With Halloween right around the corner, I decided to compile a list of my favorite classic horror films. I’m in no means a horror film buff or someone who particularly enjoys scary movies, however, if I do watch them and I like them, they almost always have a tendency of being older films. I guess the monsters and special effects from back in the day don’t scare me enough to be afraid of every room I enter or have nightmares for weeks on end. If you have never seen a classic film, then I implore you to start, because watching the old stuff is cool and you’d be surprised with how great they can be. Filmmaking has a come a long way and it’s because of what came before. So, without further ado, I present to you a list of my favorite old school horror flicks… enjoy!
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
Dr. Caligari is a hypnotist who uses Cesare, a somnambulist, to commit murders around town. It is one of the first silent films I ever saw and a prime example of German expressionism. I highly recommend viewing if you’re looking for gothic horror as the film is notable for its dark visual style.
Freaks tells the story of a traveling circus that finds itself in the middle of a sinister plot. The film features a cast of actual performers from the circus who each have their own deformities, which lend to the film’s shock factor. This film will not be for everybody, but it does have significant cultural importance and imparts a moral lesson for the viewer to not judge a person based on their appearance.
We all know the story of Frankenstein’s monster and if you don’t, go pick up Mary Shelley’s book and educate yourself! Boris Karloff is Frankenstein’s monster and this film is one of the most iconic horror films in cinematic history. Jack Pierce is responsible for creating the make-up worn by Karloff, which has since transcended time to become the most recognizable of classic monster movie make-ups.
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
This is a sequel to the 1931 Frankenstein which continues the story of the infamous Doctor and his Monster. With the insistence of Dr. Pretorius and the Monster, Frankenstein must create a counterpart for his rejected monster. Elsa Lanchester stars as the monster bride with her iconic hairstyle and make-up that I love so much. The film is great and is often considered better than its predecessor.
Basically, Dracula. Nosferatu is in fact an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and another example of German expressionist cinema. The film tells the story of Count Orlok who requires a new residence and the blood of living humans. It’s a classic horror film renowned for it’s artistry and features probably the creepiest looking monster on this list.