A History of Horror

by Peter Doinov | created - 30 Nov 2010 | updated - 3 months ago | Public

I'm taking you on a journey of terror from the end of the XIX century up until now. Monster movies, sci-fi horror, psychological horror, slasher movies, supernatural horror, horror comedies, horror fantasy and, of course, pure horror movies, including undisputed classics, as well as some more rare and obscure ones.

Note: The list contains only movies that I have seen (including my vote and sorted chronologically). I am looking forward to your suggestions and recommendations.

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1. The House of the Devil (1896)

Not Rated | 3 min | Short, Horror

With the help of a magic cauldron, Mephistopheles conjures up a variety of supernatural characters.

Director: Georges Méliès | Stars: Jehanne d'Alcy, Jules-Eugène Legris, Georges Méliès

Votes: 2,030

December 24, 1896 6/10

2. Frankenstein (1910)

Unrated | 16 min | Short, Horror, Sci-Fi

Frankenstein, a young medical student, trying to create the perfect human being, instead creates a misshapen monster. Made ill by what he has done, Frankenstein is comforted by his fiancée ... See full summary »

Director: J. Searle Dawley | Stars: Mary Fuller, Charles Ogle, Augustus Phillips

Votes: 2,865

March 18, 1910 6/10

3. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

Not Rated | 67 min | Fantasy, Horror, Mystery

Hypnotist Dr. Caligari uses a somnambulist, Cesare, to commit murders.

Director: Robert Wiene | Stars: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher, Lil Dagover

Votes: 45,985

February 26, 1920 10/10

4. Nosferatu (1922)

Not Rated | 81 min | Fantasy, Horror

Vampire Count Orlok expresses interest in a new residence and real estate agent Hutter's wife.

Director: F.W. Murnau | Stars: Max Schreck, Alexander Granach, Gustav von Wangenheim, Greta Schröder

Votes: 76,066

March 4, 1922 10/10

5. The Lost World (1925)

Unrated | 106 min | Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi

The first film adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic novel about a land where prehistoric creatures still roam.

Director: Harry O. Hoyt | Stars: Wallace Beery, Bessie Love, Lloyd Hughes, Lewis Stone

Votes: 3,821 | Gross: $0.55M

February 2, 1925 7/10

6. The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

Not Rated | 93 min | Horror

A mad, disfigured composer seeks love with a lovely young opera singer.

Directors: Rupert Julian, Lon Chaney, Ernst Laemmle, Edward Sedgwick | Stars: Lon Chaney, Mary Philbin, Norman Kerry, Arthur Edmund Carewe

Votes: 13,912 | Gross: $0.72M

September 6, 1925 9/10

7. The Man Who Laughs (1928)

Not Rated | 110 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

When a proud noble refuses to kiss the hand of the despotic King James in 1690, he is cruelly executed and his son surgically disfigured.

Director: Paul Leni | Stars: Mary Philbin, Conrad Veidt, Julius Molnar, Olga Baclanova

Votes: 4,342

April 27, 1928 8/10

8. Dracula (1931)

Not Rated | 75 min | Fantasy, Horror

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: 38,142

February 12, 1931 10/10

9. Drácula (1931)

Unrated | 104 min | Fantasy, Horror

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: 3,434

1931 10/10

10. Frankenstein (1931)

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

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: 54,849 | Gross: $12.00M

November 21, 1931 10/10

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

Not Rated | 98 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

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: 10,651

December 31, 1931 8/10

12. Freaks (1932)

Not Rated | 64 min | Drama, Horror

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: 36,065

February 20, 1932 7/10

13. Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932)

Unrated | 61 min | Crime, Horror, Mystery

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: 2,979

February 21, 1932 8/10

14. Vampyr (1932)

Not Rated | 75 min | Fantasy, Horror

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: 12,704

May 6, 1932 7/10

15. White Zombie (1932)

Passed | 69 min | Horror

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: 7,660

August 4, 1932 7/10

16. The Most Dangerous Game (1932)

Not Rated | 63 min | Adventure, Horror, Mystery

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: 8,229

September 9, 1932 7/10

17. The Old Dark House (1932)

TV-G | 72 min | Comedy, Horror, Thriller

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: 6,496 | Gross: $0.03M

October 20, 1932 10/10

18. The Mummy (1932)

Approved | 73 min | Fantasy, Horror

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: 19,031

December 22, 1932 10/10

19. Island of Lost Souls (1932)

Not Rated | 70 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

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: 6,588

December 1932 6/10

20. King Kong (1933)

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

90 Metascore

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: 70,471 | Gross: $10.00M

March 7, 1933 10/10

21. The Invisible Man (1933)

Not Rated | 71 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

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: 24,139

November 13, 1933 10/10

22. The Black Cat (1934)

65 min | Adventure, Crime, Horror

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: 7,462 | Gross: $0.24M

May 3, 1934 8/10

23. Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

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

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: 36,600

April 22, 1935 10/10

24. Mark of the Vampire (1935)

Passed | 60 min | Horror, Mystery

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: 3,574

April 26, 1935 7/10

25. Werewolf of London (1935)

Not Rated | 75 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

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: 3,935

May 13, 1935 6/10

26. The Raven (1935)

Approved | 61 min | Crime, Horror

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: 3,660

July 8, 1935 8/10

27. The Invisible Ray (1936)

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

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: 1,756

January 20, 1936 6/10

28. Dracula's Daughter (1936)

Approved | 71 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

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: 4,533

May 11, 1936 8/10

29. Son of Frankenstein (1939)

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

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: 7,355

January 13, 1939 10/10

30. The Man They Could Not Hang (1939)

Unrated | 64 min | Crime, Horror, Sci-Fi

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.

Director: Nick Grinde | Stars: Boris Karloff, Lorna Gray, Robert Wilcox, Roger Pryor

Votes: 1,075

August 17, 1939 8/10

31. Tower of London (1939)

Approved | 92 min | Drama, History

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: 1,487

November 17, 1939 7/10

32. The Invisible Man Returns (1940)

Approved | 81 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

The owner of a coal mining operation, falsely imprisoned for fratricide, takes a drug to make him invisible, despite its side effect: gradual madness.

Director: Joe May | Stars: Cedric Hardwicke, Vincent Price, Nan Grey, John Sutton

Votes: 2,546

January 12, 1940 9/10

33. The Mummy's Hand (1940)

Approved | 67 min | Adventure, Fantasy, Horror

An ancient mummy is revived to destroy the invaders of the 3,000 year-old tomb of an Egyptian princess.

Director: Christy Cabanne | Stars: Dick Foran, Peggy Moran, Wallace Ford, Eduardo Ciannelli

Votes: 2,556

September 20, 1940 8/10

34. The Invisible Woman (1940)

Approved | 72 min | Comedy, Romance, Sci-Fi

An attractive model with an ulterior motive volunteers as guinea pig for an invisibility machine.

Director: A. Edward Sutherland | Stars: Virginia Bruce, John Barrymore, John Howard, Charles Ruggles

Votes: 1,576

December 27, 1940 4/10

35. The Wolf Man (1941)

Not Rated | 70 min | Horror

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.

Director: George Waggner | Stars: Claude Rains, Warren William, Lon Chaney Jr., Ralph Bellamy

Votes: 19,204

December 12, 1941 10/10

36. The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)

Approved | 67 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

When Ygor brings the Monster to Dr. Ludwig Frankenstein for care, Ludwig gets the idea of replacing the Monster's current criminal brain with a normal one.

Director: Erle C. Kenton | Stars: Cedric Hardwicke, Lon Chaney Jr., Ralph Bellamy, Lionel Atwill

Votes: 4,489

March 13, 1942 8/10

37. Invisible Agent (1942)

81 min | Adventure, Comedy, Romance

The Invisible Man's grandson uses his secret formula to spy on Nazi Germany.

Director: Edwin L. Marin | Stars: Ilona Massey, Jon Hall, Peter Lorre, Cedric Hardwicke

Votes: 1,185

July 31, 1942 8/10

38. The Mummy's Tomb (1942)

Passed | 61 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

A high priest travels to America with a living mummy to kill those who had desecrated the tomb of an Egyptian princess thirty years earlier.

Director: Harold Young | Stars: Lon Chaney Jr., Dick Foran, John Hubbard, Elyse Knox

Votes: 2,023

October 23, 1942 7/10

39. Cat People (1942)

Not Rated | 73 min | Fantasy, Horror, Thriller

An American man marries a Serbian immigrant who fears that she will turn into the cat person of her homeland's fables if they are intimate together.

Director: Jacques Tourneur | Stars: Simone Simon, Tom Conway, Kent Smith, Jane Randolph

Votes: 15,748 | Gross: $4.00M

December 6, 1942 8/10

40. Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943)

Approved | 74 min | Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi

After being awakened, Larry Talbot chips Frankenstein's Monster out of a block of ice. When Talbot changes to the Wolf Man, the two creatures battle each other.

Director: Roy William Neill | Stars: Lon Chaney Jr., Ilona Massey, Patric Knowles, Lionel Atwill

Votes: 6,291

March 5, 1943 9/10

41. Phantom of the Opera (1943)

Approved | 92 min | Drama, Horror, Music

A disfigured violinist haunts the Paris Opera House.

Director: Arthur Lubin | Stars: Nelson Eddy, Susanna Foster, Claude Rains, Edgar Barrier

Votes: 5,161

August 12, 1943 6/10

42. Son of Dracula (1943)

Approved | 80 min | Fantasy, Horror

Count Alucard finds his way from Budapest to the swamps of the Deep South; his four nemeses are a medical doctor, a university professor, a jilted fiancé and the woman he loves.

Director: Robert Siodmak | Stars: Lon Chaney Jr., Robert Paige, Louise Allbritton, Evelyn Ankers

Votes: 3,655

November 5, 1943 8/10

43. The Return of the Vampire (1943)

Not Rated | 69 min | Drama, Horror

When an errant bomb unearths the coffin of a vampire during the London Blitz, a gravedigger unknowingly reanimates the monster by removing the stake from his heart

Director: Lew Landers | Stars: Bela Lugosi, Frieda Inescort, Nina Foch, Roland Varno

Votes: 1,523

January 1, 1944 7/10

44. The Invisible Man's Revenge (1944)

Unrated | 78 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

An eccentric scientist helps a fugitive from the law become invisible, unwittingly giving him the power to exact revenge on his former friends.

Director: Ford Beebe | Stars: Jon Hall, Leon Errol, John Carradine, Alan Curtis

Votes: 1,305

June 9, 1944 8/10

45. The Mummy's Ghost (1944)

Unrated | 61 min | Fantasy, Horror

An Egyptian priest travels to America in search of the bodies of an Egyptian princess and her living, mummified guardian, with consequences.

Director: Reginald Le Borg | Stars: Lon Chaney Jr., John Carradine, Robert Lowery, Ramsay Ames

Votes: 1,801

July 7, 1944 8/10

46. House of Frankenstein (1944)

Approved | 71 min | Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi

An evil scientist and his hunchbacked assistant escape from prison and encounter Dracula, the Wolf Man and Frankenstein's Monster.

Director: Erle C. Kenton | Stars: Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr., J. Carrol Naish, John Carradine

Votes: 4,929

December 1, 1944 9/10

47. The Mummy's Curse (1944)

Approved | 60 min | Fantasy, Horror, Thriller

An irrigation project in the rural bayous of Louisiana unearths living mummy Kharis, who was buried in quicksand twenty-five years earlier.

Director: Leslie Goodwins | Stars: Lon Chaney Jr., Peter Coe, Virginia Christine, Kay Harding

Votes: 1,833

December 22, 1944 5/10

48. The Body Snatcher (1945)

Approved | 77 min | Horror, Thriller

A ruthless doctor and his young prize student find themselves continually harassed by their murderous supplier of illegal cadavers.

Director: Robert Wise | Stars: Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Henry Daniell, Edith Atwater

Votes: 6,842

May 25, 1945 8/10

49. House of Dracula (1945)

Approved | 67 min | Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi

Count Dracula and the Wolf Man seek cures for their afflictions; a hunchbacked woman, a mad scientist and Frankenstein's Monster have their own troubles.

Director: Erle C. Kenton | Stars: Onslow Stevens, John Carradine, Lon Chaney Jr., Martha O'Driscoll

Votes: 3,864

December 7, 1945 5/10

50. She-Wolf of London (1946)

Passed | 61 min | Crime, Horror, Mystery

A young heiress finds evidence suggesting that at night she acts under the influence of a family curse and has begun committing ghastly murders in a nearby park.

Director: Jean Yarbrough | Stars: Don Porter, June Lockhart, Sara Haden, Jan Wiley

Votes: 1,795

May 17, 1946 3/10

51. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

Not Rated | 83 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror

7.6