Top 50 horror movies of the 40s

by veidt05 | created - 16 Oct 2011 | updated - 19 Oct 2011 | Public
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1. 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: 15,825 | Gross: $4.00M

2. The Seventh Victim (1943)

Approved | 71 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

A woman in search of her missing sister uncovers a Satanic cult in New York's Greenwich Village, and finds that they may have something to do with her sibling's random disappearance.

Director: Mark Robson | Stars: Kim Hunter, Tom Conway, Jean Brooks, Isabel Jewell

Votes: 4,522

3. I Walked with a Zombie (1943)

Approved | 69 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

A Canadian nurse is hired to care for the wife of a sugar plantation owner, who has been acting strangely, on a Caribbean island.

Director: Jacques Tourneur | Stars: Frances Dee, Tom Conway, James Ellison, Edith Barrett

Votes: 9,039

4. Hangover Square (1945)

Approved | 77 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A promising classical musician finds his life poisoned by a music hall dancer -- and by the strange gaps in his memory.

Director: John Brahm | Stars: Laird Cregar, Linda Darnell, George Sanders, Glenn Langan

Votes: 1,914

5. The Curse of the Cat People (1944)

Approved | 70 min | Drama

The young, friendless daughter of Oliver and Alice Reed befriends her father's dead first wife and an aging, reclusive actress.

Directors: Gunther von Fritsch, Robert Wise | Stars: Simone Simon, Kent Smith, Jane Randolph, Ann Carter

Votes: 4,682

6. Isle of the Dead (1945)

Approved | 71 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

On a Greek island during the 1912 war, several people are trapped by quarantine for the plague. If that isn't enough worry, one of the people, a superstitious old peasant woman, suspects ... See full summary »

Director: Mark Robson | Stars: Boris Karloff, Ellen Drew, Marc Cramer, Katherine Emery

Votes: 3,310

7. The Queen of Spades (1949)

95 min | Drama, Horror

An elderly countess strikes a bargain with the devil and exchanges her soul for the ability to always win at cards. An army officer, who is also a fanatic about cards, murders her for the ... See full summary »

Director: Thorold Dickinson | Stars: Anton Walbrook, Edith Evans, Yvonne Mitchell, Ronald Howard

Votes: 1,020

8. The Face Behind the Mask (1941)

Approved | 69 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A disfigured watchmaker with a grudge against society embarks on a life of crime.

Director: Robert Florey | Stars: Peter Lorre, Evelyn Keyes, Don Beddoe, George E. Stone

Votes: 778

9. Carnival of Sinners (1943)

Approved | 80 min | Fantasy, Horror

Roland Brissot bought for a nickel a talisman that gives him love, fame and wealth. The talisman is a cut left hand, and it works perfectly. But of course there is nothing free in this ... See full summary »

Director: Maurice Tourneur | Stars: Pierre Fresnay, Josseline Gaël, Noël Roquevert, Guillaume de Sax

Votes: 878

10. The Spiral Staircase (1946)

Approved | 83 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

In 1916, a shadowy serial killer is targeting women with "afflictions"; one night during a thunderstorm, the mute Helen feels menaced.

Director: Robert Siodmak | Stars: Dorothy McGuire, George Brent, Ethel Barrymore, Kent Smith

Votes: 7,491

11. The Night Has Eyes (1942)

62 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Two teachers, man-hungry Doris and restrained Marian, visit the Yorkshire moors a year after friend Evelyn disappeared there. On a stormy night, they take refuge in the isolated cottage of ... See full summary »

Director: Leslie Arliss | Stars: James Mason, Wilfrid Lawson, Mary Clare, Joyce Howard

Votes: 378

12. The Uninvited (1944)

Not Rated | 99 min | Fantasy, Horror, Mystery

A composer and his sister discover that the reason they are able to purchase a beautiful gothic seacoast mansion very cheaply is the house's unsavory past.

Director: Lewis Allen | Stars: Ray Milland, Ruth Hussey, Donald Crisp, Cornelia Otis Skinner

Votes: 7,931

13. Dragonwyck (1946)

Approved | 103 min | Drama, Thriller, Mystery

A simple Connecticut farm girl is recruited by a distant relative, an aristocratic patroon, to be governess to his young daughter in his Hudson Valley mansion.

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz | Stars: Gene Tierney, Walter Huston, Vincent Price, Glenn Langan

Votes: 2,935

14. 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: 6,869

15. The Beast with Five Fingers (1946)

Approved | 88 min | Horror, Mystery

In a turn-of-the-century Renaissance Italian mansion, its tyrannical owner, a one-handed, wheelchair-bound pianist, with a strong belief in the occult, is murdered.

Director: Robert Florey | Stars: Robert Alda, Andrea King, Peter Lorre, Victor Francen

Votes: 1,863

16. Bluebeard (1944)

Passed | 72 min | Crime, Horror, Thriller

In Paris, an artist hires portrait models, and after he finishes their portraits, he strangles them.

Director: Edgar G. Ulmer | Stars: John Carradine, Jean Parker, Nils Asther, Ludwig Stössel

Votes: 1,392

17. Dead of Night (1945)

Approved | 77 min | Horror

An architect senses impending doom as his half-remembered recurring dream turns into reality. The guests at the country house encourage him to stay as they take turns telling supernatural tales.

Directors: Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden, Robert Hamer | Stars: Mervyn Johns, Michael Redgrave, Roland Culver, Mary Merrall

Votes: 8,883

18. Gaslight (1944)

Not Rated | 114 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

Years after her aunt was murdered in her home, a young woman moves back into the house with her new husband. However, he has a secret that he will do anything to protect, even if it means driving his wife insane.

Director: George Cukor | Stars: Charles Boyer, Ingrid Bergman, Joseph Cotten, May Whitty

Votes: 19,494

19. Daughter of Darkness (1948)

91 min | Crime, Drama, Horror

Emily, a pretty young Irish girl, gets a job on an English farm owned by the Tallent family. The local men take to her but the women don't, objecting to her flirtatious nature with their ... See full summary »

Director: Lance Comfort | Stars: Anne Crawford, Maxwell Reed, George Thorpe, Barry Morse

Votes: 176

20. 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: 19,303

21. The Red House (1947)

Unrated | 100 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery

An old man and his sister are concealing a terrible secret from their adopted teen daughter, concerning a hidden abandon farmhouse, located deep in the woods.

Director: Delmer Daves | Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Lon McCallister, Judith Anderson, Rory Calhoun

Votes: 2,486

22. The Lodger (1944)

Approved | 84 min | Crime, Horror, Mystery

A landlady suspects her new lodger is Jack the Ripper.

Director: John Brahm | Stars: Laird Cregar, Merle Oberon, George Sanders, Cedric Hardwicke

Votes: 2,489

23. The Leopard Man (1943)

Approved | 66 min | Horror, Thriller

A seemingly tame leopard used for a publicity stunt escapes and kills a young girl, spreading panic throughout a sleepy New Mexico town.

Director: Jacques Tourneur | Stars: Dennis O'Keefe, Margo, Jean Brooks, Isabel Jewell

Votes: 3,732

24. 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: 3,663

25. 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: 5,194

26. The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)

Not Rated | 110 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

A corrupt young man somehow keeps his youthful beauty, but a special painting gradually reveals his inner ugliness to all.

Director: Albert Lewin | Stars: George Sanders, Hurd Hatfield, Donna Reed, Angela Lansbury

Votes: 10,012

27. Bedlam (1946)

Approved | 79 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

Nell Bowen, the spirited protege of rich Lord Mortimer, becomes interested in the conditions of notorious St. Mary's of Bethlehem Asylum (Bedlam). Encouraged by the Quaker Hannay, she tries... See full summary »

Director: Mark Robson | Stars: Boris Karloff, Anna Lee, Billy House, Richard Fraser

Votes: 2,968

28. The Inheritance (1947)

Not Rated | 98 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

Following her father's death, a British teen-aged heiress goes to live with her guardian uncle who is broke and scheming to murder his niece for her vast inheritance.

Director: Charles Frank | Stars: Jean Simmons, Derrick De Marney, Katina Paxinou, Derek Bond

Votes: 513

29. Woman Who Came Back (1945)

Approved | 68 min | Horror, Mystery

After a bus accident, a woman comes to believe that she's actually a 300-year-old witch.

Director: Walter Colmes | Stars: John Loder, Nancy Kelly, Otto Kruger, Ruth Ford

Votes: 232

30. The Woman in White (1948)

Approved | 109 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

A young painter stumbles upon an assortment of odd characters at an English estate where he has been hired to give art lessons to beautiful Laura Fairlie. Among them are Anne Catherick, a ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Godfrey | Stars: Alexis Smith, Eleanor Parker, Sydney Greenstreet, Gig Young

Votes: 1,032

31. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941)

Passed | 113 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

Dr. Jekyll allows his dark side to run wild when he drinks a potion that turns him into the evil Mr. Hyde.

Director: Victor Fleming | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Ingrid Bergman, Lana Turner, Donald Crisp

Votes: 7,221

32. The Amazing Mr. X (1948)

Approved | 78 min | Film-Noir, Horror, Thriller

On the beach one night, Christine Faber, two years a widow, thinks she hears her late husband Paul calling out of the surf...then meets a tall dark man, Alexis, who seems to know all about ... See full summary »

Director: Bernard Vorhaus | Stars: Turhan Bey, Lynn Bari, Cathy O'Donnell, Richard Carlson

Votes: 1,123

33. The Ghost Ship (1943)

Approved | 69 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Tom Merriam signs on the ship Altair as third officer under Captain Stone. At first things look good, Stone sees Merriam as a younger version of himself and Merriam sees Stone as the first ... See full summary »

Director: Mark Robson | Stars: Richard Dix, Russell Wade, Edith Barrett, Ben Bard

Votes: 2,465

34. 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: 6,318

35. The Devil Commands (1941)

Approved | 65 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

Scientist becomes obsessed with the idea of communicating with his dead wife.

Director: Edward Dmytryk | Stars: Boris Karloff, Anne Revere, Amanda Duff, Richard Fiske

Votes: 739

36. 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: 3,877

37. 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: 4,942

38. Crimes at the Dark House (1940)

Not Rated | 69 min | Drama

A madman kills a man who has just inherited a large estate, then impersonates his victim to gain entrance to the estate so he can murder his enemies.

Director: George King | Stars: Tod Slaughter, Sylvia Marriott, Hilary Eaves, Geoffrey Wardwell

Votes: 346

39. The Undying Monster (1942)

Not Rated | 63 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

Surviving members of an aristocratic English family are threatened by a legendary monster when they venture out on chilly, foggy nights.

Director: John Brahm | Stars: James Ellison, Heather Angel, John Howard, Bramwell Fletcher

Votes: 930

40. Dr. Cyclops (1940)

Not Rated | 77 min | Adventure, Drama, Horror

A mad scientist working in the South American jungle miniaturizes his colleagues when he feels his megalomania is threatened.

Director: Ernest B. Schoedsack | Stars: Albert Dekker, Thomas Coley, Janice Logan, Charles Halton

Votes: 1,812

41. 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: 1,805

42. Dr. Renault's Secret (1942)

Approved | 58 min | Horror, Mystery, Romance

Dr. Larry Forbes visits the château of Dr. Robert Renault, uncle of his fiancée Madelon, who is idolized by Renault's assistant, a strange émigré from Java.

Director: Harry Lachman | Stars: J. Carrol Naish, Shepperd Strudwick, Lynne Roberts, George Zucco

Votes: 369

43. The Man with Nine Lives (1940)

Approved | 74 min | Mystery, Sci-Fi

A medical researcher visits the deserted home of a pioneer in cryogenic science who disappeared 10 years earlier and finds him frozen in ice but still alive.

Director: Nick Grinde | Stars: Boris Karloff, Roger Pryor, Jo Ann Sayers, Stanley Brown

Votes: 448

44. 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: 4,505

45. Strangler of the Swamp (1946)

Not Rated | 59 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

A number of swamp land men have died by strangulation and the inhabitants believe that an innocent man they hanged is seeking revenge on all of the male descendants of those responsible for... See full summary »

Director: Frank Wisbar | Stars: Rosemary La Planche, Robert Barrat, Blake Edwards, Charles Middleton

Votes: 403

46. Night Monster (1942)

Approved | 73 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Kurt Ingston, a rich recluse, invites the doctors who left him a hopeless cripple to his desolate mansion in the swamps as one by one they meet horrible deaths.

Director: Ford Beebe | Stars: Bela Lugosi, Lionel Atwill, Leif Erickson, Irene Hervey

Votes: 812

47. House of Horrors (1946)

Approved | 65 min | Horror, Thriller

An unsuccessful sculptor saves a madman named "The Creeper" from drowning. Seeing an opportunity for revenge, he tricks the psycho into murdering his critics.

Director: Jean Yarbrough | Stars: Robert Lowery, Virginia Grey, Bill Goodwin, Martin Kosleck

Votes: 522

48. 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: 2,572

49. Man Made Monster (1941)

Passed | 59 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

A mad scientist turns a man into an electrically-controlled monster to do his bidding.

Director: George Waggner | Stars: Lionel Atwill, Lon Chaney Jr., Anne Nagel, Frank Albertson

Votes: 913

50. 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: 1,843