Top 50 horror movies of the 30s

by veidt05 | created - 17 Oct 2011 | updated - 19 Oct 2011 | Public
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1. Vampyr (1932)

Not Rated | 75 min | Fantasy, Horror

7.6
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A drifter obsessed with the supernatural stumbles upon an inn where a severely ill adolescent girl is slowly becoming a vampire.

Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer | Stars: Julian West, Maurice Schutz, Rena Mandel, Sybille Schmitz

Votes: 12,491

2. Freaks (1932)

Not Rated | 64 min | Drama, Horror

7.9
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A circus' beautiful trapeze artist agrees to marry the leader of side-show performers, but his deformed friends discover she is only marrying him for his inheritance.

Director: Tod Browning | Stars: Wallace Ford, Leila Hyams, Olga Baclanova, Roscoe Ates

Votes: 35,530

3. The Black Cat (1934)

65 min | Adventure, Crime, Horror

7.1
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

American honeymooners in Hungary become trapped in the home of a Satan-worshiping priest when the bride is taken there for medical help following a road accident.

Director: Edgar G. Ulmer | Stars: Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, David Manners, Julie Bishop

Votes: 7,344 | Gross: $0.24M

4. The Mummy (1932)

Not Rated | 73 min | Fantasy, Horror

7.2
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A living mummy stalks the beautiful woman he believes is the reincarnation of his lover.

Director: Karl Freund | Stars: Boris Karloff, Zita Johann, David Manners, Arthur Byron

Votes: 18,700

5. Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Not Rated | 75 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Mary Shelley reveals the main characters of her novel survived: Dr. Frankenstein, goaded by an even madder scientist, builds his monster a mate.

Director: James Whale | Stars: Boris Karloff, Elsa Lanchester, Colin Clive, Valerie Hobson

Votes: 36,135

6. Mad Love (1935)

Passed | 68 min | Horror, Romance, Sci-Fi

7.4
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In France, an insane surgeon's obsession with an actress from England leads him to replace her pianist husband's hands that got mangled in an accident with the hands of a late knife murderer which still have the urge to throw knives.

Director: Karl Freund | Stars: Peter Lorre, Frances Drake, Colin Clive, Ted Healy

Votes: 3,526

7. Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse (1933)

Not Rated | 122 min | Crime

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A new crime wave grips the city and all clues seem to lead to the nefarious Dr. Mabuse, even though he has been imprisoned in a mental asylum for nearly a decade.

Director: Fritz Lang | Stars: Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Otto Wernicke, Gustav Diessl, Rudolf Schündler

Votes: 9,597

8. Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932)

Unrated | 61 min | Crime, Horror, Mystery

6.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A mad scientist seeks to mingle human blood with that of an ape, and resorts to kidnapping women for his experiments.

Director: Robert Florey | Stars: Bela Lugosi, Sidney Fox, Leon Ames, Bert Roach

Votes: 2,928

9. Dracula's Daughter (1936)

Approved | 71 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

6.4
Rate this
    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.

Director: Lambert Hillyer | Stars: Otto Kruger, Gloria Holden, Marguerite Churchill, Edward Van Sloan

Votes: 4,447

10. Frankenstein (1931)

Not Rated | 70 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

An obsessed scientist assembles a living being from parts of exhumed corpses.

Director: James Whale | Stars: Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, Boris Karloff, John Boles

Votes: 54,093 | Gross: $12.00M

11. The Invisible Man (1933)

Not Rated | 71 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A scientist finds a way of becoming invisible, but in doing so, he becomes murderously insane.

Director: James Whale | Stars: Claude Rains, Gloria Stuart, William Harrigan, Henry Travers

Votes: 23,767

12. Svengali (1931)

Approved | 81 min | Drama, Horror, Romance

6.9
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Through hypnotism and telepathic mind control, a sinister music maestro controls the singing voice, but not the heart, of the woman he loves.

Director: Archie Mayo | Stars: John Barrymore, Marian Marsh, Donald Crisp, Bramwell Fletcher

Votes: 1,399

13. Dracula (1931)

Not Rated | 75 min | Fantasy, Horror

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The ancient vampire Count Dracula arrives in England and begins to prey upon the virtuous young Mina.

Director: Tod Browning | Stars: Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler, David Manners, Dwight Frye

Votes: 37,581

14. The Devil-Doll (1936)

Passed | 78 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An escaped convict uses miniaturized humans to wreak vengeance on those that framed him.

Director: Tod Browning | Stars: Lionel Barrymore, Maureen O'Sullivan, Frank Lawton, Rafaela Ottiano

Votes: 2,999

15. White Zombie (1932)

Passed | 69 min | Horror

6.4
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A young man turns to a witch doctor to lure the woman he loves away from her fiancé, but instead turns her into a zombie slave.

Director: Victor Halperin | Stars: Bela Lugosi, Madge Bellamy, Joseph Cawthorn, Robert Frazer

Votes: 7,522

16. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

Passed | 98 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Dr. Jekyll faces horrible consequences when he lets his dark side run wild with a potion that transforms him into the animalistic Mr. Hyde.

Director: Rouben Mamoulian | Stars: Fredric March, Miriam Hopkins, Rose Hobart, Holmes Herbert

Votes: 10,466

17. Island of Lost Souls (1932)

Not Rated | 70 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An obsessed scientist conducts profane experiments in evolution, eventually establishing himself as the self-styled demigod to a race of mutated, half-human abominations.

Director: Erle C. Kenton | Stars: Charles Laughton, Bela Lugosi, Richard Arlen, Leila Hyams

Votes: 6,457

18. The Most Dangerous Game (1932)

Not Rated | 63 min | Adventure, Horror, Mystery

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An insane hunter arranges for a ship to be wrecked on an island where he can indulge in some sort of hunting and killing of the passengers.

Directors: Irving Pichel, Ernest B. Schoedsack | Stars: Joel McCrea, Fay Wray, Leslie Banks, Robert Armstrong

Votes: 8,050

19. Son of Frankenstein (1939)

Approved | 99 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

One of the sons of Frankenstein finds his father's monster in a coma and revives him, only to find out he is controlled by Ygor who is bent on revenge.

Director: Rowland V. Lee | Stars: Boris Karloff, Basil Rathbone, Bela Lugosi, Lionel Atwill

Votes: 7,245

20. The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932)

Passed | 68 min | Adventure, Horror, Sci-Fi

6.5
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    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.

Directors: Charles Brabin, Charles Vidor | Stars: Boris Karloff, Lewis Stone, Karen Morley, Charles Starrett

Votes: 2,563

21. King Kong (1933)

Not Rated | 100 min | Adventure, Horror, Sci-Fi

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A film crew goes to a tropical island for an exotic location shoot and discovers a colossal ape who takes a shine to their female blonde star. He is then captured and brought back to New York City for public exhibition.

Directors: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack | Stars: Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, Bruce Cabot, Frank Reicher

Votes: 69,707 | Gross: $10.00M

22. The Walking Dead (1936)

Approved | 66 min | Crime, Horror, Sci-Fi

6.7
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    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.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Boris Karloff, Ricardo Cortez, Edmund Gwenn, Marguerite Churchill

Votes: 1,730

23. The Unholy Three (1930)

Passed | 72 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

6.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

"Talkie" remake of Tod Browning's 1925 silent film. A trio of former sideshow performers double as the "Unholy Three" in a scam to nab some shiny rocks.

Director: Jack Conway | Stars: Lon Chaney, Lila Lee, Elliott Nugent, Harry Earles

Votes: 874

24. The Old Dark House (1932)

TV-G | 72 min | Comedy, Horror

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Seeking shelter from a storm, five travelers are in for a bizarre and terrifying night when they stumble upon the Femm family estate.

Director: James Whale | Stars: Boris Karloff, Melvyn Douglas, Charles Laughton, Gloria Stuart

Votes: 6,342 | Gross: $0.03M

25. She (1935)

Approved | 101 min | Adventure, Fantasy, Romance

6.6
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Leo Vincey, told by his dying uncle of a lost land visited 500 years ago by his ancestor, heads out with family friend Horace Holly to try to discover the land and its secret of immortality... See full summary »

Directors: Lansing C. Holden, Irving Pichel | Stars: Helen Gahagan, Randolph Scott, Helen Mack, Nigel Bruce

Votes: 1,159

26. Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)

Unrated | 77 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

6.9
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    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.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Glenda Farrell, Frank McHugh

Votes: 3,696

27. Murders in the Zoo (1933)

Passed | 62 min | Crime, Horror

6.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A monomaniacal zoologist is pathologically jealous of his beautiful but unfaithful wife Evelyn and will not stop short of murder to keep her.

Director: A. Edward Sutherland | Stars: Charles Ruggles, Lionel Atwill, Gail Patrick, Randolph Scott

Votes: 712

28. Drácula (1931)

Unrated | 104 min | Fantasy, Horror

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Centuries-old vampire Dracula preys upon the innocent Eva and her friends.

Directors: George Melford, Enrique Tovar Ávalos | Stars: Carlos Villarías, Lupita Tovar, Barry Norton, Pablo Álvarez Rubio

Votes: 3,402

29. The Invisible Ray (1936)

Approved | 80 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

6.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A scientist becomes murderous after discovering, and being exposed to the radiation of, a powerful new element called Radium X.

Director: Lambert Hillyer | Stars: Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Frances Drake, Frank Lawton

Votes: 1,722

30. Kongo (1932)

Passed | 86 min | Drama, Horror

6.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

This remake of West of Zanzibar (1928) made four years later tries to outdo the Lon Chaney original in morbidity. From a wheelchair a handicapped white man rules an area of Africa as a ... See full summary »

Director: William J. Cowen | Stars: Walter Huston, Lupe Velez, Conrad Nagel, Virginia Bruce

Votes: 685

31. Doctor X (1932)

Approved | 76 min | Comedy, Crime, Horror

6.5
Rate this
    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.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Lee Tracy, Preston Foster

Votes: 2,125

32. Tower of London (1939)

Approved | 92 min | Drama, History

6.8
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    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, then occupied by his brother King ... See full summary »

Director: Rowland V. Lee | Stars: Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff, Barbara O'Neil, Ian Hunter

Votes: 1,463

33. The Raven (1935)

Approved | 61 min | Crime, Horror

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A brilliant surgeon obsessed with Edgar Allan Poe saves the life of a beautiful dancer and goes mad when he can't have her.

Director: Lew Landers | Stars: Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Lester Matthews, Irene Ware

Votes: 3,611

34. The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939)

Approved | 80 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson investigate the legend of a supernatural hound, a beast that may be stalking a young heir on the fog-shrouded moorland that makes up his estate.

Director: Sidney Lanfield | Stars: Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Richard Greene, Wendy Barrie

Votes: 7,923

35. Song at Midnight (1937)

113 min | Drama, Horror, Romance

6.5
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

China's first horror film, this is loosely based on The Phantom of the Opera. A disfigured musical genius roams a traditional Chinese opera house, punishing those who offend him.

Director: Weibang Ma-Xu | Stars: Menghe Gu, Ping Hu, Shan Jin, Chau-Shui Yee

Votes: 462

36. Maniac (1934)

Not Rated | 51 min | Horror

3.4
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.4/10 X  

A former vaudevillian gifted at impersonation assists a mad scientist in reanimating corpses and soon goes mad himself.

Director: Dwain Esper | Stars: Bill Woods, Horace B. Carpenter, Ted Edwards, Phyllis Diller

Votes: 1,737

37. The Black Room (1935)

Unrated | 70 min | Crime, Horror

7.0
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Ignoring an ancient prophecy, evil brother Gregor seeks to maintain his feudal power on his his Tyrolean estate by murdering and impersonating his benevolent younger twin.

Director: Roy William Neill | Stars: Boris Karloff, Marian Marsh, Robert Allen, Thurston Hall

Votes: 1,300

38. The Man Who Lived Again (1936)

66 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

6.7
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    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.

Director: Robert Stevenson | Stars: Boris Karloff, Anna Lee, John Loder, Frank Cellier

Votes: 721

39. Werewolf of London (1935)

Not Rated | 75 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

6.5
Rate this
    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.

Director: Stuart Walker | Stars: Henry Hull, Warner Oland, Valerie Hobson, Lester Matthews

Votes: 3,884

40. The Mad Genius (1931)

Unrated | 81 min | Drama, Horror, Romance

6.5
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A crippled man finds a boy and vows to make him a great dancer.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: John Barrymore, Marian Marsh, Charles Butterworth, Donald Cook

Votes: 393

41. It's Never Too Late to Mend (1937)

70 min | Drama

6.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

An evil prison administrator cruelly abuses the inmates at his prison, until one day the tables are turned.

Director: David MacDonald | Stars: Tod Slaughter, Jack Livesey, Marjorie Taylor, Ian Colin

Votes: 156

42. The Vampire Bat (1933)

TV-PG | 65 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

5.7
Rate this
    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.

Director: Frank R. Strayer | Stars: Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Melvyn Douglas, Maude Eburne

Votes: 1,635

43. The Return of Doctor X (1939)

Approved | 62 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi

5.7
Rate this
    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.

Director: Vincent Sherman | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Rosemary Lane, Wayne Morris, Dennis Morgan

Votes: 1,478

44. Condemned to Live (1935)

Approved | 67 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

4.8
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  

After a series of unsolved murders, a man finds out that his mother was bitten by a vampire bat during her pregnancy, and he believes that he may be the vampire committing the murders.

Director: Frank R. Strayer | Stars: Ralph Morgan, Pedro de Cordoba, Maxine Doyle, Russell Gleason

Votes: 325

45. The Ghoul (1933)

Not Rated | 77 min | Action, Drama, Horror

5.9
Rate this
    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.

Director: T. Hayes Hunter | Stars: Boris Karloff, Cedric Hardwicke, Ernest Thesiger, Dorothy Hyson

Votes: 1,772

46. Mark of the Vampire (1935)

Passed | 60 min | Horror, Mystery

6.3
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

When a nobleman is murdered, a professor of the occult blames vampires; but not all is what it seems.

Director: Tod Browning | Stars: Lionel Barrymore, Elizabeth Allan, Bela Lugosi, Lionel Atwill

Votes: 3,500

47. Murder by the Clock (1931)

76 min | Horror, Mystery

6.5
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

An elderly woman installs a horn in her crypt in case she's buried alive.

Director: Edward Sloman | Stars: William 'Stage' Boyd, Lilyan Tashman, Irving Pichel, Regis Toomey

Votes: 165

48. The Son of Kong (1933)

Passed | 70 min | Adventure, Comedy

5.8
Rate this
    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.

Director: Ernest B. Schoedsack | Stars: Robert Armstrong, Helen Mack, Frank Reicher, John Marston

Votes: 3,151 | Gross: $1.34M

49. 6 Hours to Live (1932)

72 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

6.4
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 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.

Director: William Dieterle | Stars: Warner Baxter, Miriam Jordan, John Boles, George F. Marion

Votes: 69

50. The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1936)

76 min | Drama, Horror

6.1
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A Fleet Street barber recounts the story of Sweeney Todd, a notorious barber who in the last century murdered many customers for their money.

Director: George King | Stars: Tod Slaughter, Stella Rho, John Singer, Eve Lister

Votes: 708