All Hallow’s Eve, All Saint’s Eve, Samhain, Halloween or whatever you like to call it is almost upon us. In just eight days it will be the first of three end of year festivals that everyone loves – the other two being Thanksgiving and Christmas, of course. For some of us, part of the Halloween celebrations includes watching or re-watching our favourite horror or Halloween themed films of all time. There are so many perfect and appropriate films to watch during this time, however, that there are simply too many to make just one list.
To give every film its just deserts, I decided to do a six part list and separate the films according to time period and medium. For Part one, I’m going to focus on the Silent Film Era (1895-1936) and the Golden Age of Hollywood (1920’s-1960’s). The remainder of the list will include the 1970’s to the 1980’s, the 1990’s, the 2000’s, the 2010’s and animated films.
1. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari – 1920
Written by: Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer.
Directed by: Robert Wiene.
Starring: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher, Lil Dagover and Hans Twardowski.
Synopsis: Hypnotist Dr. Caligari uses a somnambulist, Cesare, to commit murders. – IMDB.
Watch the full film below.
2. Nosferatu – 1922
Written by: Henrik Galeen.
Directed by: F. W. Murnau.
Starring: Max Schreck, Gustav von Wangenheim, Greta Schröder, Alexander Granach, Ruth Landshoff and Wolfgang Heinz.
Synopsis: Vampire Count Orlok expresses interest in a new residence and real estate agent Hutter’s wife. – IMDB.
Available for free download at the Internet Archive. Watch the full film below.
3. Dracula – 1931
Written by: Garrett Fort.
Directed by: Tod Browning and Karl Freund (Uncredited).
Starring: Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler, David Manners, Dwight Frye and Edward Van Sloan.
Synopsis: The ancient vampire Count Dracula arrives in England and begins to prey upon the virtuous young Mina. – IMDB.
4. Frankenstein – 1931
Written by: Francis Edward Faragoh, Garrett Fort and Robert Florey and John Russell (Uncredited).
Directed by: James Whale.
Starring: Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, John Boles and Boris Karloff.
Synopsis: An obsessed scientist assembles a living being from parts of exhumed corpses. – IMDB.
5. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – 1931
Written by: Samuel Hoffenstein and Percy Heath.
Directed by: Rouben Mamoulian.
Starring: Frederic March, Miriam Hopkins, Rose Hobart, Holmes Herbert, Halliwell Hobbes, Edgar Norton and Tempe Piggott.
Synopsis: Dr. Jekyll faces horrible consequences when he lets his dark side run wild with a potion that transforms him into the animalistic Mr. Hyde. – IMDB.
6. The Mummy – 1932
Written by: John L. Balderston.
Directed by: Karl Freund.
Starring: Boris Karloff, Zita Johann, David Manners, Edward van Sloan and Arthur Byron.
Synopsis: A living mummy stalks the beautiful woman he believes is the reincarnation of his lover. – IMDB.
7. The Wolfman – 1941
Written by: Curt Siodmak.
Directed by: George Waggner.
Starring: Lon Chaney Jr., Claude Rains, Warren William, Ralph Bellamy, Patric Knowles and Bela Lugosi.
Synopsis: A practical man returns to his homeland, is attacked by a creature of folklore, and infected with a horrific disease his disciplined mind tells him can not possibly exist. – IMDB.
8. House of Wax – 1953
Written by: Crane Wilbur.
Directed by: Andre DeToth.
Starring: Vincent Price, Frank Lovejoy, Charles Buchinsky, Carolyn Jones and Phyllis Kirk.
Synopsis: An associate burns down a wax museum with the owner inside, but he survives only to become vengeful and murderous. – IMDB.
9. The Fly – 1958
Written by: James Clavell.
Directed by: Kurt Neumann.
Starring: Al Hedison, Patricia Owens, Vincent Price and Herbert Marshall.
Synopsis: A scientist has a horrific accident when he tries to use his newly invented teleportation device. – IMDB.
10. Psycho – 1960
Written by: Joseph Stefano.
Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock.
Starring: Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Martin Balsam, John McIntire and Janet Leigh.
Synopsis: A Phoenix secretary embezzles $40,000 from her employer’s client, goes on the run, and checks into a remote motel run by a young man under the domination of his mother. – IMDB.
11. The Birds – 1963
Written by: Evan Hunter.
Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock.
Starring: Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, Jessica Tandy, Suzanne Pleshette and Veronica Cartwright.
Synopsis: A wealthy San Francisco socialite pursues a potential boyfriend to a small Northern California town that slowly takes a turn for the bizarre when birds of all kinds suddenly begin to attack people. – IMDB.
12. Night of the Living Dead – 1968
Written by: John Russo.
Directed by: George A. Romero.
Starring: Duane Jones, Judith O’Dea, Marilyn Eastman, Karl Hardman, Judith Ridley and Keith Wayne.
Synopsis: There is panic throughout the nation as the dead suddenly come back to life. The film follows a group of characters who barricade themselves in an old farmhouse in an attempt to remain safe from these flesh eating monsters. – IMDB.