. Meanwhile, ongoing legal issues have put any future Jason movies in jeopardy.
Tied with The Purge for newest franchise on the list, The Conjuring represents an entire cinematic universe. Perhaps that's why it gets a healthy 1,286,478 annual searches. What began in 2013 with The Conjuring branched off into the Annabelle and Nun series. The most recent film, The Nun II, hit theaters in September.
The most recent Saw film, on the other hand, is still in theaters. And the aptly titled Saw X—the 10th movie in the franchise—earned the most positive reviews the series has seen. John Kramer may have died in the third movie, but his legend lives on. Just ask the Saw fans behind the 1,332,505 annual searches that CSGOLuck found.
Sorry, Freddy and Jason, Michael Myers has you both beat with 1,591,197 annual searches. Of the three classic '80s slasher villains, Michael does have the advantage of a more active franchise: The 13th Halloween movie, Halloween Ends, was released last year. And that title doesn't actually spell the conclusion of Michael's journey, of course. Just this month, Miramax bought the rights to bring The Shape back in a new TV series.
The Evil Dead
Wondering how the top two most popular horror series made it to these highly coveted spots? It probably helps that both had new movies out in 2023. Before you guess what number one is, let's celebrate The Evil Dead's remarkable 1,617,199 annual searches. The franchise began in 1981 with The Evil Dead, and has had four cinematic sequels (including this year's Evil Dead Rise), a TV show, and even a comic book series that had hero Ash Williams taking on Freddy and Jason.
It's probably no surprise that Scream dominates the competition with 2,105,906 annual searches, according to the CSGOLuck report. There have only been six Scream movies (and one largely forgotten TV series), but it has some of the most devoted fans and best reviews of any horror franchise. This year's Scream VI was a hit with critics and at the box office, and a seventh film is in development.
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