The season is almost up, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy classic horror films all year long! The ghouls, the glamour, and most of all the effects that dazzled audiences then (which you can still enjoy now if you grip the bowels of disbelief). But here's a rundown of some of the best early (1920s-1960s).
The classic cautionary tale of being a deadbeat dad, this movie has haunted audiences for years. Despite featuring a monster who is only referred to as “The Monster”—thanks, Dad, for the thought—he is easily one of the most recognizable creature in horror film history. Following The Monster’s creation and subsequent demise, this movie thoroughly illustrates the wise words of the Last Poets - “White Man Got a God Complex.”
Another cautionary tale for white men to stay in their lane, this movie follows several archeologists who, after seeing a warning to not own the mummy's sarcophagus, proceed to open the mummy's sarcophagus. What ensues is basically the equivalent of world history - everyone suffers because at the expense of a White guy (there seems to be a theme here).
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
One of the forefronts of German Expressionism, this movie highlights the beauty and simplicity of the films of the 1920s. The movie follows a somnambulist and his “doctor” who decides the best treatment for his “patient” is exploitation and profit via claims that his “patient” can see the future. This spirals once his patient is accused of *gasp* (wait for it)............murder.
The Bride of Frankenstein
The first sequel to Frankenstein features The Monster who decides to take it upon himself to explore the world and find himself in response to his daddy issues. After learning the language of man he realizes he also wants to learn the language of love and demands a bride to be made in his likeness. Because everyone knows the best love is the one manufactured in a lab solely for your fulfillment.
The Black Cat
The two names synonymous with classic horror - Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi - star in this film about two men vying for the same woman and a house full of secrets. A couple traveling the road happen to stumble into an ensuing situation between two men and woman that connected both of their pasts in an intimate way. This movie also features a hand to hand combat scene between the two prolific leads that just may tantalize any horror fans out there.
An odd collection of films centered around the magical time of the day when spookiness comes about. Featuring a lesbian romance that was censored in the American version (rude!), Boris Karloff riding into the studio on an Animatronic horse, and general 60s era grooviness, this movie is a much watch for anyone who’s a fan of 60’s horror.
House on Haunted Hill
The classic tale of a group of strangers being invited to stay in a haunted house by a mysterious owner, starring the enigmatic Vincent Price. Guests are invited to spend one night in this spooky manor with the guarantee of $15,000 in the morning for the most awkward, yet dangerous, sleepover ever. There’s plenty of old-school practical effects in here to entertain modern fans, but yet it still has that old Hollywood glamour hanging around it, (not to mention an Art Deco house hailing from the 1920s).
The Wolf Man
And here we come to the origins of the “All men are dogs” parable. In this classic starring Lon Chaney Jr. (with an appearance from Bela Lugosi) he taps into his wild side after an encounter with a gypsy. He's also a pervert who watches his female neighbor through a telescope in her bedroom over her father’s shop (just to reiterate the first point), and whose pick up line is somewhere along the lines of “Where’s those earrings that you were wearing in your bedroom earlier?”
The Phantom of the Opera
Although this one doesn’t have the amazing soundtrack of the hit Broadway/movie, it does feature one of horror’s greatest performances by the legendary Lon Chaney. The man of a thousand faces himself, he dons another one as The Phantom (creative monster names are a modern invention) and becomes infatuated with a young opera singer. Becoming the ultimate fan, he threatens anyone who tries to replace her on stage and whisks her away to his underground lair for protection. So you know, normal fangirl stuff.
Hands down one of the most gorgeous horror films, this film is made up of four short films (one of which the story was never finished) that capture different classic Japanese horror stories. They each are masterfully shot and woven together to form a tapestry of films centering around infidelity, promosies, spiritual beings, and tea.