Though the horror-film genre has often had narrow, if enthusiastic, audiences, through the years, a number of horror films have broken through and become some of the biggest box office hits of their era. "The Phantom of the Opera" (1925) was a huge hit in the silent era, making the equivalent of more than $100 million in today's dollars. The film starred Lon Chaney, the "Man of a Thousand Faces," and Mary Philbin.
Universal Pictures built its success on horror films in the '30s and '40s. One of the biggest hits of 1931 was a now-classic version of "Frankenstein." The film stars Boris Karloff, left, as the monster.
Another of Universal's big 1931 hits was "Dracula," which stars Bela Lugosi as the vampire in the role that made him famous -- and stereotyped him for the rest of his life.