Horror movies are everywhere. But to know the genre, it’s best to go back to the beginning.
Vintage horror movies have a unique charm and have significantly shaped the horror genre, offering timeless scares and iconic moments. Here are ten top-rated vintage horror films, each of which has left an indelible mark on the genre.
What are your favorites? What have we left out?
1. “Psycho” (1960) – Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
The eerie tale of Norman Bates and the unsettling events at the Bates Motel has remained one of the most influential horror films in history.
2. “Nosferatu” (1922) – Directed by F. W. Murnau
This silent film adaptation of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” introduced audiences to Count Orlok and established numerous vampire film tropes.
3. “Night of the Living Dead” (1968) – Directed by George A. Romero
Widely regarded as the progenitor of the zombie genre, this film explores the terrifying ordeal of individuals trapped in a farmhouse surrounded by the undead.
4. “Rosemary’s Baby” (1968) – Directed by Roman Polanski
A chilling story about a pregnant woman who suspects an evil cult wants to take her baby for sinister purposes.
5. “The Exorcist” (1973) – Directed by William Friedkin
The horrifying tale of a young girl possessed by a demonic entity explores themes of faith and fear in a visceral manner.
6. “Frankenstein” (1931) – Directed by James Whale
Dr. Frankenstein’s creation of a sentient being using body parts from various corpses explores themes of science, creation, and morality.
7. “Dracula” (1931) – Directed by Tod Browning
Bela Lugosi’s iconic portrayal of Count Dracula has become synonymous with the vampire legend, influencing numerous adaptations.
8. “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” (1920) – Directed by Robert Wiene
A quintessential German Expressionist film, it unveils a sinister tale of a hypnotist who uses a sleepwalker to commit murders.
9. “Bride of Frankenstein” (1935) – Directed by James Whale
This sequel explores themes of creation and rejection, as Dr. Frankenstein is coerced into creating a mate for the monster.
10. “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” (1974) – Directed by Tobe Hooper
A group of friends fall prey to a family of cannibals and the chainsaw-wielding Leatherface in this shocking and influential horror classic.
These films not only exemplify vintage horror but have also significantly influenced the genre, providing frameworks and themes for countless other films over the decades.