The Best B-Pictures Of The 1930s

This list is dedicated to those pictures that are not much talked about or sometimes even sneered at. Most of these movies were made on a small budget but can be very entertaining nevertheless. That is, if you generally dig B-pictures of the sci-fi or horror genre, for example. Some of the entries might be considered trash, but I assure you that you will find only the hilarious ones here. So, if you are in the mood for a somewhat different movie that does not necessarily follow mainstream rules, chances are that you will find here what you are looking for.

As usual, don't hesitate to leave a comment if you feel up to it.

PS: The movies are sorted by year and not necessarily by my preference. This list is by no means complete as I will add new worthwhile films as I stumble across them.
View:
Log in to copy items to your own lists.
1.
The Return of Dr. Fu Manchu (1930)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
The villainous master criminal Dr. Fu Manchu sets out to destroy the people he holds responsible for the death of his family. (73 mins.)
Director: Rowland V. Lee
 
2.
Murder by the Clock (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
An elderly woman installs a horn in her crypt in case she's buried alive. (76 mins.)
Director: Edward Sloman
 
3.
Doctor X (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
A wisecracking New York reporter intrudes on a research scientist's quest to unmask The Moon Killer. (76 mins.)
Director: Michael Curtiz
 
4.
Chandu the Magician (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
When delusional madman Roxor kidnaps a scientist in hopes of using his death ray to achieve world dominance, he is opposed by Chandu, a powerful hypnotist and yogi. (71 mins.)
 
5.
The Phantom of Crestwood (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Jenny Wren coerces banker Priam Andes to have a dinner party at his shorefront estate Crestwood, and instructs him to invite three other men... (76 mins.)
Director: J. Walter Ruben
 
6.
The Living Dead (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
A crazed scientist murders his wife, walls her up, then flees. A reporter sets out to track him down. (89 mins.)
Director: Richard Oswald
 
7.
Tarzan the Ape Man (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A trader and his daughter set off in search of the fabled graveyard of the elephants in deepest Africa, only to encounter a wild man raised by apes. (100 mins.)
Director: W.S. Van Dyke
 
8.
The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Englishmen race to find the tomb of Genghis Khan before the sinister Fu Manchu does. (68 mins.)
Director: Charles Brabin
 
9.
6 Hours to Live (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A murder victim is brought back to life by a scientific experiment. However, the effects only last for six hours, and he must find his killer in that time. (72 mins.)
 
10.
Kongo (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
This remake of West of Zanzibar made four years later tries to outdo the Lon Chaney original in morbidity... (86 mins.)
Director: William Cowen
 
11.
The Menace (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Ronald Quayle escapes from prison. He was sent there for murdering his father, based on the testimony of his stepmother... (64 mins.)
 
12.
The Son of Kong (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
The men who captured the giant ape King Kong return to Skull Island and find his likewise gigantic but far more friendly son. (70 mins.)
 
13.
The Ghoul (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
An Egyptologist returns from the dead to take revenge on those who have violated his tomb. (77 mins.)
Director: T. Hayes Hunter
 
14.
Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
The disappearance of people and corpses leads a reporter to a wax museum and a sinister sculptor. (77 mins.)
Director: Michael Curtiz
 
15.
The Vampire Bat (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  
When corpses drained of blood begin to show up in a European village, vampirism is suspected to be responsible. (65 mins.)
Director: Frank Strayer
 
16.
Supernatural (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
A serial black widow murderess returns to life in the body of a young woman to exact revenge on a former lover, a phony spiritualist who betrayed her. (65 mins.)
Director: Victor Halperin
 
17.
The Monkey's Paw (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A mother wishes for the return of her dead son--a wish that is granted by the severed paw of a dead monkey. (58 mins.)
Director: Wesley Ruggles
 
18.
Tarzan and His Mate (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
The idyllic life of Tarzan and Jane is challenged by men on safari who come seeking ivory, and come seeking Jane as well. (104 mins.)
Director: Cedric Gibbons
 
19.
The Ninth Guest (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Eight strangers are invited by a mysterious unknown host to spend the night in a penthouse apartment... (65 mins.)
 
20.
Bucket of Blood (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
A young man is driven mad by his obsession with the repulsive diseased eye of the old man who cares for him. (55 mins.)
Director: Desmond Hurst
 
21.
Werewolf of London (1935)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
The juice of a rare Tibetan flower is the only thing that keeps Dr. Glendon from turning into a werewolf during a full moon. (75 mins.)
Director: Stuart Walker
 
22.
Mark of the Vampire (1935)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
When a nobleman is murdered, a professor of the occult blames vampires; but not all is what it seems. (60 mins.)
Director: Tod Browning
 
23.
The Lone Wolf Returns (1935)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Once a jewel thief always a jewel thief? Yes and no. Yes if you consider the fact that Michael Lanyard... (68 mins.)
 
24.
Air Hawks (1935)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
A mysterious ray that immobilizes all motors and engines threatens the security of the country. (68 mins.)
Director: Albert Rogell
 
25.
The Walking Dead (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
After hapless pianist and ex-con John Elman is framed for murder, he is resurrected by a scientist after his execution. (66 mins.)
Director: Michael Curtiz
 
26.
Dracula's Daughter (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
Hungarian countess Marya Zaleska seeks the aid of a noted psychiatrist, hoping to free herself of a mysterious evil influence. (71 mins.)
Director: Lambert Hillyer
 
27.
The Case of the Black Cat (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
An bedridden eccentric millionaire, anticipating his own murder, hires Mason to help him rewrite his will, and the lawyer ends up defending the caretaker's cat. (66 mins.)
Director: William McGann
 
28.
The Preview Murder Mystery (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A public relations man for a movie studio uses an early form of television to help solve a murder. (60 mins.)
Director: Robert Florey
 
29.
The Man Who Lived Again (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Dr. Laurience, a brilliant but unstable scientist experimenting with transferring minds, becomes vengeful when his magnate patron withdraws his support. (66 mins.)
 
30.
Fährmann Maria (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A beautiful young drifter comes to a small village and battles Death itself to save the man she loves. (85 mins.)
Director: Frank Wysbar
 
31.
The Golem (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
The Golem, a giant creature created out of clay by a rabbi, comes to life in a time of trouble to protect the Jews of Prague from persecution. (83 mins.)
Director: Julien Duvivier
 
32.
Think Fast, Mr. Moto (1937)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
On a freighter going from San Francisco to Shanghai Mr. Moto solves mysteries caused by a gang of smugglers. First of the series. (70 mins.)
Director: Norman Foster
 
33.
Night Key (1937)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
The inventor of a new top-of-the-line burglar alarm system is kidnapped by a gang in order to get him to help them commit robberies. (68 mins.)
Director: Lloyd Corrigan
 
34.
Thank You, Mr. Moto (1937)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Seven maps, when found and put together, reveal the location of the treasures of Genghis Khan. (67 mins.)
Director: Norman Foster
 
35.
Mr. Wong, Detective (1938)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
When a chemical manufacturer is killed after asking detective James Wong to help him, Wong investigates this and two subsequent murders... (69 mins.)
Director: William Nigh
 
36.
Mr. Moto's Gamble (1938)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
When the #1 heavyweight contender is mysteriously poisoned during a bout, Moto knows that identifying the gambler who placed large bets against him is the key to solving the murder. (72 mins.)
Director: James Tinling
 
37.
The Lone Wolf in Paris (1938)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
A princess in distress calls upon reformed jewel thief Michael Lanyard to aid her against villainous opposition. (66 mins.)
 
38.
The Black Doll (1938)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
Nicholas Rood, dishonest mine owner, finds a Black Doll on his desk and knows that vengeance is about to overtake him for murdering his former partner... (66 mins.)
Director: Otis Garrett
 
39.
The Terror (1938)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
A mysterious criminal mastermind plots a spectacular gold robbery, then after the robbery is completed he makes sure his gang is caught by the police... (73 mins.)
Director: Richard Bird
 
40.
Mr. Moto Takes a Chance (1938)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
In the jungle near Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Mr. Moto poses as an ineffectual archaeologist and a venerable holy man with mystical powers to help foil two insurgencies against the government. (63 mins.)
Director: Norman Foster
 
41.
Mysterious Mr. Moto (1938)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Mr. Moto has himself imprisoned on Devil's Island so he can help his cellmate (Ames) escape and thereby... (62 mins.)
Director: Norman Foster
 
42.
The Saint in New York (1938)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Simon Templar, the Saint, is brought to New York. His search for the identity of "the Big Fellow" takes him through many dangerous situations. (69 mins.)
Director: Ben Holmes
 
43.
I Accuse (1938)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
After serving in the trenches of World War I, Jean Diaz recoils with such horror that he renounces love... (104 mins.)
Director: Abel Gance
 
44.
Arrest Bulldog Drummond (1938)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
The invention of a war machine, that brings to explosion everything one wants to, puts Scotland Yard and Captain Drummond into alarm. (57 mins.)
Director: James Hogan
 
45.
Mr. Moto's Last Warning (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Moto thwarts a ruthless band of international agents who try to foment an international incident by mining the entrance to the Suez Canal and blaming the British. (71 mins.)
Director: Norman Foster
 
46.
Tower of London (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
In the 15th century Richard Duke of Gloucester, aided by his club-footed executioner Mord, eliminates those ahead of him in succession to the throne... (92 mins.)
Director: Rowland V. Lee
 
47.
Mr. Wong in Chinatown (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
A pretty Chinese woman, seeking help from San Francisco detective James Lee Wong, is killed by a poisoned dart in his front hall... (71 mins.)
Director: William Nigh
 
48.
The Mystery of Mr. Wong (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
Detective tries to solve the murder of antiques collector who was in possession of a famous jewel known as "The Eye of the Daugther of The Moon." (68 mins.)
Director: William Nigh
 
49.
The Saint Strikes Back (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Simon Templar, the Saint, travels to San Francisco to solve crime mysteries within the police department. (64 mins.)
Director: John Farrow
 
50.
The Human Monster (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
Insurance agent-physician collects on policies of men murdered by a disfigured resident of the home for the blind where he acts as doctor-on-call. (76 mins.)
Director: Walter Summers
 
51.
The Man They Could Not Hang (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
When Dr. Savaard's experiment in cryonics is interrupted by the short-sighted authorities, his volunteer dies, and he is condemned to death. He vows vengeance if he can survive his own hanging. (64 mins.)
Director: Nick Grindé
 
52.
The Return of Doctor X (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  
A hotshot reporter and a young doctor team up to investigate a series of grisly murders and a mysterious sample of synthetic blood. (62 mins.)
Director: Vincent Sherman
 
53.
The Saint in London (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
The Saint returns to London and with the help of an American pickpocket and a beautiful adventuress breaks a counterfeiting ring. (72 mins.)
 
54.
Tarzan Finds a Son! (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Tarzan's jungle home, and his family, Jane and Boy, are threatened by men greedy for gold. (82 mins.)
Director: Richard Thorpe
 
55.
Mr. Moto Takes a Vacation (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Disguised as a German archaeologist, Moto helps unearth the priceless crown of the legendary Queen of Sheba and sans disguise defends it from a variety of thugs and criminals. (65 mins.)
Director: Norman Foster
 
56.
The House of Fear (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A detective goes undercover as a producer to investigate an actor's murder, which occurred during the performance of a play... (67 mins.)
Director: Joe May
 
57.
Mr. Moto in Danger Island (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
The U.S. government asks Mr. Moto to go to Puerto Rico to investigate diamond smuggling after an earlier investigator is murdered. (64 mins.)
 
58.
The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A group of "spies" is after the plans for an anti-aircraft gun, and the leader uses the opportunity to embroil the Lone Wolf in the plot... (71 mins.)
Director: Peter Godfrey