Sound Off on Scary Films

Classic Horror From the 1950s

Hey there film lovers! A while back MovieFanFare ran a piece asking you about your first movie scare. Your response was tremendous, and because it is Halloween it seems like today would be the perfect time for you to sound off about more of your thoughts the horror genre in general.

So here’s what we would like to know your opinions on:

• What is your favorite horror film and why? Least favorite?

• What is the scariest movie you have ever seen and why?

• How do you think contemporary horror films compare to the classics? Is it even fair to compare them? Discuss.

• Who is your favorite film monster? (As you can tell from the picture you see here I have a soft spot for The Creature from the Black Lagoon).

• What combination of elements result in a truly scary film?

• What (if any) fright flick would you like to see remade and why?

That’s it. Let us know the answers to any and all of these questions in the comments. I’m sure your insights will be as illuminating as a full moon! Happy Halloween from MovieFanFare!

  • Rick Cardona

    A truly scary film has a definitive villain. Said antagonist show be seemingly superior in every way to the heroes and victims. And unlike the principles of the Lutin Bus, you should be able to at some point see him and be in awe of him. The creature or killer should be terrifying to behold and people around him should react appropriately. Yeah, don’t show him immediately, hold back for a little while, but then unvale him in spectacular fashion. Also I’ve seen inappropriate music totally deflate a movie. Rock n Roll is NOT the right music to inspire fear! A haunting classical and at times violent score is the best to incite fright. Which I had the resources to make a scary film.

  • Rick Cardona

    Typos – show in the second sentence should be SHOULD.

    Which in the last sentence should have been Wish. Sorry about that.

  • RayM

    “ALIEN” The first one. Stunning visuals, excellent acting by a fine cast. Plenty of shock material.
    Most of the modern horror films are just blood spattered mess, with no real story.
    Of the older films, Phantom of the Opera, Lon Chaney was superb in this one and several others as well.
    The 2 Phibes movies are also worthwhile, though a bit over the top.

  • bunson

    “Dracula” with Bela Lugosi for me. The sparse set, the entire mood of the film, the Swan Lake music – still scary. “I never dreeeenk….wine.” A very eerie film.

  • George

    My choice for scariest movie is a tie between “The Omen” (the first original one) and “Black Sunday” with the wonderfully camp Barbara Steele.

  • Rick Cardona

    I’d love to see The Dark from 1979 remade. It had a lot going for it yet has been considered a bad B movie. Still I saw a lot of things done right in that horror film. For instance the alien creature had all the bells and whistles. When he’d show up in the darkness eerie sounds and mysterious winds accompanied him. He was incredibly powerful and utilized that power often. The alien had intense biological eye lasers that made him deadlier and creepier. And the final climax had the creature going up against about 100 cops and giving them hell. Even the way he was defeated was cool as fire caused his 7 foot tall frame to explode and disintegrate in seconds. Yes with a proper budget and good director this could be an awesome candidate for remake!

    And Creature from the Black Lagoon has been tossed around for a remake treatment for 20 years yet nothing has happened yet. What’s the deal?

  • LUIGI From NYC

    For me — Scariest Flicks —

    09–THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE (Original 1946)
    05–THE BIRDS

  • xalf18

    For real scary movies, go way back. (1) The Werewolf of London with Henry Hull and Warner Oland. I was afraid to go into our cellar for 6 months. (2) The Exorcist–more disturbing than frightening. (3) Cat People. The original with Simone Simone and Kent Smith. Who could forget the swimming poor scene or the scene where the young lady is walking to the bus stop at night and suddenly the bus pulls up with its air brake sounding off. Note: there was no gore or visual violence as in the remake with Natasha Kinski. Val Lewton used lighting effects to set the mood. (4) The Body Snatcher with Henry Daniell, Boris Karloff, and Bela Lugosi. Another Lewton triumph. (5) Jaws–yes Jaws. This was the only movie I ever saw in which I literally jumped out of my seat in the theater when the shark first appeared. (6) Alien. Who could forget the scene when the alien comes popping through John Hurt’s belly. And you thought you had belly aches. (7) Psycho. Based on actual events-Ed Gein ? The big shock was how soon in the film the heroine (Janet Leigh) gets knocked off. (8)The Human Monster with Bela Lugosi as the proprietor of a home for the blind. His henchman-Lou-would be throwing bodies out the window into the muck.

  • Blair Kramer.

    I never thought those old Creature films of Black Lagoon fame were necessarily scary. But I have always found them very entertaining in a “guilty pleasure” sort of way. The idea that human beings evolved directly from fish makes no sense at all, but who cares? The Creature films have an elegance and style that is entirely unique. They’re unlike any other monster and/or horror film series ever made.

  • S Judy

    The Creature scared me so much. As an adult I was watching a VCR and as the monster’s hand started to appear out of the water our power went out and really really scared me. Great fun and
    actually believable.

  • S Judy

    Would NOT like to see a remake of Creature from the Black Lagoon.

  • jim dicicco

    I’d like to see “The Keep” in DVD format.It’s a movie circa 1985. This is a creepy and thought-provoking flick about a WWII German fighting unit finding a medieval keep or castle in a Romainian mountain pass. They unwittingly free the supernatural creature that was imprisoned within the keep ( in the 1400’s). I have seen many older movies in DVD but why not this one?

  • spindrift

    Favorite scary film of all time, IMO, is the Haunting, based on the fabulous book by Shirley Jackson. I don’t have a least favorite, I love ALL scary films, but some more than others. Scariest again, The Haunting, because there is NOTHING to see re the haunting itself, it is only implied, no monsters with dripping fangs, no severed heads, no gratuitous gore and grue, just an incredible story.
    There are no contemporary horror movies that compare because they all succumb to violence and bludgeon moviegoers over the head with it all; we GET it already, enough! My favorite film monster is Dracula, my favorite Dracula actor, Bela Lugosi, but my favorite vampire look in film is Nosferatu, that is just brilliant and very very scary.
    Best combination of elements is, a really good story, good actors, good directing and a good setting. No real violence is necessary if all those attributes come into play. Also I must mention The Innocents, that was also scary and very well made.
    I would LOVE to see The Haunting remade because the one scene that scared me above all others was omittied form the film; the scene where Elinor gets angry with Theo and runs out of the house, an Night, and Marquay sends Theo after her; they become so embroiled in their arguing they pay no attention to how far they’ve walked away from the house. Suddenly the trees and sky around them becomes like a negative photograph, dark and light reversed, and they come upon a happy family having a picnic in  bright color; the description of this made my hair stand on end, like now, just writing about it and remembering it. The second part is at the beginning when Theo Luke and Elinor go for a walk outside and Elinor drifts a bit ahead of them and hears them talking right behind her. She stops and turns around and they can barely be seen in the distance.

  • Tburger

    Hands down, the original Halloween with Jamie Curtis…………

  • Flamale863

    “Dont Look Now” with Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie is a not so well known film that deserves more recognition…Its a classy English thriller set in Venice Italy…the acting is great,the setting is beautiful and creepy and the plot has a twist at the end that totally surprises you. Rent it or buy wont be disapointed…

  • Rubeosky

    John Carpenter’s “The Thing” had me going for a while.   Hard for me to say which is the scariest.   I think though “Last house on the Left” terrified me a lot and in view of recent events I commonly see in the news now makes that movie even more so.

  • rs71

    It’s not really a horror movie, but the original “In Cold Blood” scared the heck out of me.

  • Jimbo

    Two, the original Frankenstein with Boris Karloff & Dracula with Bela Lugosi.

  • Brx199

    The original The Thing by Howard Hawks was nearly my first heart attack at age 9.

  • ArtW

    “Charly” with Cliff Robertson, from around 1975 or so.  This happy retard is operated on, becomes smart, then super-smart, gets the girl, then learns the effect is not permanent, and he’s going to slide all the way back to where he started.  A great scary metaphor for Alzheimer’s and other diseases like Lou Gehrig. About two-thirds through, where he realizes what’s going to happen, just takes the hair up off the back of my neck. A great performance, and a subtle theme.

  • Davidgsheehan

    PSYCHO freaked me out because Hitchcock’s genius forced me to face the fact that life doesn’t follow Hollywood guidelines and death can be scripted into your own scenario without any warning whatsoever.
    That said-the only time I felt actual FEAR was watching ALIEN in a crowded cinema where a woman was having real hysterics somewhere at the back of the Stalls and a complete stranger and I clung together for comfort during the last 10 minutes!  

  • Patty

    “The Uninvited”  It’s an oldie, but it still gives me goosebumps.  Also, remember going to the show w/parents to see “Psycho”…wanted to sink down to the floor so I wouldn’t have to watch, but I “braved” it out.  Didn’t want them to think I was a pansy.

    • KarenG_958

      The Uninvited is my favorite too.  What a great cast, wonderful setting, and a fun ghost story as well!

  • rt

    THE SHADOW OF THE VAMPPIRE  – excellent horror film.

  • Vlr1953

    The first Halloween movie.  

  • Rick

    My scariest movie is “The Exorcist”. It combines a great mood with subtle creeps up until the final “confrontation”. My son says its boring because its mostly talking. He’s a perfect example of what I call “The Slasher Generation”. You’ve got to have knives for fingers or wear a hockey mask to be scary. Sigh. As far as remakes go, I shudder when I hear of one. There are a few exceptions that shine out, like Carpenter’s version of “The Thing”, but for the most part I think a good horror movie is like lightning in a bottle. It either works or it doesn’t. I’ll always have a special place in my heart for the Universal monsters.I also love the Creature. I’ve got them all and always force the kids to watch every year. I guess that makes me a movie sadist, but thats not too scary, is it?? Lol. 

  • KarenG_958

    My favorite horror movies –

    The Uninvited
    Silver Bullet
    The Fog (original)
    American Werewolf in London

    Scariest movie I ever saw –


  • Rick

    I don’t think you can really compare Classic Horror films with the movies of today. The scares are different. The “monsters” of today tend to be disgruntled spirits or airborne diseases. The technology has allowed us to produce some memorable effects that are fear inspiring, but if they are combined with substandard story, its usually lackluster. (Paranormal 3, anybody?) Some of the classics actually got it right. Because the technology of the time was limited, they had to be creative and develop other techniques to IMPLY the scare. Watch the original “Cat People” with Simone Simone, or “The Uninvited” with Gail Russell and you’ll see what I mean. There is NOTHING quite so scary as our own imaginations.

    • Jan

      I agree.  I have always thought the older horror films much scarier because they force you to use your imaginations to see what they hint at.  Beginning in the 70’s, the horror films just showed it all in it’s blood & guts gory….uh glory.  After awhile you just know it’s fake blood & guts.

  • Bruiser40214

    The Phantasm series and The Evil Dead series, for different reasons. Phantasm goes down a different trail than other horror films, the Tall Man and the flying spheres are scary. Plus it has that nice ‘Cuda. The Evil Dead has enough horror to go with the humor.

    For the classics, it’s hard to beat the Universals of the thirties. A bit of trivia: a lot of the Flash Gordon serial was filmed on the Dracula set.

  • Mike

    My favorite horror films:

    The Thing (from amother world)
    The Wolfman (2009)
    The House of Wax (1953)

  • Ken

    Holloween. Frankenstein, ( with Boris Karloff ) Exorcist, I like the old classic horror films most.

  • Kballen

    I think the Changeling (1980) with George C Scott is one of the scariest movies ever made. Of course the old Universal Dracula, Frankenstein, Wolf Man, The werewolf of London,bride of Frankenstein were all GREAT. Love them. As far as remakes probably the Frank Langella Dracula was really good and well made. But it should have started in Transylvania, not England. I could probably go on but I’m running out of time. Happy Halloween!!

    • Lala1941jan

      Dracula was being transported by ship to England,,, the journey began in his hometown. He was also the hottest vampire I ever saw. Woof!!!      But my scariest was a draw between The Shining and The Exorcist. A lot to choose from.

    • Frosty

      I remember some actress on Jay Leno praising “The Changeling” as such a scary movie, so I rented it. Maybe it’s me, but a wheelchair chasing people just didn’t seem very frightening.

  • Kenny


  • Dave

    James Whale’s “The Bride Of Frankenstein” (1935), one of those rare cases where the sequel outdid the original.  “Frankenstein” (1931) had no score, was stagey in comparison, and took itself too seriously, in my opinion.  “Bride” not only had a wonderful score by Franz Waxman (recycled in numerous feature films and serials), great camera angles and dramatic closups, but also to Boris Karloff and Colin Clive added the inimitable Else Lanchester and Ernest Thesiger to round out a near perfect cast.  Billed as a “horror” film, this is always fun to watch, for its literary allusions (especially the opening), satire on the genre, and in-jokes.  “A good cast is worth repeating”.  Sadly, none of the neverless entertaining following Frankenstein films rose to this high bar, or had such an ensemble of talent.  It is the only one really worth repeating!

  • Roy

    Right photo, right movie, with The Devil’s Bride as a close second.

  • Richsass

    The Thing   Movie from 1951  The suspense, music, and fast paced direction make this flick a classic. 

  • Anderson67rose

    The original version of the THE HAUNTING with Julie Harris.  I saw this when I was about 10 and was terrified!!  I later read the book THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE by Shirley Jackson and  was equally scared.  Here was a movie that had no blood, no mutilations, no decapitations and yet maintained a very high sense of tension.  The other movie which I love is THE OTHERS  with Nicole Kidman.  Again, none of the fake stuff that so many supposedly scary movies have, but it still managed to totally raise goosebumps!!

  • Danpupo10151

    .Vincent Price’s House on Haunted Hill.  That movie scared the dickens out of me when I was a kid

  • Skylur44

    The Haunting 1963 when real horror was skillfully done by NOT showing blood gore and cheap fright tactics, but by genuine talent and superb directing.

  • Frosty

    “The Exorcist” is still the scariest movie that I’ve ever seen. It makes Freddie and Jason movies look like Disney.

  • Pacerdad


  • MACSTER0823


  • Mike48128

    Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, while not perfect, is the best combination of horror and comedy ever filmed, with the possible exception of “Young Frankenstein” which is in a separate category by itself as the funniest film of all time. In A&C, Lon Cheney Jr. and Bela Lugosi are the true originals.  Glen Strange plays Frankenstein’s Monster and later played “Sam the Bartender” for years on the old “Gunsmoke” series. For truly scary films, I have to go for “Bride of Frankenstein”, “House of Wax” (1953), and the original “The Thing from Outer Space.” “Rubber-suit” monsters don’t impress me, so the “Black Lagoon” guy doesn’t make it. A true monster movie should be closer in spirit (ha!) and not be a science-fiction film like the “alien series” although I am sure that many would disagree. I like the older stuff–scary without being too gory or graphic. My favorite “monster” is not scary at all: the original “Robby the Robot” from Forbidden Planet” and reused countless times in TV shows, including (ugh) “Lost in Space.”

  • Frosty

    The openning shot before the titles of “Voodoo Island” shocked me as a kid, but alas, the movie went downhill from there.

  • Jerry Bash

    There have been many. My first real scare was from the original “King Kong” which my Dad took me to see on its 20th anniversary release in 1953. (I was 6!!)  I jumped several times. I also jumped a few times during Hawks’ The Thing from another world. The 2 sequels were just stupid!

  • Qazadoo

    Always loved the original Horror movies…Dracula, Frankenstein,Mummy & Wolfman…Exorcist and first Omen movie…

  • Sms1211

    The Uninvited, 1944, along with The Haunting, 1963

    • JohnQ

      The Uninvited, my all-time,all-time favorite. I play it every year around halloween

    • cindy

       I agree with you,both great choices !

  • Natecoe

    Silent Hill. It has everything, story, images and shocking ending.

  • Mike48128

    Films that really need to be remade (but not exactly monster films): “Barbarella” and “This Island Earth.”  I suggest Tim Burton as the director  as long as he doesn’t get too campy. (His recent “Dark Shadows” was a mixed-bag, and not an entirely successful remake.)

  • Tammy

    NO MORE REMAKES,  PLEASE! Leave the classics and originals alone. All that slasher and gore C*** doesn’t get any better with remakes either.

  • goodneighbor

    My favorite was my first.  The original version of “THE THING”, with James Arness as The Thing.  I must have been 8 or 9.  My mother had to come in and sit with me for several days so I could go to sleep?

  • Tom K.

    ” The Exorcist ” on the big screen.  Several women and a few men RAN out of the theater; some through the main door and some out of the Fire Exit door.  One woman was shouting ” I can’t take. I can’t take it ! ”  This added a lot to the general ambiance’.  

    • Raysson

      Steven Spielburg’s 1975 thriller “JAWS” on the big screen. Saw this in the theatres as a kid with my uncle in 1975. During the movie,several people including some children and a few women and some men RAN like hell out of the theatre,some through the main doors of the theatre and through the fire exits. One moviegoer was so frightened that she actually threw up in the lobby area of the theatre….while some were scared for their lives when they saw the first glimpse of the killer shark…..Some of them couldn’t take it not to mention giving them second thoughts about going to the beach that summer of 1975.

  • Mike48128

    One of the most disturbing “monster” movies of all time, to me, was the remake of “The Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”  I guess the monster in this one is the mimicking alien plant? The dog-human and the blood-curdling scream at the end (by Donald Sutherland?) scared me to death!  I saw this film in my late teens and its disturbing images bothered me for weeks.  Although it no longer scares me, I still will not watch this film–I just don’t like it!

  • Debbie

    Horror: Dracula with Bela
    Sci-fi: The Thing From Another World with Kenneth Tobey

  • Danofan59

    The original “Omen” is one of the few movies that have ever really scared me.  I also have a soft spot for “Prince of Darkness.”  It was as if John Carpenter made up a list of all the elements that people find scary, and threw them all into the mix.  Created a very creepy atmosphere.  “Least favorite” is kind of a misnomer, because if I think poorly of it, the word “favorite” doesn’t even belong in the sentence.  I immediately think of “The Blair Witch Project,” which was a huge letdown, unless you get scared by seeing a bunch of idiots running around in the dark getting scared by pretty much nothing.

  • Bwillis

    1931 Frankenstein at that time was great.I have the original of that and orginal “the thing”. but the scariest I thought was “The Thing” with Kurt Russel.

  • Nom du Plume17

    Scariest movie was Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.  No doubt about that!  I got a cold chill for years after that anytime I saw more than 10 birds sitting on a telephone wire.

    Best monster?  Does King Kong count?  He was the best in my opinion.  Far better than any of the so-called horror monsters like Godzilla, which was a ludicrous Japanese imitation.

    However, the movie I watch every Halloween is “Something Wicked This Way Comes” with Jason Robards and Jonathan Pryce.  That is a scary movie without the traditional “monster”.  The ambience of evil permeates the movie and it stays with you.  Very well done!!

  • Lfkwell

    Dracula, with Bela Lugosi’s hypnotic performance is my favorite horror film.  Forget the teen romantic vampire sagas.  The settings are so dramatic and the comic relief just right.

  • Ludy

    It  may  not  be  the scariest,  but  FRANKENSTEIN  MEETS  THE  WOLFMAN  has  inspired  me  because  of   the  scenes  of  German  village  life–the  Festival  of  New  Wine.      And  the  opening  scene  in  the  graveyard  is  good  atmosphere.

  • Bazz2

    The1950s Invasion of the Body Snatchers which I saw as a pre-teen. Would look under my bed and inside closet for many days for a pod.

  • Diane

    John Carpenter’s re-make of “The Thing”, “Shaun of the Dead” and “Ghost Ship”

  • Lfkwell

    “The Abominable Dr. Phibes”, starring Vincent Price.  I watched it while babysitting and was to scared and grossed out to even get up and turn it off. 

  • Tclerkin

    Ray Milan in “the Premature Burial” scared me so bad as a kid that I ran out of the theater without seeing the entire film. By the way, I didn’t sleep that night.

  • Bill

    Old horror — Island of Lost Souls
    Newer horror — John Carpenter’s The Thing, Alien

  • Lacewing_3

    Almost anything with Vincent Price

  • Dr. Phibes


  • Gffoster

    the original… The Haunting 1963 , in B/W. Julie Harris, Claire Bloom. There are no monsters, no blood, guts or gore…..just good old sound and feel and in your mind horror.

  • Ellen Badders

    Just saw on TCM Diabolique-french with subtitles.  It is one of the scariest most suspensful movies I have ever seen! Well worth watching.  Also, Halloween & Invasion of Body Snatchers remake scared me to death as a teenager.

  • Makumba

    Any Ray Harryhausen Movies. Biggest surprise would be Killer Klowns From Outerspace.
    I figure it would be stupid and ended up loving it.

  • Sheila1111

    I classify horror movies into three catagories – horror, monster, & sci-fi, though some do cross over. The movies which scared me & left an impact on my life – “Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte” (still have visions of Bette Davis with a meat cleaver) & The Exorcist (Catholic schooling planted the fear).

  • Grams191

    Jeckl and Hyde with Spencer Tracy and Ingrid Berman

  • Desolationrowsix

    Actually one of the scariest movies I ever saw was “A Clockwork Orange”.
    It is not classified as a horror movie, but it was so realistic and frightening.

  • FalmouthBill

    Being born in 1943, the 50’s were my growing up movies ! We still had Saturday matinees for the kids, 2 movies, a serial or two, and 20 cartoons, and with my older [ by 8 yrs.] sister working at the refreshment stand, “Life was Good”. Those Saturday matinees, and early T.V. introduced us to Boris Karloff, Bela Lagose, and Lon Chaney Jr.. And the advent of the space/Nuclear age gave us all those great 50’s space monster movies, War of the Worlds, Them, It came from Outer Space, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers, to mention just a few !  However, the one that probably scared/affected me the most was “Invaders from Mars” I wouldn’t go to the beach for a year, or walk on “sand”. Those old films I now watch on Sunday morning with my breakfast, and for a little while I’m a kid again, despite the zippers in the monster costumes.
    As fr your two questions, I’m a purist, remake always fall short to nostalgia. As to the elements that make a scary film it would be whatever your afraid of, or fear, in my case being confined in a small space, ergo I wouldn’t have drunk the coffee with the sleeping potion that Sutherland drank from Bridges’ thermos to experience what Sandra Bullock did, dumb, dumb, dumb, and frightening !    FalmouthBill 

  • DantesInferno

    First one I saw as a kid that made me watch more… “Psycho” and “The Birds”, But much later and to this day “Halloween” its scary to watch to this day!

  • Dfarley725

    omen, the original, is the scariest movie. Creature from the black lagoon is the best monster.

  • Lightnin

    Of course the classics. I don’t see or like todays gory films, but I did see one, I was very impressed with the quality of the first “UNDERWORLD” and my favorite would have to be “THEM” love the ants.

    • hypatiab7

      I love “Them!”,  too, but think of it as more science fiction than horror. My favorite horror movie is
      one of the oldies – “Bride of Frankenstein”. It had a better script, acting and special effects than the
      first talkie Frankenstein movie. I love the scene where the Bride is introduced to poor Adam. That
      scritchy scream and look of horror were perfect. What did anyone expect from her? She sees
      herself as normally human and, of course, would see the poor ‘monster’ as a monster. He, of course,
      sees her as lovely, so his sadness and anger are easy to understand.

  • Stlouisnick

    I think the best horror movie has to be the original, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”  Even though the technical effects were a bit primitive, by today’s standards, they were very effective. The subject matter was, I think, deeply affecting. What could be scarier than being replaced by a sentient vegetable? It didn’t require a lot of gore to scare you. The remake didn’t add anything to the narrative and, in fact, ended on a hopeless note instead of the hope-filled ending of the original. I’m a  sucker for a black and white film, anyway. Keven McCarthy was just right as the protagonist and Dana Wynter, oddly with a British accent, struck the right balance of menaced but strong, intelligent woman. I’m glad the re-make with Donald Sutherland included a cameo for McCarthy.
    Second place has to go to the original “War of the Worlds.”  It really didn’t need to be re-made. Again, primitive special effects but they still hold up pretty well, today.
    The worst sci-fi I’ve ever seen was, of course, “Plan 9 From Outer Space.” The film’s scenery and special effects were equaled only by the absolutely terrible acting and the ridiculous storyline. It was a total waste of celluloid.
    I have to agree with Dantesinferno that Psycho was very scary, (a coin toss between it and “Body Snatchers”) especially the scene in the root cellar with the discovery of the mummified “Mother.” The way Hitchock had the moving light playing on Mother’s mummified skull was brilliantly done  But “Halloween” was a little too exploitative… too much senseless gore. It was like, “How can we kill this guy in the most gruesome way possible. Appeals mainly to the teens. The best part of it was the movie debut (I think) of Jamie Lee Curtis.

  • Chuck

    King Kong…..1930s

  • Tgw51

    As a kid growing up in the 1950s, the scariest movie I remember was “It, the Terror From Beyond Space.”  While the monster’s costume wasn’t up to today’s standards, for most of the movie you only saw shadows of a huge, blood-thirsty creature that was methodically killing the crew of a spaceship returning to earth.  Nothing seemed capable of stopping the monster, and eventually the few crew members that were still alive were holed up in the control center — with the monster breaking through the hatch.  The movie came on very late — probably after midnight — and I was afraid to go to bed after it ended!  (The story is very similar to “Alien” — which is now one of my favorite sci-fi movies.) 

  • Chuck

    “Frankenstein” w Boris Karloff

  • Stlouisnick

    I forgot to mention that one of my favorites that I would like to see re-made is “Them.”  The storyline was good and scary for a kid who grew up in the 50s, but the special effects weren’t so special. I could be made so much better, today. It would be hard to find someone better than James Whitmore as the lead, though. 

  • Brg4356

    Invaders from Mars. After seeing it in a movie theater I checked the backs of people’s necks for months to see if they had been taken over by the aliens.

  • Raysson


  • Raysson

    Scariest movie that I ever saw was the 1975 drama MANDINGO….think about that period in American history. Several scenes stand out as gory including the infamous scene of a slave being whipped fully nude upside down while his sadistic master beats the daylights out of him while he is dripping down blood with his buttocks half cut off!

  • Raysson

    Wes Craven’s 1972 movie THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT which has one of the most sadistic scenes ever committed on film….

    Tobe Hooper’s 1974 gorefest ….the original TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE which has to be one of the sickest scenes of brutal murder ever filmed….I refused to watch it. But if you have the stomach!!!

  • Raysson

    For those who REALLY have a fear of snakes and other reptiles…….1972’s horror flick STANLEY really does stand out! A Vietnam Veteran who lives in the Florida Everglades adopts a very strange pet…a venomous rattlesnake named STANLEY as his pet,and unleashes a string of terror throughout! One scene that does stand out is where the victim dives into a swimming pool where Stanley and his snakes of death(including two water moccasins and a copperhead)does to this man in one of the most violent scenes ever filmed. It is out on DVD,and be forewarned that it is NOT for the squeamish!

  • Raysson

    The scariest Vincent Price movie that he did was a Western…A Western Horror…titled BETTER DEAD THAN ALIVE…..the coffin scene is really creepy. I do remember that tagline…..
    “THE LORD OF THE JUNGLE(Mike Henry)”…meets THE MASTER OF THE MACABRE”(Vincent Price)

  • Harry Kane

    The movie that had the greatest effect on me as a child was the 3D version of HOUSE OF WAX with Vincent Price.  I lived in Boston at the time and many of the buildings in the area had open grated elevators like the one depicted in the movie.  After seeing the hanging sequence in the movie I wouldn’t step into one of those open elevators for any reason.  Just seeing that type of elevator creeped me out for many years.

  • Matt Gaffney

    There was one called “The She Demons” that I saw on TV in about 1959 or so. It scared the heck out of me. Also
    “The Giant Behemoth” got to me too.

  • FYI

    Growing up in the ’50’s, at the height of horror, there was a treasure trove of scary movies! The first movie monster that really scared me was “The Beast from 20,000 fathoms.” I was about 8 or 9 and lived near Coney Island. I remember walking to school looking up over the roof tops expecting to see that dinosaur!
    Then there was “House on Haunted Hill” with Vincent Price. I wouldn’t go down to my grandmother’s cellar for weeks! Oh, and “Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors.”

    Still one of my all time favorites and annual Halloween watch is “The Uninvited” with Ray Milland. A not so scary, but very well done ghost story.

    And if you have never seen it…dim all the lights and watch the silent film classic “Nosferatu”…remarkable special effects for the day, and still, the creepiest Dracula movie ever!

    Then, of course, there was “Zacherly.” A favorite Saturday afternoon goul who hosted a program showcasing all the best and worst of the horror/sci-fi genre.

    No blood and guts slasher movies…just good old horror classics and great campy movies (think “Attack of the killer tomatoes”).   

  • Gayle Seratt

    Lon Chaney was such a master of the make-up craft………I like all of his films but
    especially Phantom of the Opera……when that mask falls, it still gives me the shivers !!!

  • John Cirica

    DR JEKYLL and MR HYDE  (1932)  Fredrick March.
    Fantastic make-up and performance

  • zzyes

    All The President’s Men.

  • FYI

    Dr. Stangelove!>)

  • Carolyn Ferrante

    FYI — There was a recent article about Zacherly in the New York Times.  He’s 94 years old and living in a rent-controlled apartment in Manhattan.  He looks good and seems to be in high spirits (no pun intended).  He’s a lifelong bachelor.  I wonder whatever happened to that bag of bones which he kept hanging in his studio.  Remember his “wife” Isabel who was also in his studio, in a casket?  He used to lift the lid occasiionally and speak to her.
    Those were the days! 

    • FYI

      Yes! Great fun! Especially on stormy days like today. There’s still a website dedicated to all things Zacherly…Check it out.

  • Dave Grace

    THE UNINVITED (1944), starring Ray Milland, Ruth Hussey and Gail Russell (with a fine supporting cast).  Often overlooked or underated because of its age and VHS/DVD limited release, this is the ghost story that still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.  Without color, computer graphics or even one drop of blood, this story has the superb combination of a great mystery plot, real ghosts (not someone revealed to be pulling wires like in some films), humor, romance, thrills, chills and a fine musical score that includes Stella By Starlight.  Occasionally available on Classic Movie networks, don’t miss it.  Although its been previously mentioned here, it really derserves more consideration.  Watch it at night, with the lights down, from the beginning and undisturbed… and you’ll feel the deathly chill… especially if it’s your first viewing.

    If you must have a good time, color, blood and gore, try Aliens or perhaps even “my” film, the 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead (I was the Policeman Zombie). 

    • Peggy

       The Uninvited Is indeed a  real classic “scary, not gory movie….Don’t think anyone ever fell asleep in that one, Dave!

  • Dardavis01

    I remember as a kid being scared by The House of Wax, The Thing, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon.  I, as an adult, don’t really care for horror movies, but still remember these three.

  • Xalf18

    Werewolf of London, starring Henry Hull and Warner Oland.  I saw this when I was a youngster, with my mother.  After seeing the werewolf coming out of the shadows attacking young women, I was afraid to go down our cellar because of the darkness.   The second scariest was “The Body Snatcher” with Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, produced by Val Lewton.  Then comes “Cat People”, the original with Kent Smith and Simone Simone.  The scene in the swimming pool–where you only see the silouhette of the panther, and the scene where the girl is walking to her bus stop at night and you hear the leaves rustling in the trees, finally being jolted by the sound of air brakes as the girl’s bus stops scared the hell out of me.  Yet, there was never any gore or blood in this film. 

  • Ken

    The Exorcist. A thinking mans horror film. It takes more than one viewing to see the depths this films. Great performances,set designs,sound production. Every thing adds up to a classic. Often imitated, never surpassed.

  • Mdg1054

    Night of the living dead – 1968

  • Movie Fan

    I don’t remember the title anymore, but Vincent Price made a movie with a scene showing a woman looking through a pair of opera glasses, and getting stabbed in the eyes…AUGH!!!! What makes a movie scary is the sense that something ordinary has become eccentric, or off-balance. Chairs aren’t supposed to have arms that grab you…The scariest movie I ever saw was the original “Aliens,” with Sigourney Weaver. It’s just an egg, right? Eggs aren’t supposed to explode in your face because the thing living in it wants to eat you from the inside out…AUGH!!!! The baby monster was more terrifying than the adult, because babies are supposed to be cute…right? I’d love to see all the Hammer Films remade, with better special effects and less idiotic female characters. I’d really love to see Stephen King’s book, “From A Buick 8” made into a movie. Some of his “evil car” stuff was really dumb, but this car is just a Buick…right?

  • Filmax

    THE UNINVITED for a ghost story
    THE THING (John Carpenter’s version) and the original THE THING (Howard Hawks///)for out genuine sci-fi horror
    ALIEN for hair on the back of your neck sticking straight out thrills and chills
    THE HOWLING for unexpected and downright great storytelling with special effects
    ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN for mixing comedy and horror with more than satisfying results for both

  • Tgr4evr

    A little embaressed to admit this but at 74 years of age The Thing still scares me. I saw it at the Vern theater in East Los Angeles when it was first released and had nightmares for several weeks. There were a lot of great horror films back then, but its still the best

  • Dadhap

    Soylent Green

  • Sally Stark


  • Danstar4

    #1 – Will always be the Exorcist and even though not asked for, #2 – Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Gary Oldman is superb in this all too often played role).

    • Rwmacevoy

      Forgot abot Gary Oldman in that role. He was fantastic.

  • Rhc1945

    Brotherhood of The Wolf

  • Msdebbie

    Fall of the house of usher.  my least favorite is halloween.   the scariest is the exorcist.


  • Frankenstorm

    My favorite horror movie will always be Frenkenstein Meets The Wolfman.  The reason is that my little sister and I were left by ourselves for a couple of hours at Lewes Beach in Deleware, while the folks stepped out.  This was an Air Force Beach and the Mess tent doubled as a movie house at night.  We were only 6 & 7 years old.  After the movie we walked through the spooky sand dunes back to our bungelo, which was locked!  I asked my sister what we should do.  She hit me and yelled, “You’re older, you should know!”  Then just like the cartoon lightbulb going on, I knew what to do.  I said, “Lets go back and watch the 2nd showing of Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman!”  She said, “No! Wolfman sacres me.”  I told that he only grabbed people when they were alone, and we would be in a tent full of people.  She agreed and we ran hand and hand back for the 2nd show.  The next time we returned to the bungelo, Mom & Dad were there.  That night in 1961 was burned into my soul.  Those monsters lept off the big screen and right into our lives.  As a matter of fact, that may have been the last time my little sister ever asked me to solve any of her problems!  

  • Samandgeorge07

    The Creature of the Black Lagoon is the one that always scared me. I think part of it was the music they always played before they showed him. Also The Thing was another one. The end of the movie when they showed him really got me as a little girl.

  • Peggy

    This may not qualify as an “Horror” movie, but it’s the SCARIEST one I’ve ever seen…
    :”Hider in the House”.  Don’t remember who starred in it, but he did a great job.

  • the dame 48

    Frtz Lane’s ” Freaks” I’m not sure when it was released around 1925 I think. If you have never seen it  you’ve missed the best.  Though when I was about 8 or 9  I cried until my dad took me to  see “House Haunted Hill” with Vincent Price. It scared me so much that I could’nt sleep without the light, my dad was really mad at me because he had told me that is what would happen.  He told me that I could’nt see any more horror movies. BUT I was hooked, my cousins and never missed one for the next 4 to 5 years. OH those Saturdays afternoons in the dark. Then trying to tell each other we were’nt scared stiff.   Now all these years later my grandson and I wacth the old classics together. I come full cricle “House on Haunted Hill” scared him so bad that even today 6 yeasrs later (he is now 17) he won’t watch it.

  • Judy

    I can’t comment on my favorite horror film because I have so many. One of my least favorite is “IT”. I thought it was going great until  the end of the movie. This goofy monster was revealed in a cave. In my opinion, It just messed up and was foreign to the plot.   I don’t think it’s fair to compare the contemporary to the classics because the special effects today are so advanced. The horror classics still had novelty and great story lines. These are the three scariest films for me. The Exorcist, The Night Flier and The Unholy.

  • Peggy

    Addendum:  I forgot about “Wait Until Dark” with Audrey Hepburn. Again, not a horror movie , but immensely suspenseful.  I screamed out loud in the movie theater the first time I say it, many years ago.  I had never done that before, nor since.  

  • RG

    The movie that gave me the worst nightmares was Horrors of the Black Museum.

  • Randolph theatre Maine

    The Tingler!  kitsch  I was pretty young when I saw it, about 7 years old.  William Castle, the master director! Vincent Price, and a pretty boy, Darryl Hickman, what more could you want in a movie

  • Cltaunt

    House on Haunted Hill with Vincent Price. Hoakiest horror movie ever made.

  • Gbell6642

    Salem’s Lot. No questuion. Still gives me the creeps.

  • Gene

    The Uninvited with Ray Mayland.  This movie gives you goose bumps up your spine and before you even see the ghost.  Well written and excellent acting makes for the best ghost movie I have ever seen. 

  • Gregbrowne

    the uninvited 4 sure

  • Gregbrowne49

    can ” the uninvited ” please be released on dvd [ blu ray would be the ultimate ] ty 

  • ydnar0591

    I’m torn between 2 , “House on Haunted Hill” from 1958 & “Frankenstein meets the Wolfman” from 1943. I’ll take the former. Vincent Price and the “House on Haunted Hill”.

  • david mills

    House on Haunted Hill and the Horror of Dracula are tied, VIncent Price and Christopher Lee,

  • Bliz1978

    Favorite (modern) and scariest, hands down – The Shining
    Scariest classic: the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers; close second Rosemary’s Baby.

    The ultimate horror element for me is something/someone that is not what/who you think. Scary in the movies and scary in real life. Very timely. 

  • RMac

    Scariest was “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane” because I was so young when I saw it. My favorites are the ground breakers like “Eyes Without A Face” that shocked so many a Cannes but would be nothing today, and the first “Night of the Living Dead” which started the Zombie Apocalypse we are living under today.

  • speedle

    Scariest was “Alien” (the original).  No contest.  The reason is that nothing in this movie falls beyond a reasonable scenario given our lack of knowledge of the rest of the universe.  Ghosts, witches, vampires?  Nah.

    • ridgemeister

       I have to agree.  Two friends and I went to see it after a night shift as Deputy Sheriffs, so we were fairly used to seeing horrible things.  In addition, all of us were veterans; I was the only one who hadn’t seen combat, one other had been a SEAL (OG) in Vietnam (6’3″, 245 lbs) and the other had flown RA-4 Skyhawks in Vietnam.  When the baby alien popped out of the chest all of us tried to jump into each others laps!   The other two have since passed on but after the movie, and for quite a while thereafter we still laughed about that incident, although at the time it certainly wasn’t funny!

  • Gregsz1r1000

    The movie that scared me the most when I was a kid was “The Haunting” from 1963 with Julie Harris. It still scares me to this day.

  • MAFil

    Salem’s Lot the 1979 mini series.  Also The Legend of Hell House 1972. Scared the you-know-what out of me!

  • Dreeves8

    The Creature From The Black Lagoon is my favorite. They don’t make movies like they used to and they are not nearly as good!

  • Gregsz1r1000

    How about  William Castle’s ” Macabre” ?   Very creepy

  • Lizardofahhs

    When I Was A Kid.Every Friday Night. WBNS. Channel 10 Chiller Theater. Where I Learned To Love The Classics

  • Garykevinware

    Diabolique (1955) The ending was so unexpected, I had to watch it again.

  • Andy Geisel

    Fall of the House of Usher, with Vincent Price

  • Dopwop4u

    the thing from another world,the original with kennith toby and james arnes.

  • Jerry

    Without a doubt, as a young man, “Psyco” was the scariest movie I ever saw. I actually covered my eyes during the cellar scene when they find the dried body of the old lady in the chair and the light bulb is swinging around and there is that scary, high pitched screetching noise in the sound track.

    • JackJones

      I was prepared for the murder in the shower. There had been a lot of hype about it but the murder on the stairs really did me in. 

  • Jerry

    Sorry, I meant “Psycho”. I don’t even know how to spell it I am so cared.

  • Jhtbarber12

    The movie that scared me the most when I was a kid was What’s The Matter With Helen.  I was 11 years old and saw it in a sneak preview.  The way that Shelly Winters went completely nutso scared the dog out of me.  I couldn’t sleep for a couple of nights after that either. Now as an adult you can see how completely cheesy it is. 

  • Elly May

    “The Innocents” with Deborah Kerr, what a scary ghost movie!  Also, the original “Night of the Living Dead”.

  • Dglsjensen

    The resident evil series.

  • Maurice Class

    The first “Omen”.

  • BobinTX

    1959’s B&W “The Tingler” with Vincent Price scared the living daylights out of me as when I was a 13 year old.  It was just on TV in the last few months, I still like it, but it doesn’t scare me anymore. 

    My wife keeps saying that it’s people like me that keep those movies on TV… she’s right, I’ll watch it every time it’s on.

  • Dante

    The very first War of the Worlds especially the part where the reverend walks towards the Martian ship while praying “Even though I walk  in the valley of the shadow of death……………”  Pazowwie

  • Ddush

    House of Wax with Vincent Price was great! I was very scared as a young person,but it doesn’t seem so bad now that I am a “LITTLE BIT” older!

  • Zed

    Favourite: Tetsuo: The Iron Man ; lease favourite: most Hollywood “horror” remakes, & pointless, boring & plotless torture movies also from America.
    Scariest: The Exorcist because it’s well-made and properly scary.
    For contemporary films, look to East Asia and Northern Europe. Films from Japan and Sweden for example, compare easily with the classics. Nothing good has come out of North America for a long time. Canada has had some good ones too.
    Fav. film monster: “Brundlefly”.
    A truly scary film. is also a well-made one. Just look at why all the classics have worked….

  • Andy

    Favorite is The Island of Lost Souls with Bela Lugosi…. “Are we not MEN?”…. Least favorite is all the Hammer films.. The scariest movie HAD to be the Gary Oldham version of Dracula… The classics are superior because they did it without blood, gore and chainsaws… they had to evoke fear through dialog, camera angles, lighting and innuendo…

  • dshaw

    I see alot of my favorite scary movies listed (you can’t go wrong if it’s in black and white), but just to throw one out there, I liked “Dead of Night”. It was made in the 40’s and I love movies with a twist at the end.

  • Alanc47

    t V movie Midnight Hour is the best hokey scary movie ever

  • Kham

    really tough to nail down just one favourite, but the original The Wolf Man and the 80’s remake of The Thing are my two most-watched horror films. i can watch either of these two or three times a year, every year, til the day i drop. as for scariest movie… that might be The Woman in Black which never fails to send chills down my spine. same goes for The Changeling, and The Innocents. my fave film monster…. The Wolf Man (and a very close second is The Creature from the Black Lagoon). modern horror movies are mostly weak imitations, not of the classics much any more, but of each other. there are always exceptions, though… like Let The Right One In is a superior film by any standards. i love the oldies more than anything else though…. the Universals, the Hammers, and so on, from the silents through into the 70s, but not much after that. elements that make a scary film: (not blood), lighting, shadow, camera angles, atmosphere (mood) created by tension, often through music or even silence. these things can even overcome weak acting. i never really want to see remakes done, because there is always a high probability that they’ll fail, but there have been exceptions… like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Thing, Coppola’s Dracula. 

  • Chet

    Resident Evil, the first movie to me was my favorite horror movie, but I also was addicted to the Nintendo game which came out before the movie. I like anything that is Resident Evil although the games now don’t compare to the first ones.

  • Italianfoodie47

    Rosemarys’ Baby.  It is so so creepy and actually what you don’t see if left up to your imagination and that makes it even more scarier.  The original Mummy with Boris Karloff is creepy too but not as much as Rosemarys’ Baby.

  • Italianfoodie47

    I forgot about The Uninvited with Ray Milland, that was a really good scary movie too!!

  • Brygolf

    the cat and the canary with the great carole lombard

    • JackJones

      When was this?

    • Looseleafhead

      Wasn’t that Laura La Plante?

  • pocroc

    Turn of the Screw, several versions, but I like the Deborah Kerr one titled The Innocents.  You learn to like the kids, then they’re dead and return as hauntings.  Very well done and thus very disturbing.  

  • Italianfoodie47

    Back again, I couldn’t leave out the great Trilogy of Terror, 3 stories with the actress Karen Black, the last story in the trilogy, about a woman who has an African wooden doll that comes to life and chases her around, absolutely spine tingling, wish it was shown again somewhere, but do not see it alone in a dark room, I get the chills just thinking about it!

  • Earthshine6

    The more horror films I watch, the harder it is for them to truly scare me, especially compared to the genuine fright I get from video games such as Silent Hill.  However, other than my wedding video :p, some films that have genuinely scared me over the years are the original The Amityville Horror (although the “facts” in that case have since been debunked); the re-release of The Exorcist, especially with Ragan’s crab walk down the stairs; Insidious; and many Asian horror films such as Sick Nurses, Black House, and A Tale of Two Sisters, among others.  Asian film makers seem to understand basic concepts of horror that American film makers simply do not understand.  That being said, I still enjoy the earlier Universal monster films, the Hammer Studio films of the ’60’s and ’70’s and many of the campy B-movies from those time periods as well.

  • Keith H.

    I think Alien is the one that was the scariest to me. Great Sci-Fi horror movie. Of course when I was 3, Frankenstein lurking in the basement of the burning windmill in The Bride of Frankenstein sent me running behind the couch to hide! 13 Ghosts, the original holds a special place in me heart. Was really happy when they released the DVD with the ghost glasses.

    • OZ ROB

      Your mention of 13 Ghosts brings back very scary memories. I saw it when i was young over 40 years ago. On Friday nights down here in Oz Deadly Ernest hosted scary movies,another movie fromhim was about a space ship with an alien intruder and the astronauts escaping to different levels in the craft ,,,does anybody know what this film is called ?

      • Jason fleming

        You might be thinking of It! The Terror from Beyond Space from 1958. It was one of the inspirations for Alien.

        • OZ ROB

          Thanks a lot Jason,, Definitely sounds like the film and just reading a critics rave seems  to be well worth adding to the collection,, now in the basket ..

  • bsteele2

    Night of the Living Dead keeps me up at night.  Simple, low budget, low on gore, but very effective. 

  • Genesteensma2941

    “Night of the Living Dead” ( the black & white original)

  • Grouch39

    I agree with Gregsz1r1000. The original “The Haunting” still gives me the creeps. Even the wallpaper still freaks me out. And I’m a 56 year old grump!

    • Klue

      I agree with both of you! I still can’t see one of those attic doors without feeling a little aprehensive. I saw it on tv not too long ago and it still had the ability to get your mind all worked up. Blood and guts is nothing compared to playing with your mind!

  • Chris_williams67

    The Tingler has to be my all time favorite classic horror film. My wife hates it because it still scares her. For campy horror/sacrifice would be Roger Coreman’s. attack of the crab monsters and the original Not of This Earth and finally just for fun giant monster movies, Them. The Blob and the original The Fog. Are right up there too.

  • Lmpromo

    Halloween the original the best ever  Psycho 1960 ver 2nd

  • Stargazerlily17

    My first horror movie was either Frankenstein or Dracula. My all time most scary movie had to be the original “night of the living dead”, I had nightmares for weeks after watching it.

  • lovestorun

    Frankenstein 1931.

  • Stargazerlily17

    LOL my hubby just reminded me of a movie he took me to when we were first dating called ” I drink your blood and eat your flesh”, in a spooky movie theater around the corner from Jack Dempsys restaurant off Broadway downtown NY. After 10 minutes I became I’ll watching people being injected snake venom into their spines OMG it still gives me butterflies. I have never seen that movie on DVD or TCM website.

  • Johny2291

    Curse of the Demon, would be my first. The Thing with Kenneth Tobey and James Arness ( Horror-Science Fiction) I also really enjoyed John Carpenter’s The Fog.

  • Cookielu Pappas

    A South Korean film called A Tale of Two Sisters actually made me jump, so I have to say it was the scariest.  There was this one scene where a girl was walking past kitchen cabinets that had space underneath – of course you just know something has to jump out and get her.  The timing was perfect.  I too watch a lot of horror films, both old and new, so to get a scare is quite rare for me.  My favorite film monster is definately Godzilla.  I may even love monster movies a little more than a pure horror films.  A friend of mine once dissed Ray Harryhausen for the terrible stop motion photography.  Poor gal got an earfull from me on monster film history and the important place Harryhausen has in that history, lol.  One horror film that greatly disappointed me this year was The Human Centipede – what a waste of time.

  • Henrycaron525

    My favorite Horror movie of all time is almost impossible to name because I am a major Horror freak and love so many of them and all kinds of them. I would say Lucio Fulci’s ZOMBIE is very close to the top of the list as is most of his 80s gore classics. The worst horror movie or my least favorite is the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake. The scariest Horror movie that I have ever seen is without a doubt The Eccorcist and it is most likely because I was raised a catholic and back when I was young I had a very strong idea what Heaven and Hell and I believed that a situation like poor Linda Blair found herself in could actually happen.
    I don’t think that we can compare the classics of years gone by to today’s Horror films. First off you can try, but you can’t recreate an era. You can’t go back in time and see things the way you did 20 or 30 years ago. Even when I see a film that scared the crap out of me when I was a kid, I just can’t view it through the same eyes. So I think it is not fare to even try. I love so many Horror films that are from the silent days all the way through the 1980s, but I hate most of the ones from the 1990s to today.
    I would like to see Lucio Fulci’s Zombie remade and I know a lot of people will shout for my death, but Jaws would be a cool flick to re image. But who could possibly play Quint today. And the onscreen chemistry between Roy Schider, Robert Shaw and Richard Dryfuss would be very hard to match. But the special FX could be awesome if they didn’t use to much CGI.

  • Nosferatu1922

    “Dracula” (1931) with Bela Lugosi is my all time favorite. But there are lots of others such as “The Haunting” (1963), “Mark of the Vampire” (1935), “Return of the Vampire” (1943), “House of Wax” (1953), “The Last Man On Earth” (1961), “13 Ghosts” (1960), “Night of the Demon” (1957), “Freaks” (1932), “Mystery of the Wax Museum” (1933), “The Uninvited” (1944), “Dr. X” (1932), “The Legend of Hell House” (1973), “The Changeling” (1979), “The Beast From Haunted Cave” (1959), “Nosferatu” (1922),  and so many others.

  • Bmeupdee7

    Definitely, “The Exorcist” followed by the original “The Haunting” trailed by “Legend of Hill House” and finally the original “Evil Dead.” There are really too many to mention, but those are a great start for me.  Each has it’s ‘moments’, like the ‘hand’ scene in “The Haunting”.  Classic chill producer!!  The King, however, will always be “The Exorcist!!

  • pop culture icon

    Scariest film I ever saw was “The Creeping Unknown” (or “The Quartermass Experiment” as it was known in England where it was filmed).  I first saw this when I was twelve.  The really scary scene for me was when the guy who is on his way to becoming the creeping unknown has been (idiotically) taken from the hospital by his wife.  They are in the car and she asks him (he never speaks during any of this) if he would like a cigarette and she lights one up for him.  He just stares at her and then bolts from the car.  The whole sequence where he is in the hospital and no one knows what has happened to him as he is the bed with his bone structure altering before their eyes is extremely well done. The second half of the film after he has transformed into the creeping unknown is less interesting.  I was pleased to see some years back while reading Stephen King’s “Danse Macabre” that he, too, thinks this is an outstanding film.

  • 3germansascott

    I do not call them horror movies they are terror movies. Older movies do not have the blood and guts of the new movies, they have the suggestion of what will or has happened that in my opinion is a lot more scary than buckets of blood. The Uninvited (1944) the original Dracula and Frankenstein, Freaks (1932), Murders at the rue morgue original silent version, Gaslight (british version), anything Vincent Price or Boris Karloff. The Others with Nicloe Kidman I will have to admit was a good movie, scary with no blood. We have a historic theater by our house actually the oldest operating theater on the west coast (Everett Washington) they play all the old movies silent movies also and have the live organ music September Phantom of the opera played October we watched House on Haunted Hill and Silent version of Dr Jekyl & Mr. Hyde. We also went to the theater to watch Frankenstein & The Bride of Frankenstein that was wonderful. There really is no way to see an old movie than on the big screen no matter how many times you have seen it on tv it’s like watching it all over again.

  • Tom Webb

    When I was a kid, the scariest movie I saw was “Island of Lost Souls”– the one with Charles Laughton and Bela Lugosi. The famous “Are we not men?”, with the manimals walking towards the screen, with their hooves and misshapen bodies, was really scary. The ending, when they took Laughton to the “House of Pain,” and you hear his agonized screams, left me with nightmares for months. It REALLY freaked me out. When I was in college, “Night of the Living Dead” had the same effect, though I got over the bad dreams a little faster. Some years later, the original “Alien,” with the lurking monster, and the creature coming out of John Hurt’s chest, had a similar effect.

    Anything with Lon Chaney, Sr. “The Hunchback of Notre Dame;” “The Phantom of the Opera;” “The Unknown;” “The Unholy Three;” etc. Also “The Man Who Laughs,” a silent with Conrad Veidt– they say it’s the inspiration for the Joker in Batman comics. German silents– “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari;” “The Golem;” “Nosferatu,” etc.

    My favorite horrors are definitely the classic ones– the Universal films, as well as the excellent Fredric March version of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” from Paramount. Also “Freaks;” “Doctor X” and “The Mystery of the Wax Museum,” with Lionel Atwill at Warners; “The Walking Dead,” with Karloff; “King Kong,” if you can call that a horror movie; and the Val Lewton films at RKO– “Cat People,” “I Walked With a Zombie,” “The Body Snatchers,” etc.

    I love all the classic Universals, my favorites being “Dracula;” “Frankenstein,” “The Old Dark House,” “The Mummy,” “The Invisible Man,” “The Black Cat,” with Karloff and Lugosi; “The Bride of Frankenstein;” “The Raven” with Karloff and Lugosi; “Son of Frankenstein;” “The Wolfman;” “Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman;” “Son of Dracula;” “House of Dracula;” and “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.”

    I also love the 1935 Karloff film for Columbia, “The Black Room.” Karloff gives a dual performance, as good and bad twin brothers. Actually, he gives three performances in this film, as the good brother, the bad brother, and the bad brother pretending to be the good brother. A very exciting and melodramatic film.

    “House of Wax” and the Poe films with Vincent Price are also great. “Curse of the Werewolf,” with Oliver Reed. And one of my favorites, “Curse of the Demon,” with Dana Andrews. “Carnival of Souls” is more creepy than horror, but it’s good, too.  “An American Werewolf in London” is also a fantastic movie, with a great use of music. “Bad Moon Rising,” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, as the hero turns into a werewolf, is a classic.

    Wow– so many great horror movies! Mel Brooks said he had 6,000 favorite movies. I’m with him on that one. And he should know, he made the great “Young Frankenstein.”

  • Michael

    Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things. Watched that the first time at a drive-in. That night of all nights there was a light fog drifting thru the drive-in. I thought the scenes with the flashlight shinning into the dark were perfect. I bought a dvd copy of this movie after seeing it many years ago. It it too bad the dvd was a poor restoration, if any, for it was a great little chiller for the young folk back then. Especially the ending!!

  • Bill Cross

    “The Bride of Frankenstein” (the rare sequel that’s better than the original) followed by “The Body Snatcher” (Boris Karloff).

  • Slipperz

    The newer “House on Haunted Hill” is my favorite horror movie.   Geoffrey Rush took what would have been a slightly better than average flick and made it interesting.   The Boogens and Carrie are also on my list of great horror flicks.  

  • tres

    Night of the Hunter. Robert Mithum as a mad preacher riding through the rural south during the 1930’s. Switch blade in hand, he specializes in widow ladies with money. Shelly Winters is his latest victim. The only movie directed by Charles Laughton, it is guaranteed to scare the pants of you.

    • Mulefool13

      I agree–even though’ Night’ is not really your typical horror flick. Robt Mitchum at his best and a nod to Mr. Laughton for his stellar directing. Nothing like the old 50’s MONSTER movies though for some nice entertainment–‘Them’. The one with the giant grasshoppers [?], giant rabbit [ ‘Night of the Lupus’ [I think], and giant women even! [’50 foot Woman’]. All good stuff and typical of the paranoid 50’s mood. So, yes give me a movie with giant anythings–blame it on the bomb and I’m your huckleberry.
      Hey, how about “The Bad Seed’? For some reason that flick scared the bejiggers out of me!

  • nanamceagle1

    I was creeped out over all the blood and violence in the newest Wolfman . 

  • Spasticaxe

    exercist….linda blair ..even today she is hhhhot.

  • Joecool

    They just do not make a good scary horror film anymore that really scares people and is intense. The best one I can think of is CANDYMAN. Only because you can actually find places in the city that are like the places in the movie so that brings a realness to it as well as urban myths like the story had. And people going into those type places it can all be real and life like. So that alone was a great effect. I really do wish someone could make a movie that was really scary. And not just gory or disgusting because that is not scary. I have jumped in a few movies but have truly never seen a movie that scared the hell out of me as promised.

  • Kbeeny

    mm favorit horror movie is evil dead it is a unique horror movie scary because it is in the middle of nowere

  • Notohp2002

    Not very knowledgeable on horror flicks. But I have a comment. The first scary movie I saw, was the Creature From the Blck Lagoon. The movie that scared me the most was ( not a horror but sci-fy) was the first Alien movie.
    I think Carey was scarey but bad by depicting a perverted HS party.

  • Rob in L.A.

    My favorite horror film?  My first impulse is to say Jack Clayton’s “The Innocents” (1961), based on the Henry James novel “The Turn of the Screw.”  That’s the movie that unnerved me the most when I was a kid (that image of a spider crawling out of a statue’s mouth still gives me the willies!).  But is it really a horror movie?  To me, a “true” horror film has, as part of its story, something to with the fantastical, with something that can’t exist in the real world as we know it (vampires, zombies, honest politicians, etc.).  “The Innocents” seems to be a ghost story, but maybe it’s just a psychological thriller.  Perhaps that “is it or isn’t it?” question is part of why I find the movie so fascinating.

  • Raven111cats

    The Exorcist.  Especially since Discovery had a segment saying that it was based on a true story in 1949.

  • Plumjazzy

    IT’S ALIVE – Larry Cohen   Warner Bros picture  If you have ever wondered how deadly chemicals sprayed on crops, radioactive substances, misused drugs, or even pollution might affect a baby in the womb  IT’S ALIVE offers a shocking answer in this movie: more real than:  Men in Beastly Costumes are just that ‘in costume’, the new contemporary can do with computer is just too easy – ‘stop-motion’ pain-staking time is the ultimate – King Kong first in 3-D by hand in the making How can you compare classic with contemporary! The scariest movie I have seen is The Exorcist!  Why? Because possession is a reality even if you don’t hear about it – believe it,  IT IS!

  • Nick

    Werner Herzog’s “Nosferatu the Vampyre”

  • Jrsepeda

    The Universal classics are just that: classics, with “The Bride of Frankenstein” being the best, and of course you can never go wrong with Vincent Price. The 50’s had some fun radioactive monster movies. My favorites were “Them” and “The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms” (Harryhausen Rules!). Two monster comedies were monster hits for me: “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein” and “Young Frankenstein”. But, the two movies that made me jump out of my seat more than any others were “The Night of the Living Dead” and “The Exorcist”.

  • Patriciaparker1

    Rosemary’s Baby is my first choice, but the first movie to really scare me was The Haunting, with Julie Harris.

  • Mgollihur

    The movie that scared me most in my childhood was “Son of Frankenstein.” When the monster carried the little boy to the edge of the precipice, my heart stopped. “Alien” scared me to death, but I still watch it. I will NEVER watch “The Exorcist” again – after the first time, I couldn’t sleep for three days!

    • Doug

       Yea, that’s a great movie. It’s considered the best of the original 4 Frankenstein movies. The cinematography is great and Bela Lugosi as Igor is one of his finest characterizations on film. I personally didn’t find it scary but it is a great movie.

  • Looseleafhead

    Bob Clark’s “Black Christmas”

  • Rich

    “Don’t Look Now”

    Few horror movies go to the trouble to set up the terror that awaits as carefully as this one does. And what a cast – Julia Christie and Donald Sutherland…and a red cloak. I love it when you don’t know who’s in the most serious, deadly trouble.  And no one here makes one of those dumb comments such as “Maybe I should check the basement”, “I don’t believe in vampires”, “I have three kids at home with another on the way.  Can hardly wait to see them”.And characters you care about! That’s unusual!
    And the camera work is so exceptionally brilliant.  A horror movie indeed, but with all the care and expertise of a major studio and a major film. 

  • Watt

    King Kong and Bride Of Frankenstein are not just great monster/horror films they are a couple of the greatest films, period.  Horror movies started my life long love of the movies. The House Of Usher was the first movie I saw without my parents.  Its still a favorite, although Masque Of The Red Death is probably the best of the 60’s Corman/Price/Poe films. My Favorites of the Silent Era are Nosferatu and Phantom Of The Opera.
    In addition to all of the great Universal films of the Thirties, I have to recommend a Pre-Code film called Murder At The Zoo with Lionel Atwill.  That one might even get an “R” rating today!  Tod Browning’s Freaks and the Island Of The Lost Souls were both condemned and censored in many places and still pack a wallop today. Val Lewton’s Cat People is also top quality Horror.  I Walked With A Zombie totally belies its cheesy sounding title and is a great film.
    The 1940’s Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein is an hysterical send-up of all the Universal Horror shows before it.
    The 50’s Hammer Horror remakes of Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Mummy raised the bar, gave us Cushing and Lee, and kept Hammer going for quite some time.  I highly recommend Curse Of The Demon from the 50’s, too.
    Castle and Corman ruled the 60’s, however, The Haunting is one of the scariest films ever made. Then again, what about Psycho and The Birds.
    The 70’s started with Night Of The Living Dead and Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  And then came The Exorcist.  That really raised the bar.
    I really liked the first Halloween, but the sequels weren’t even close. The Friday 13th movies were nothing but stinkers.
    Are the Alien and Predator Sci-Fi or Monster Movies? 
    The last great monster movie in my book is Cronenberg’s The Fly.  Poltergeist is my favorite Horror film from the same period.  American Werewolf In London is a great one, too
    I still haven’t seen Nightmare On Elm Street and I need to see The Others as well.
    Recently I really enjoyed Pan’s Labyrinth and The Black Swan.

  • Gary Perl

    John Carpenter’s The Thing was one of the most disturbing movies I’ve seen… You could never figure out what this creature really looked like. Basically, the Thing in this remake is a virus of some kind like cancer or AIDS. The film is also filled with paranoia, isolation, white frozen fear. The most horrific scene in this movie takes place in the dog cage. Once that happens, there is no letting up. Carpenter has called his remake of The Thing part of his end of the world trilogy with includes Prince of Darkness and In The Mouth of Madness, both very fine horror films in their own right. By the way, Carpenter directed two of the best segments on the Showtime series Masters of Horror. I hope this auteur is still alive and kicking.

  • victor0630

    The original Blob scared the hell out of me when I was a kid. Also, a not so well know movie called X The Unknown had one of the scariest scenes ever when the guy gets lowered into a giant hole. Check it out if you have never seen it.

  • Reddinger

    The Black Cat (1934)

  • golden1

    Night of the Living Dead,  the original Frankenstein, the original The Wolfman,  the original Invisible Man, King Kong, the original Thing, Them! , The Crawling Eye, the original Invasion of the Bodysnatchers and Carnival of Lost Souls

  • Philip Browning127

    Army of Darkness,  The Thing (original),  Friday the 13th(original),  Psycho(original), Halloween(original),  When a Stranger Calls(original),  Each has a favorite place and memory for me.  From seeing it with special people and/or having special experiences when I saw it.  I took my then girlfriend and several of her friends to see the last one on the list while we were in college and came out of the movie with bruises and blood all over my arms from their nails digging into me.  At Halloween there was a brave guy laughing at everyone until someone snuck up behind him and at the crucial moment grabbed his shoulder making him jump almost over the seats in front of him and screaming like a small child while he ran.  I have tried to pass all this on and ended up watching the last one with several granddaughters.  At the crucial moment someone happened to call one of them on the phone and they all nearly jumped out of their skin.  After Psycho I played the music when one of them went to take a shower.  We all heard her scream “That’s not funny!” at the top of her lungs.  We have so much fun together.

  • sharlet

    I still can’t sit thorough a complete viewing of “Dressed to Kill” with Angie Dickinson and Michael Caine without stopping the play a couple of times to compose myself. Really hard to do it alone.

    • Jay Kindervater

      “Dressed to Kill” is indeed terrific.

      • Doug

         Yea, that’s a great movie. So was ‘Blow-out,’ (1981) with Travolta, Nancy Allen and John Lithgow. Came out about the same time.

  • Henrycaron525

    How many of you who saw Jaws in the theater jumped out of your seat when Hooper was checking out Ben Gardeners boat and his head floated down into the hole in the boat….with no left eye to boot. Scared the hell out of me. I still jump when I see that scene and I know it’s coming. I expected the shark to bite him in half right there.
    Marty C.

  • Fbusch

    14 years old, reading a story called “who goes there?” with the folks gone and wind blowing through the eaves on a dark night. (did I forget to mention the house creaking in the wind?) A short time later At the movies I saw “The Thing from another world”. Kenneth Toby, james Arness. That brings back an 11 years old memory of “Unkown Island” scared me silly when I came out of the theater to find it had gotten dark and dad wasn’t there to pick me up.(small town, wind in the trees, noone around.). often think the old ones that stick are the best, but, there are so many that raise the hackles on the back of my neck. Scifi, horror, what ever, Psyco, Jaws, Them, I think any that surprise you suddenly can do the trick. I still take only baths and haven’t swam in the ocean yet. Oh yeah, I think that those with sequels,the originals are alway best. I even enjoy what I call $2.78 cent cheapos. in reference to “Unkown Island), I recently found a copy and was amazed at how pourly it was made, even with later kmown actors, and that it was a knockoff of King Kong…..

  • Papalooka

    As far as a real old one there is a much overlooked 1946 British film called “Dead of night”. It’s a bunch of ghost stories as told by some people at a house. One of the scenes is very corny but besides that one scene it is a very cool and spooky story. You can see where one or 2 Twilight Zone episodes came from. Critics give this a 4 star rating (Very rare for a horror movie) See it !!!

  • Jtborder

    I’m not a horror fan but there are two movies that scare the sh*#*t out of me.  Rosemary’s Baby and The Legend Of Hell House.  And those religious/biblical movies always scared me, but for reason only a little catholic boy growing up in the 60’s would understand.

  • Fredsw

    Favorite film Monster will always be Frankenstein’s monster.
    A truly scary movie is one that works on your imagination. At the time when ‘Jaws’ came out, I remember telling people standing on line that initially it was terrifying. When I was about 10 years old, I saw a double bill of Roger Corman’s ‘Attack of the Crab Monsters’ and the original ‘Not Of This Earth’. I couldn’t sleep that night because the monsters left a lot to your own mind.
    The good monster movies can’t be remade. 

  • Flimfilmman

    Favorite horror movie: DAWN OF THE DEAD (1979).  Clever sequel combo of war movie, mall survival story, and social commentary.
    Scariest movie ever seen: THE HAUNTING (1963).  The ghosts are never seen but their malevolent presence evokes goosebump terror.
    Classic horror films have great actors and stories, eerie atmosphere and music, but usually cheap sfx; contemporary horror films tend to concentrate on blood and gore over character and story development unless directed by foreign directors who grew up in a different school of horror.
    Favorite movie monster: KING KONG (1933).
    The combination of elements to brew up a truly scary film involve dramatic story buildup with sympathetic characters, drenched in a creepy atmosphere of ancient eldritch lore and eerie music, leading into a teeth-clenching rollercoaster ride of terror and gripping suspense, which climaxes in the triumph of the forces of light over the forces of darkness.  Any idiot can create a horror film with a cast and idiots and kill them off one by one so the evil forces win and you don’t have to come up with a clever ploy to destroy the enemy.
    The two fright flicks I would like to see remade are THE WOLFEN (1981) and THE DEVIL’S BRIDE (1968).  The novel The Wolfen by Whitley Strieber left me on the edge of my seat, especially the ending, but almost everything in the novel was jettisoned by or rewritten by the film hacks and I hated every minute of it!!!  The Devil’s Bride is a true classic Hammer horror film, but just imagine what a modern filmmaker like Guillermo del Toro could conjure up in the way of demonici entities in a period remake.

  • Hudsonjrp


  • Louisa Conklin

    Space Master X-7

  • Crbarclift

    I have to agree with the comments below on “The Haunting” (60’s version) and Don’t Look Now, both atmospheric and very creepy.  But recently I saw what very well may be the best I’ve seen, the Swedish vampire film “Let the Right One In”, which was poorly remade in America, big surprise, as “Let Me In” or something like that.  The original is truly like nothing I’ve ever seen, frightening and fascinating.  But see it with subtitles, dubbing ruins foreign films. 

  • Doug

    I have to say ‘The Haunting.’ But just by a margin – others like Salem’s Lot, Carpenter’s The Thing, Alien, etc., are close runner-ups. I have to disagree with Stephen King about ‘the Haunting’ not really falling in the class of horror. The characters were horrified by the supernatural events, and so were we, the audience. Did you know that The Exorcist was nominated for best picture? 

  • Raysson

    Doug, Crbarclift, and Flimfilmman:
    THE EXORCIST was released in select theatres on Christmas Day of 1973. It was also one of the highest grossing films of 1973 beating out “The Sting”, “American Graffiti”, and “Papillon” in terms of boxoffice gold. It also made history as the first Horror movie in the history of motion pictures to be Nominated for Best Picture. The film was nominated for an impressive 10 Oscars including Best Picture and winning two Oscars for Sound and Best Adapted Screenplay. It was released in select theatres in New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC(where it given the full widescreen 70MM format),but some areas of the country didn’t get the film until late-March of 1974 or Easter weekend of 1974 where it was given a full nationwide release. By mid-1974,THE EXORCIST was still the Number One movie at the boxoffice some six months after its release. Nominated for Best Picture,it lost the Best Picture category to “The Sting”.

    In 2013…THE EXORCIST will mark a milestone with its 40th Anniversary.

    • Wayne P.

      Good historicity on the Exorcist regarding its delayed release into the spring of ’74, where it was still playing in Washington, DC when I saw it as a high-school senior.  A bunch of us kids were still creeped out by the head-twirling beasty girl on the way home when we encountered the trolley tracks of Georgetown on our way back to the VA suburbs and thought she was being exorcised right there with us from all the shaking going on in that car, not realizing it was the wheels going over the rails causing all the ruckus!  Later we knocked on the door of the house used for filming near the GU campus and the folks told us the little girl wasnt home…:).  A bit of trivia is that the actual distance from the upper house window to the stairs the Priest fell down after his jump out the window is too great for him to have actually accomplished on his flying leap, but what the hey, right?

  • Raysson

    THE OMEN came out in 1976 a year after the phenomenol success of JAWS.

    Released in theatres on June 6, 1976, THE OMEN became one of the biggest hits at 20th Century-Fox,not to mention giving a Hollywood legend Gregory Peck the biggest accomplishment of his career….this was one of the great horror movies of the 1970’s that became the fifth highest grossing picture of 1976 right behind “Rocky”,and “Network”,and “The Outlaw Josey Wales”. It was a phenomenol boxoffice hit grossing $4.2 million opening weekend and grossing more than $60 million domestically worldwide. Nominated for an impressive 6 Oscars including Best Picture(it lost to “Rocky”),and won for Best Original Score for film composer Jerry Goldsmith.

  • Raysson

    GRIZZLY was basically a “B” movie horror classic that was also a runaway boxoffice hit in 1976…..
    From the tagline “Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the woods……”
    It’s Christopher George in the Roy Schneider role……this time instead of the beach…its the great outdoors……

  • Acuna.II

    Lucio Fulci – City of the Walking Dead and Zombi 2.  Italian horror has always gotten to me.  David Cronenberg – The Brood.  This movie gave me nightmares as a kid.  Jacques Tourneur – Night of the Demon.  The image of a huge demon shredding someone with one of it’s claws has never left me.  Some of the new movies that get me are The Devil’s Rejects, Drag Me to Hell, The Decent, The Orphanage just to name a few.  

  • Beowulf_grendel

    Phantasm, the Howling, in the mouth of madness, the birds, psycho, night of the demon, night of the living dead, the descent, Halloween, the evil dead trilogy , the screwfly solution, scanners, the fly (cronenbergs remake) , Carpenter’s the thing,, It… the creature from beyond space, the haunting, Lost boys, .
    This is just a few off the top of my head that I’ve really enjoyed over the years.

  • Ketch

    The original “The Thing” – watching Jim Arness as a great big sort of “carrot”.