Thursday, March 29, 2012


    Horror films have been a part of American (and international) culture since the very beginning of cinema. In the last 40 years alone, we have seen so many new icons of horror; from Freddy to Jigsaw, and Jason to Pinhead. But are these nightmarish juggernauts also the stuff money is made of? We’ll see, as I present to you the top 10 most financially successful (highest-grossing) horror film franchises (Note: Many of these films are 15+ years old, so the amounts of money shown are in 2007-2011 U.S. dollars, and the amounts of money are only the profits of films (not TV shows, video games, etc.); also, there are some spoilers!):

1. “Friday the 13th” Series

Main Villain(s): Pamela Voorhees; Jason Voorhees; a crazed ambulance-driver; Freddy Kreuger
Number of movies, etc.: 12 (including the remake, and “Freddy vs. Jason”); 1 TV show; 1 video game
Amount of Money Grossed, to date: $380,637,525 (not counting the TV show and video game)
Average Amount of Money Grossed, per movie: $31,719,793.75

    Neither Jason–nor this franchise–can be stopped! With 12 films (2 of which, don’t even feature Jason as the villain), a relatively unrelated television show, and a mask that will never leave the memories of camp-counselors everywhere, Jason isn’t just a fierce, unrelenting killer: He’s also a very wealthy, fierce, unrelenting killer!

2. “Saw” Series

Main Villain(s): John “Jigsaw” Kramer; Jill Tuck; Detective Mark Hoffman; Dr. Lawrence Gordon; Amanda Young; and…well…technically, many of their victims (considering how many of the victims were given a choice as to kill or be killed…if you haven’t seen the film(s), it’s kind of complicated…)
Number of Movies, etc.: 10 (including a direct-to-DVD release, the short film the first “Saw” was inspired by, and a fan-made film); 1 video game
Amount of Money Grossed, to date: $342,510,598 (not counting the fan-made film, short film, direct-to-DVD release, and video game)
Average Amount of Money Grossed, per movie: $34,251,059.80

    The most recent horror film franchise in American cinema is also one of the most successful! “Saw” turned horror cinema on its ear, by creating a horror movie icon who doesn’t kill his victims directly, but rather gets them to kill each other! Brilliant!

3. “The Exorcist” Series

Main Villain(s): Pazuzu (the demon that possesses Reagan); several others (I have not seen “The Exorcist II: The Heretic” in a while, and I haven’t seen “The Exorcist III” yet)
Number of Movies, etc.: 7 films (4 of the original films, 1 prequel, 1 director’s cut, and 1 hardcore porno called, “The XXXorcist” (no joke))
Amount of Money Grossed, to date: $331,592,458 (not counting the porno)
Average Amount of Money Grossed, per movie: $47,370,351.14

    “The Exorcist” is unique, in that the villain of the story actually possesses the heroes/heroines. It is by far one of the most terrifying series of films in history; so terrifying was the original “Exorcist”, that famous Christian Billy Graham claimed that the reels of film themselves were possessed by demons!

4. Halloween” Series

Main Villain(s): Michael Myers (although, his father was also a villain in the remake, if you think about it…); a creepy old guy who makes killer masks; a satanic cult; the orderlies who raped that poor girl in the remake; the guy who bails Michael out of prison
Number of Movies, etc.: 10 films; 1 video game
Amount of Money Grossed, to date: $307,729,650 (not counting the video game)
Average Amount of Money Grossed, per movie: $30,772,965

    Michael Myers is one of the oldest–and most recognized–horror movie icons in American history. Whether it was John Carpenter, or a suddenly competent Rob Zombie, “Halloween” has always been the deadliest–and one of the most profitable–of holidays!

5. “A Nightmare on Elm Street” Series

Main Villain(s): Freddy Kreuger; Jason Voorhees; the dream-demons
Number of Movies, etc.: 8 films; 1 TV show; 1 video game; a 900-number that you could call to get scared over the phone (no, I am not joking)
Amount of Money Grossed, to date: $307,420,075 (not counting the video game, TV show, and 1-900 number-profits)
Average Amount of Money Grossed, per movie: $38,427,509.38

    Freddy is one of the most recognizable faces (or lack thereof) in cinema history; he is also one of the most creative, twisting dreams to suit his needs. His terror spread from Elm Street, to Hollywood (“Wes Craven’s New Nightmare”), and then to Crystal Lake. If those numbers are any indication, his reign of terror will continue to be very well funded

6. “Scream” Series

Main Villain(s): Stuart; Billy; Mickey; Debbie Salt; several others (I haven’t seen “Scream 3″ in a while, and I have yet to see “Scream 4″)
Number of Movies, etc.: 4 films
Amount of Money Grossed, to date: $293,553,139 (not including Scream 4)
Average Amount of Money Grossed, per movie: $97,851,046.33 (not including Scream 4).

    “Scream” is one of the few horror-film franchises that is satiric in nature. It is also one of the few in which each film has a completely different killer(s). While it’s only #6 on this list in amount of money grossed (to date), it has one of the highest amounts of money grossed (per film)!

7. Paranormal Activity” Series

Main Villain(s): An unnamed demon/spirit
Number of Movies, etc.: 2 films
Amount of Money Grossed, to date: $192,671,717
Average Amount of Money Grossed, per movie: $96,335,858.50

    While many may say that “Paranormal Activity” is not quite a franchise yet, it has certainly earned the same amount of money as one! These revolutionary films–inspired by classics, such as “Cannibal Holocaust”, “[Rec]“, and “The Blair Witch Project”–have already proven themselves as a contender in the league of horror cinema!

8. “Amityville Horror” Series

Main Villain(s): Well…a house; a doll-house…yes, a doll-house; the people who originally lived in the Amityville house, before the Lutzs; several others (I haven’t seen all of the movies yet)
Number of Movies, etc.: 9 films (including 3 original movies, 1 remake, 4 direct-to-video films, and 1 made-for-TV movie)
Amount of Money Grossed, to date: $170,533,321 (not including the sequels not shown in theaters (.i.e.: the made-for-TV movie)
Average Amount of Money Grossed, per movie: $42,633,330.25

    The “Amityville Horror” anthology is one of the most underrated, under-appreciated horror film franchises on this list. Spanning over 30 years, this exercise in terror is truly for the ages!

9. “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” Series

Main Villain(s): Leatherface and his family; some shady organization (from part 4…I really don’t know how to explain them)
Number of Movies, etc.: 6 films (including 1 remake and 1 prequel; also, “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation” was released into theaters twice); 1 video game
Amount of Money Grossed, to date: $164,925,750 (not counting the video game)
Average Amount of Money Grossed, per movie: $27,487,625

    One might think that such a classic sequence of horror films would be higher on this list; however, due to financial issues with the first “Massacre”, and the terrible 4th film (which was released a second time to cash in on the new-found fame of Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger), Leatherface will have to settle for 9th place. I sure hope he doesn’t have a bone to pick with me…

10. “The Omen” Series

Main Villain(s): Damien Thorn; Damien’s followers (AKA: Thorn Industries); Satan; Satan’s followers
Number of Movies: 5 (including 3 original films, 1 made-for-TV movie, and 1 remake)
Amount of Money Grossed, to date: $162,520,100 (not counting the made-for-TV movie)
Average Amount of Money Grossed, per film: $40,630,025

    Ah, the Anti-Christ, born from an evil as old as time. What better horror film icon than one who has been over 10,000 years in the making?


Peanut butter brittle adds crunch to this decadent, eggless chocolate cake. No, it's not a mistake. This cake really doesn't contain any eggs. The oil in the batter makes the cake moist; the rest of the ingredients provide enough structure to give the cake a great crumb.



  • Vegetable oil
  • 1cupsugar
  • 1/2cuplight corn syrup
  • 1/4cupwater
  • 1cupchopped lightly salted dry-roasted peanuts
  • 1teaspooncreamy (smooth) natural peanut butter (made with only peanuts and salt)*
  • 1/2teaspoonbaking soda
  • 1/2teaspoonvanilla extract


  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 3cupsall purpose flour
  • 2cupssugar
  • 2/3cupsifted natural unsweetened cocoa powder (sifted, then measured)
  • 2teaspoonsbaking soda
  • 1teaspoonsalt
  • 2cupswater
  • 2/3cupvegetable oil
  • 2tablespoonsapple cider vinegar
  • 2teaspoonsvanilla extract

Filling and frosting

  • 4ouncesimported milk chocolate, chopped
  • 5tablespoonsheavy whipping cream
  • 2 1/4cupspowdered sugar
  • 1 1/2cupschilled heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4cupcreamy (smooth) natural peanut butter (made with only peanuts and salt)*
  • 3/4cupchilled mascarpone cheese**



  • Line large rimmed baking sheet with foil; brush with oil. Bring sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water to boil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil without stirring until syrup is deep amber, swirling pan occasionally, about 10 minutes. Immediately stir in peanuts and all remaining ingredients. Scrape out mixture onto prepared sheet; spread out to about 13x9-inch rectangle. Cool completely. Coarsely chop enough brittle to measure 1 cup and finely chop enough to measure 1/2 cup. DO AHEAD Can be made 3 days ahead. Store in separate airtight containers at room temperature.


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides with nonstick spray. Line pan bottoms with parchment paper. Sift flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into large bowl. Whisk 2 cups water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla in medium bowl to blend. Gradually add water mixture to dry ingredients, whisking until batter is smooth. Divide batter between prepared pans (scant 3 cups each).
  • Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out with a few crumbs still attached, about 28 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes. Cut around cakes and turn out onto racks. Peel off parchment and cool.

filling and frosting

  • Place chocolate in medium bowl. Bring 5 tablespoons cream just to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Pour cream over chocolate; whisk until melted and smooth. Let stand until thick enough to spread, whisking occasionally, about 30 minutes.
  • Beat powdered sugar, 1 1/2 cups chilled cream, and peanut butter in large bowl just until blended. Add mascarpone; beat frosting just until thickened (do not overbeat).
  • Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter. Spread milk chocolate filling evenly over; sprinkle with 1/2 cup finely chopped peanut brittle. Spread with 1 cup frosting. Top with second cake layer, flat side down. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Cover with cake dome and chill 1 hour. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. Let stand at room temperature 2 hours before continuing.
  • Sprinkle 1 cup coarsely chopped brittle over top of cake and serve.
  • *which peanut butter to use

    For this recipe, we used creamy (smooth) all-natural peanut butter. To make sure you're buying the right stuff, check the label. There should be only two ingredients: peanuts and salt. This style of peanut butter may have a layer of oil (from the peanuts) on top. If it does, chill the jar for a few hours, then slowly mix until smooth. Don't use freshly ground peanut butter: It can have inconsistent flavor and texture.
  • **An Italian cream cheese; sold at many supermarkets and at Italian markets.


   Beer and wine have been called many things: delicious, evil, holy, unholy, addictive, and so on, but there is no doubt that one of the most beloved of all human inventions is beer and wine. Therefore, you should know more about it, and thus this list was born: 10 Interesting Facts About Beer and Wine.

10. Wine (and Beer) is Good For You

   This item may be familiar to most avid Listverse readers and has been presented on numerous lists, but I found that I still had to have it in somewhere, as there seems to be the instant stereotyping of relating wine and beer to unhealthiness. However, over the course of a ten year study, wine, and specifically red wine, has been found to possess great cardiovascular benefits (aka: it helps your heart!). This has been attributed to antioxidants called flavonoids, which are present in the skin and seeds of grapes, and reduce the risk of heart disease by improving cholesterol and lowering blood clotting. Further studies have even shown that red wine may inhibit the growing of tumors for certain cancers and assist in the treatment for neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s. However, despite all this, and as with any food or drink: do not over-consume. Experts say for men to drink two servings of red wine a day, and for women, one (a serving is 4 ounces) in order to experience maximum benefits.

9. The World and Alcohol

   The age at which people can legally drink varies from country to country, continent to continent. In most of Europe the drinking age is set at 16, in Canada it is 18, Asia 20, and of course, it is 21 in the United States. The three top beer-consuming countries per capita are the Czech Republic, Ireland, and Germany; the three top consuming countries of wine are Italy, France, and Switzerland; the three top producers of beer are China, the United States, and Russia, however it should be noted that Germany has the largest number of breweries in the world with about 1,200 (USA only has about 350); and finally, the top three producers of wine are Italy, France, and Spain. On another interesting note, the top three countries with the highest tax rates on beer are Norway, Finland, and Canada.

8. Who has the Best Beer?

   This was difficult to research, as this is a heated topic of debate and multiple countries claim to reign supreme in producing the most delicious beers for consumption. The European Beer Star awards breweries with the most impressive beer based on taste and quality, and the most recent results came out with Belgium ranking as #1, followed behind by Germany and the United States. These results interestingly contradict the results of the next entry…

7. Who has the Worst Beer?
Millerlite Wideweb  470X3090

   In a survey conducted in over 80 countries, 2,000 people were questioned on which countries have the world’s worst beer. The results listed the United States as #1, followed behind by China, the United Kingdom, Australia, France, and Italy. Budweiser was ranked as the #1 worst brand in beer by the takers of the survey, however it should be noted that the USA received gold awards for 50 of their brands and breweries of beer, none of which include Budweiser. This is due in part to the fact that Budweiser is relentlessly advertised, and people seem to believe this is THE beer of the United States, as it is the most widely available and distributed beer in the world. Fortunately, even though it is second in American beer consumption (Bud Light ranks first), the USA definitely has other good brands, such as the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, the Samuel Adams Boston Lagers, and the Samuel Adams Seasonal.

6. Best Wine Regions

   The number one world-renowned region responsible for producing the world’s highest quality wine is Bordeaux, France. It consists of 284,320 acres of the best vineyards available. The region can make up to 960 million bottles of wine per year, ranging from everyday table wine to some of the most expensive wine in the world, with brands like the Chateau d’Yquem and Chateau Cheval Blanc selling for tens of thousands of dollars. A 1947 bottle of the last wine listed (I don’t won’t to write it again) was sold at auction by Christie’s in Geneva – being previously owned by a Swiss collector – and is considered to be the greatest bottle of wine Bordeaux has ever produced. The cost? $304,375.

5. Bizarre Beers

   Breweries and manufacturers are constantly adapting and changing to the huge number of consumers who drink beer today, and will often try to invent innovative ideas for expanding their revenues and fan-base. Sometimes, however, breweries take this a little too far, such as in Cambodia, a popular beer is a Tarantula Brandy, containing rice liquor and “flavored” with dead tarantulas. Another example would be the Korean Baby Mouse Liquor, which is made with distilled rice spirits, blended with dead mice, and fermented for one year. Yet another example of bizarre beers is the Kwispelbier brand, produced from a small brewery in the Netherlands, and advertised as “a beer for your best friend.” Yes, it is a non-alcoholic beverage designed for dogs after Gerrie Berendsen, the inventor, wanted to refresh his dog after a day out hunting.

4. More stupid Wine Brand Names

   Swinging back over to some more facts about wine, these are some of the most bizarre, and perhaps offensive, brand names given to wine. One is a French wine produced and distributed by the British. Its name? Fat Bastard. Another is the Australian brand called Bitch, and as an added joke the name is printed 77 times on the back of the bottle for the lucky drinker. Other names is the French brand (Oops) (yes it is in parentheses, and now I am explaining that in parentheses), which was named so because the grape type was mislabeled for years on the original bottle, so the humorous producers decided to call it (Oops). More bizarre wines from France are the La Vin de Merde (Wine of Shit), the Elephant on a Tight Rope brand, and the delicious Frog’s Piss.

3. Disadvantages to Beer

   Yes, despite all the praise and admiration, beer of course still has its ill health effects. One such is dubbed “beer belly,” in which over consumption has been shown to increase obesity rates in men. The drink harbors strong stimulants of gastric acid secretion and can cause gastro esophageal reflux, aka heartburn. Beer can also lead to an increase in blood pressure, as well as causing dehydration (beer is a dehydrating agent, even thought people often drink it after a hot day or work), and it acts as a downer, reducing activity in the central nervous system and leading to a hangover. It also has many well known negative effects on the liver and can cause liver cirrhosis after prolonged and heavy drinking. And finally, one of the deadliest effects drinking has is the impairment of driving skills, as motor accidents are the #1 cause of death for adolescents and cause up to 40% of US accident-related deaths every year.

2. Random Facts Time

- Over half the hospitals in more than 65 of the largest metropolitan areas of the United States reported that they offer alcoholic beverages to their patients.
- Alcoholic beverages often contain no fat or cholesterol, but have a high concentration of calories.
- In the United States Pharmacopeia, alcohol is listed as a medicine.
- All 13 minerals necessary for human life can be found in alcoholic beverages
Hangovers in other languages:
- The French call it ‘wood mouth.’
- Germans refer to it as ‘wailing of the cats.’
- Italians call it ‘out of tune.’
- Malaysians call it ‘lo.’
- Norwegians identify it as ‘carpenters in the head.’
- Spaniards call it ‘backlash.’
- Swedes refer to it as ‘pain in the hair roots.’
Methods to “curing” hangover include:
- Ancient Greeks ate cabbages.
- Ancient Romans ate fried canaries.
- Some present day Germans eat a breakfast of red meat and bananas.
- Some French drink strong coffee with salt.
- Some Chinese drink spinach tea.
- Some Puerto Ricans rub half a lemon under their drinking arm.
- Some Haitians stick 13 black-headed needles into the cork of the bottle from which they drank.
- Russians drink Vodka.

1. Beer Saved the World

   According to the Discovery Channels hour-long documentary called “How Beer Saved the World,” beer was responsible for the birth and development of human civilization, and is the “greatest invention of all.” It outlines how the agriculture revolution was started because of the need to make beer, which led to many inventions such as the plow, the wheel, and irrigation. Cities were built in an effort to produce more beer for the growing number of people who craved it. Other lesser known inventions were math, which needed to be mastered by farmers as their fields grew and needed to be quantified, as well as written language, which was vital to keep records of the expanding beer trade. The documentary goes on to demonstrate that every invention, innovation, and milestone of human history was, at the core, because of the human love for beer.