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In contrast to my recent list of "off the beaten path" spooky movies, I've been thinking about my favorite vintage (that is, black-and-white) horror films.

It was very difficult, but I limited myself to a Halloween-friendly thirteen. I'm not claiming these are the very best in the genre (although some of them most certainly are), but these are my favorites.

Favorite "Vintage" (Black-and-White) Horror Films

13. I Walked with a Zombie (1943) Take Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre and add Haitian voodoo practices. It's an unexpectedly winning combination.

12. Village of the Damned (1960) Quite a faithful adaption of The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham. I also recommend the effective and haunting sequel, Children of the Damned (1963).

11. Carnival of Souls (1962) This indie film was produced for an estimated $33,000 and released as a B film, but today it's a cult classic for good reason. This is what I think of now whenever I hear organ music.

10. Them! (1954) The very best of the "giant mutant bugs" subgenre, this one creeped out my mother when she was a little girl. I was genetically predisposed to find it to be horrifying fun.

9. Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte (1964) Seven Academy Award nominations. Brilliant performances all around, but the great Olivia de Havilland is the one who makes this film for me.

8. Dracula (1931) Bela Lugosi. Enough said.

7. Nosferatu (1922) Elegant and inexorable, Max Schreck as Count Orlok never goes out of style.

6. The Cat People (1942) I've grown to love Val Lewton's understated gothic films, and this one is the most compelling: darkly psychological, beautifully shot, with perfect casting in Simone Simon.

5. The Last Man on Earth (1964) The best film adaptation of Richard Matheson's unforgettable I Am Legend, this is my favorite Vincent Price performance - and that's saying a lot.

4. Night of the Living Dead (1968) "They're coming for you, Barbara." Path-breaking horror with a chilling message.

3. Psycho (1960) Alfred Hitchcock's finest, without a doubt. Anthony Perkins is mesmerizing.

Frankenstein Poster 2

2. Frankenstein (1931) James Whale does something very, very different from Mary Shelley here, but I forgive him for it, because this, too, is brilliant. Boris Karloff's empathy with and sympathy for the creature raises his performance to genius.

"Invasion of the Body Snatchers" poster

1. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) One of my "top five" movies of all time, this is note-perfect. As much as I appreciate some of the later adaptations of Jack Finney's novel, this one stands head-and-shoulders above the rest, capturing paranoia, claustrophobia, and a sense of impending doom like no other film.

Now it's your turn!

Poll #1873922 What are your favorite vintage (black-and-white) horror films?

What are your favorite vintage (black-and-white) horror films?

Feel free to note your favorites in the comments, as well.

Thanks for playing!


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 22nd, 2012 11:57 pm (UTC)
Oct. 23rd, 2012 01:13 am (UTC)
THe Legend of Hell House
Well what I thought was vintage turned out to be made in 1973, I was ten at the time. I guess that is close enough to being vintage right? And I distinctly remember it being black and white, but I see that it wasn't...

It's 'The Legend of Hell House', with Roddy McDowell. And what I remember the most is that it scared the socks off of me without ever revealing what the 'horror' was or without any gore. The most memorable scene was the ectoplasm bit! Creeepy!
Oct. 23rd, 2012 02:09 am (UTC)
My favorite black and white horror movie would have to be The Bad Seed. So good!
Oct. 23rd, 2012 02:19 am (UTC)
When I was a kid, Doctor Terror's House of Horrors was pretty scary, and kind of hilarious now (but it may be in color.) 'Them' scared the heck out of me as a kid. I still don't like ants. Love James Whitmore and young James Arness in that movie.

I included the Blob, because...Steve McQueen. Nuff said.
Oct. 23rd, 2012 09:47 am (UTC)
Definitely "The Haunting," the 1963 version, not the really terrible 1999 version, wins hands down, though "Macabre" (1958) is a close second. Both scared me silly the first time a saw them (though, granted, I was a tad young. *g*)
Oct. 23rd, 2012 02:33 pm (UTC)
The Uninvited of course. Speaking of which, assuming you still have a functional VHS player, there are some reasonably priced VHS copies on Amazon Marketplace. And it's possible that it could be available on DVD through one of those Print On Demand type services some of the bigger studios offer for their low demand titles. IIRC The Uninvited is an MGM title.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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