Essential Horror

by mrhyperborean | created - 25 Jan 2014 | updated - 26 Jan 2014 | Public

a meagre attempt at listing some of the greatest, most essential horror titles, in approximately chronological order....

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1. The Golem (1915)

60 min | Horror

In this version of the golem legend, the golem, a clay statue brought to life by Rabbi Loew in 16th century Prague to save the Jews from the ongoing brutal persecution by the city's rulers,... See full summary »

Directors: Henrik Galeen, Paul Wegener | Stars: Paul Wegener, Henrik Galeen, Lyda Salmonova, Rudolf Blümner

Votes: 939

2. 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: 46,323

3. 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: 10,692

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: 76,447

5. Häxan (1922)

Not Rated | 91 min | Documentary, Fantasy, Horror

Fictionalized documentary showing the evolution of witchcraft, from its pagan roots to its confusion with hysteria in modern Europe.

Director: Benjamin Christensen | Stars: Benjamin Christensen, Elisabeth Christensen, Maren Pedersen, Clara Pontoppidan

Votes: 9,287

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: 13,970 | Gross: $0.72M

7. The Unholy Three (1925)

Passed | 86 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

A sideshow ventriloquist, midget, and strongman form a conspiracy known as "The Unholy Three" and commit a series of robberies.

Director: Tod Browning | Stars: Lon Chaney, Mae Busch, Matt Moore, Victor McLaglen

Votes: 1,378 | Gross: $0.70M

8. The Magician (I) (1926)

Passed | 83 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

A magician/alchemist, seeking to create life, finds that he needs the "blood of a virgin" to continue his experiments. He sends out his dwarf assistant to pick out the right girl.

Director: Rex Ingram | Stars: Alice Terry, Paul Wegener, Firmin Gémier, Iván Petrovich

Votes: 411

9. Seven Footprints to Satan (1929)

Passed | 60 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

A young man of society wants to make an expedition to Africa, but his fiancée asks him for help about one of her fathers guests shortly before his planed departure. Her suspects about that ... See full summary »

Director: Benjamin Christensen | Stars: Thelma Todd, Creighton Hale, Sheldon Lewis, William V. Mong

Votes: 223

10. 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: 38,344

11. 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: 55,081 | Gross: $12.00M

12. Svengali (1931)

Approved | 81 min | Drama, Horror, Romance

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: 1,438

13. M (1931)

Not Rated | 99 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

When the police in a German city are unable to catch a child-murderer, other criminals join in the manhunt.

Director: Fritz Lang | Stars: Peter Lorre, Ellen Widmann, Inge Landgut, Otto Wernicke

Votes: 118,514 | Gross: $0.03M

14. 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: 7,692

15. 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: 19,147

16. 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: 36,246

17. 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: 2,999

18. 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: 8,277

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: 6,631

20. Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)

Unrated | 77 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

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: 3,801

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: 24,239

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: 7,495 | Gross: $0.24M

23. 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: 3,619

24. Mad Love (1935)

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

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: 3,604

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: 3,945

26. 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: 36,744

27. 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: 7,380

28. 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: 1,495

29. 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: 19,305

30. 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: 15,827 | Gross: $4.00M

31. 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

32. 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: 6,320

33. 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: 9,040

34. 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: 5,197

35. 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: 4,943

36. 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: 6,872

37. 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

38. Beauty and the Beast (1946)

Not Rated | 93 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance

92 Metascore

A beautiful young woman takes her father's place as the prisoner of a mysterious beast, who wishes to marry her.

Directors: Jean Cocteau, René Clément | Stars: Jean Marais, Josette Day, Mila Parély, Nane Germon

Votes: 21,152 | Gross: $0.30M

39. The Thing from Another World (1951)

Not Rated | 87 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

Scientists and American Air Force officials fend off a bloodthirsty alien organism while at a remote arctic outpost.

Directors: Christian Nyby, Howard Hawks | Stars: Kenneth Tobey, Margaret Sheridan, James Arness, Robert Cornthwaite

Votes: 21,473

40. House of Wax (1953)

GP | 88 min | Horror

An associate burns down a wax museum with the owner inside, but he survives only to become vengeful and murderous.

Director: André De Toth | Stars: Vincent Price, Frank Lovejoy, Phyllis Kirk, Carolyn Jones

Votes: 13,382 | Gross: $23.75M

41. Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

G | 79 min | Horror

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.

Director: Jack Arnold | Stars: Richard Carlson, Julie Adams, Richard Denning, Antonio Moreno

Votes: 20,954 | Gross: $1.30M

42. The Night of the Hunter (1955)

Not Rated | 92 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

99 Metascore

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.

Director: Charles Laughton | Stars: Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish, James Gleason

Votes: 71,529

43. The Quatermass Xperiment (1955)

78 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

Professor Bernard Quatermass' manned rocket ship returns to Earth, but two of the astronauts are missing and the survivor seems ill and unable to communicate.

Director: Val Guest | Stars: Brian Donlevy, Jack Warner, Margia Dean, Thora Hird

Votes: 4,474

44. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

Not Rated | 80 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

A small-town doctor learns that the population of his community is being replaced by emotionless alien duplicates.

Director: Don Siegel | Stars: Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter, Larry Gates, King Donovan

Votes: 38,497

45. Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)

Not Rated | 79 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

Evil aliens attack Earth and set their terrible "Plan 9" in action. As the aliens resurrect the dead of the Earth to destroy the living, our lives are in danger.

Director: Edward D. Wood Jr. | Stars: Gregory Walcott, Tom Keene, Mona McKinnon, Duke Moore

Votes: 32,208

46. The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)

Approved | 82 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Victor Frankenstein builds a creature and brings it to life, but it behaves not as he intended.

Director: Terence Fisher | Stars: Peter Cushing, Hazel Court, Robert Urquhart, Christopher Lee

Votes: 7,491 | Gross: $7.00M

47. The Fly (1958)

Not Rated | 94 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

A scientist has a horrific accident when he tries to use his newly invented teleportation device.

Director: Kurt Neumann | Stars: David Hedison, Patricia Owens, Vincent Price, Herbert Marshall

Votes: 17,697 | Gross: $3.00M

48. Horror of Dracula (1958)

Not Rated | 82 min | Horror

Jonathan Harker begets the ire of Count Dracula after he accepts a job at the vampire's castle under false pretenses.

Director: Terence Fisher | Stars: Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Michael Gough, Melissa Stribling

Votes: 17,432

49. The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958)

Unrated | 90 min | Horror