nightmarish movies of the 50s (Top 50)

View:
Log in to copy items to your own lists.
1.
The Night of the Hunter (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A religious fanatic marries a gullible widow whose young children are reluctant to tell him where their real daddy hid $10,000 he'd stolen in a robbery. (92 mins.)
 
2.
Orpheus (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A poet in love with Death follows his unhappy wife into the underworld. (95 mins.)
Director: Jean Cocteau
 
3.
Vertigo (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A San Francisco detective suffering from acrophobia investigates the strange activities of an old friend's wife, all the while becoming dangerously obsessed with her. (128 mins.)
 
4.
Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A Slavonic Mass by Leos Janácek plays as historical figures, biblical characters, and mythical creatures gather in the pleasure dome... (38 mins.)
Director: Anger
 
5.
Sunset Blvd. (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
A screenwriter is hired to rework a faded silent film star's script only to find himself developing a dangerous relationship. (110 mins.)
Director: Billy Wilder
 
6.
Othello (1951)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
The Moorish general Othello is manipulated into thinking that his new wife Desdemona has been carrying on an affair with his lieutenant Michael Cassio when in reality it is all part of the scheme of a bitter ensign named Iago. (90 mins.)
Director: Orson Welles
 
7.
The Seventh Seal (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A man seeks answers about life, death, and the existence of God as he plays chess against the Grim Reaper during the Black Plague. (96 mins.)
Director: Ingmar Bergman
 
8.
The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
When Scott Carey begins to shrink because of exposure to a combination of radiation and insecticide, medical science is powerless to help him. (81 mins.)
Director: Jack Arnold
 
9.
Diabolique (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
The wife and mistress of a cruel headmaster conspire to kill him; after the murder is committed, his corpse disappears, and strange events begin to plague the two women. (117 mins.)
Director: H.G. Clouzot
 
10.
House of Wax (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
An associate burns down a wax museum with the owner inside, but he survives only to become vengeful and murderous. (88 mins.)
Director: Andre de Toth
 
11.
Curse of the Demon (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
American professor John Holden arrives in London for a parapsychology conference, only to find himself investigating the mysterious actions of Devil-worshiper Julian Karswell. (95 mins.)
 
12.
Touch of Evil (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A stark, perverse story of murder, kidnapping, and police corruption in a Mexican border town. (95 mins.)
Director: Orson Welles
 
13.
Kiss Me Deadly (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A doomed female hitchhiker pulls Mike Hammer into a deadly whirlpool of intrigue, revolving around a mysterious "great whatsit." (106 mins.)
Director: Robert Aldrich
 
14.
Angel Face (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Ambulance driver Frank Jessup is ensnared in the schemes of the sensuous but dangerous Diane Tremayne. (91 mins.)
Director: Otto Preminger
 
15.
Forbidden Planet (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A starship crew goes to investigate the silence of a planet's colony only to find two survivors and a deadly secret that one of them has. (98 mins.)
 
16.
Horror of Dracula (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Jonathan Harker begets the ire of Count Dracula after he accepts a job at the vampire's castle under false pretenses. (82 mins.)
Director: Terence Fisher
 
17.
The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The delirious journey of a mental disordered man, who is obsessed in making the perfect crime. (89 mins.)
Director: Luis Buñuel
 
18.
El (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A husband's suave exterior unravels after his marriage, and he unleashes his paranoid and volatile temper on his wife, which escalates to more dangerous and unpredictable tantrums. (92 mins.)
Director: Luis Buñuel
 
19.
The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Baron Frankenstein escapes from the guillotine and goes to Germany. There, he names himself Dr. Stein... (90 mins.)
Director: Terence Fisher
 
20.
Experiment in Evil (1959 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Mr. Joly, doctor Cordelier's lawyer, is amazed to discover that his client and friend leaves his possessions to a stranger, Opale, a sadistic criminal. He needs this man to prove that people's behavior can be adjusted at will... (95 mins.)
Director: Jean Renoir
 
21.
The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Victor Frankenstein builds a creature and brings it to life, but it behaves not as he intended. (82 mins.)
Director: Terence Fisher
 
22.
Strangers on a Train (1951)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A psychotic socialite confronts a pro tennis star with a theory on how two complete strangers can get away with murder - a theory that he plans to implement. (101 mins.)
 
23.
The Big Heat (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Tough cop Dave Bannion takes on a politically powerful crime syndicate. (90 mins.)
Director: Fritz Lang
 
24.
It Came from Outer Space (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A spaceship from another world crashes in the Arizona desert and only an amateur stargazer and a schoolteacher suspect alien influence when the local townsfolk begin to act strangely. (81 mins.)
Director: Jack Arnold
 
25.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A small-town doctor learns that the population of his community is being replaced by emotionless alien duplicates. (80 mins.)
Director: Don Siegel
 
26.
Throne of Blood (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A war-hardened general, egged on by his ambitious wife, works to fulfill a prophecy that he would become lord of Spider's Web Castle. (110 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
27.
The White Reindeer (1952)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A newly wed woman goes to the local shaman to get some help with her lovelife, but instead gets turned into a white reindeer vampire. (74 mins.)
Director: Erik Blomberg
 
28.
The Bad Seed (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A housewife suspects that her seemingly perfect eight year-old daughter is a heartless killer. (129 mins.)
Director: Mervyn LeRoy
 
29.
Dementia (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
This film, with no dialogue at all, follows a psychotic young woman's nightmarish experiences through one skid-row night. (56 mins.)
 
30.
Der Verlorene (1951)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
German scientist murders his fiancée during World War II when he learns that she has been selling the results of his secret research to the enemy. (98 mins.)
Director: Peter Lorre
 
31.
The Blob (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
An alien lifeform consumes everything in its path as it grows and grows. (86 mins.)
 
32.
Horrors of the Black Museum (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
The promotion announced that this film was released in "Hypnovision" which gives an idea of the story... (93 mins.)
Director: Arthur Crabtree
 
33.
Suddenly, Last Summer (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
The only son of wealthy widow Violet Venable dies while on vacation with his cousin Catherine. What the girl saw was so horrible that she went insane; now Mrs. Venable wants Catherine lobotomized to cover up the truth. (114 mins.)
 
34.
Tarantula (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
A spider escapes from an isolated desert laboratory experimenting in giantism and grows to tremendous size as it wreaks havoc on the local inhabitants. (80 mins.)
Director: Jack Arnold
 
35.
The Fly (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A scientist has a horrific accident when he tries to use his newly invented teleportation device. (94 mins.)
Director: Kurt Neumann
 
36.
A Bucket of Blood (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A dim-witted busboy finds acclaim as an artist for a plaster-covered dead cat that is mistaken as a skillful statuette. The desire for more praise soon leads to an increasingly deadly series of works. (66 mins.)
Director: Roger Corman
 
37.
Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A strange prehistoric beast lurks in the depths of the Amazonian jungle. A group of scientists try to capture the animal and bring it back to civilization for study. (79 mins.)
Director: Jack Arnold
 
38.
The Blue Gardenia (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A telephone operator ends up drunk and at the mercy of a cad in his apartment. The next morning she wakes up with a hangover and the terrible fear she may be a murderess. (85 mins.)
Director: Fritz Lang
 
39.
Donovan's Brain (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
Yet another version of Curt Siodmak's novel about an honest scientist who keeps the brain of a ruthless dead millionaire (Donovan) alive in a tank... (84 mins.)
Director: Felix Feist
 
40.
I Bury the Living (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Cemetery director Robert Kraft discovers that by arbitrarily changing the status of plots from empty to occupied on the planogram causes the death of the plots' owners. (77 mins.)
Director: Albert Band
 
41.
Them! (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
The earliest atomic tests in New Mexico cause common ants to mutate into giant man-eating monsters that threaten civilization. (94 mins.)
Director: Gordon Douglas
 
42.
The Black Pit of Dr. M (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Two doctors make a pact in which they swear that the first to die will return - if possible - to tell the other how to get a glimpse of the afterlife while still alive. (82 mins.)
 
43.
Lake of the Dead (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A group of friends travel to a cabin in the Norwegian forest. It's a rumor that at night a crazy man can be heard screaming at a lake nearby the cabin. (76 mins.)
 
44.
Blood of the Vampire (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  
A man and wife are terrorized by Mad Scientist Dr. Callistratus who was executed but has returned to life with a heart transplant... (87 mins.)
Director: Henry Cass
 
45.
I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
Aliens arrive on Earth to possess the bodies of humans. One of their first victims is a young man, whose new wife soon realizes something is wrong with him. (78 mins.)
Director: Gene Fowler Jr.
 
46.
Lust of the Vampire (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A mad scientist captures young women and drains their blood, in order to keep alive an ancient, evil duchess. (82 mins.)
Director: Riccardo Freda
 
47.
Enemy from Space (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Professor Quatermass, trying to gather support for his Lunar colonisation project, is intrigued by mysterious traces that have been showing up. (85 mins.)
Director: Val Guest
 
48.
The War of the Worlds (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A small town in California is attacked by Martians, beginning a worldwide invasion. (85 mins.)
Director: Byron Haskin
 
49.
The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A ferocious dinosaur awakened by an Arctic atomic test terrorizes the North Atlantic and, ultimately, New York City. (80 mins.)
Director: Eugène Lourié
 
50.
The Tingler (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
An obsessed pathologist discovers and captures a parasitic creature that grows when fear grips its host. (82 mins.)
Director: William Castle