The above video are not my choices but someone else on Youtube. I do agree on a few.
My top ten
The Wolfman (1941)
This is not really scary, but I know when I watched it on TV as a kid, it did scare me. Lon Chaney Jr. gets bitten by gypsy Bela Lugosi. Bela gets killed and is therefore free from the curse of the wolf man. The fabulous Maria Ouspenskaya as Maleva the gypsy, and mom of Bela tries to help Lon through his curse. But can he be saved?
During the course of the film there has to be five full moons in a ten day period. My favorite is seeing Lon (as Larry Talbot) transform into the wolf man. We first see fur sprouting out of his feet, his toenails grow into the old reclusive Howard Hughes size proportion. Then his pants get ripped like The Incredible Hulk and become high waters showing his hairy legs. We see his face transform and boom, he is the wolfman. Off he goes on tippy toes into the forest to hunt down some human. What kills me is when he wakes up his clothes are no longer ripped. He's just a bit messed up. It's a lot of fun and also stars one of my favorite actors Claude Rains as Sir John, Lon's dad. Evelyn Anker's as Lons love interest loathed Lon Chaney Jr and allegedly her husband got into fistacuffs with Wolfie.
What's a poor vampires daughter to do. Her father is the late Count Dracula. We open with Dracula having a wooden spike driven into his heart. Once again the dead, undead Dracula is finally really dead. Gloria Holden plays Countess Marya Zaleska. AKA Dracula's daughter. She steals her father's body and sends him into his grave. She feels she is finally free from the nightly curse of sucking all the blood out of some poor innocent bystander. When she waits for the dawn, she see's it is actually the next night, as her loyal, but kind of bossy and creepy servant, played by Irving Pinchel is happy to drive that fact home. Drat! She is still cursed. At a party Hedda Hopper throws in the Countesses honor she meets psychiatrist Jeffrey Garth, played by Otto Kruger. She finds out he's a psychiatrist and thinks he may be able to free her from the curse, so she invites him to her lair. He goes, but is interrupted by his faithful (and very in love with him) assistant played by Margurite Chapel. He takes off and tells Countess to meet him tomorrow afternoon. She can't go. In the meantime her loyal, but bossy servant asks her if she will want some dinner. She says yes, and bring it to my studio. Irving see's a young woman ready to throw herself into the river and asks if she'd like to model (what a line) Amazingly she says yes, even though Irving was certainly no looker, They go to the countesses studio and the countess gives her some food and wine. Next thing you know the girl is told to take off her shirt because she wants to paint her shoulders and neck. Much has been made of this scene saying it hints of lesbianism. What we do know is the Countess does not discriminate. She will suck the blood out of both men and women.
Will she be cured? Will she be doomed to spend her life as a creature of the night? It's all there.
Its also a fun film. Certainly not scary scary but very well done. One thing that cracked me up is that they say Dracula died, but not died 400 years ago. His daughter died, but not died 100 years ago. I never knew the undead could procreate. You learn something new every day.
I Walked With A Zombie (1943)
I really like this film and it is scary. Frances Dee stars as a nurse that is lured to a Caribbean island with promise of sun, fun and to get away from the cold weather. She say's AOK and off she goes,
On the boat going to the Island she meets the very urbane Tom Conway ( he's the brother of the more urbane George Sanders). She likes him, even though he bursts her bubble thinking the night sky is beautiful..He definitely was a buzz kill.
Once they get to the Island she meets his brother Wesley Rand. She sees the brothers have a rather contentious relationship and soon she learns why. She meets her patient Jessica, who was Tom's bride. She is very frightening looking, tall, gaunt and a zombie. Before Jessica was zombified she had started a love relationship with Tom's brother. They wanted to leave the Island together but Tom said No. Wesley is now a drunkard and hates his bro.
The scariest thing to me was the tall, very thin, hollow eyed, loincloth wearing Island Zombie.
Frances falls in love with Tom and believes he still loves Jessica (a bit of Rebecca) so she wants to cure her for her love. She takes Jessica to a voodoo ceremony, which is a frightening walk. They make it and some secrets are revealed.
This is a good movie. It also stars Theresa Harris as Alma the maid. Theresa was fabulous as Barbara Stanwycks pal in Babyface. Edith Barrett, who was Vincent Price's first wife. I thought she was very good in this role as the mother to the feuding brothers. I especially loved her in Ladies In Retirement (1941)
Find out is Jessica really a zombie. If so, who put the voodoo curse on her, Does Tom really love Jessica, Why is that zombie so tall and skinny? and so much more,.
The Seventh Victim
The film starts with a very baby faced Kim Hunter (It was her first film) in the boarding school her sister Jaqueline (played by the very lovely Jean Brooks) pays for. She is called into the headmistresses office and told that her sister is way behind in payments and that she'll either have to leave school or she can stay as a worker. In the office is Miss Big cheeses assistant. The assistant takes Kim out of the room and tells her to leave the place. If she stays she will never leave. The assistant tells her she should have left once but didn't have the courage. Then Miss Big calls her assistant to come back. It kind of alludes that Miss Big and Miss underling might have a lesbian relationship. If not Miss Big would certainly be game.
Off goes Kim into the wild of NYC searching for her sister. Kim finds out sis was involved in Satanism and lots of other horrible things. She also finds out Jaqueline had a husband played by The Beavers dad, Hugh Beaumont. There's a love triangle, an obnoxious, always singing landlady and Tom Conway. This time he plays sis's shrink. I like it because you know this could really happen.
Will Kim find her sister. Will she join the satanists. Will Hugh Beaumont meet June? Will the landlady ever stop singing? It's a good watch.
The Bride Of Frankenstein
I think the sequel is much better than the original. We get The Monster (Boris Karloff) already made and ready to go. Colin Clive as Dr Frankenstein never wants Boris to be lonely so he decides he's going to make him a bride.
In the meantime The Monster sets out on his own and finds friends. The first friend he finds is a sweet little girl playing by the water. He see's things fall in the water and come back up so he decides to throw the adorable cherub into the water. He waits for her to come back up, but no kid. She sunk. He also meets a hermit that is blind that thinks he is blessed because he finally has a friend. he teaches T Monster to smoke, drink, enjoy music and say friend. That friendship doesn't last due to the fact angry villagers found out about the girl.
The Monster gets home to the castle and then awaits to meet his bride. Will she be ALIVE!!! She's ALIVE!! Will she be a hot babe? Will Dr Frankenstein ever stop wearing that greasy kid stuff?? Will monster and bride have little monsters?? Will Bride think Boris is a dude or a dud? Such a great watch..
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
I'm going later in time with this film. I know a lot of people don't think it's scary, but like Alfred Hitchcock's alleged favorite film, Shadow Of A Doubt, it shows seemingly harmless people living among us waiting to do some evil things.
We meet Rosemary (Mia Farrow) and her husband Guy (John Cassavettes) looking into this great old building The Branford, which was actually The Dakota. John Lennon lived and was assassinated in front of the building. Spooky. Rosemary loves the place and begs Guy, who is an actor to rent the place. He say's OK. They have dinner with Rosemary's pal Hutch (played by Maurice Evans) who asks them not to move in because of its evil history including the cannibal Trench Sisters and Adrian Marcado who tried to conjure up Satan. They are not spooked and move in. Rosemary is in the laundry room when she meets Terry, who is a guest of her neighbors, and old couple Minnie and Roman Castevet, played to perfection by Ruth Gordon and Sydney Blackmer. Terry tells Mia that they literally took her off the street and saved her life. Rosemary notices a pretty charm Terry is wearing, and smells it. It stinks!. Terry said Minnie gave it to her and she got used to the smell.
The next time Rosemary sees Terry she is smashed to bits from jumping out of The Castevets apartment. The cops found a note stuck to the window pane via gum (Terry chewed a lot of it) There the young couple finally meet Minnie and Roman, two harmless looking old people. They see Terry and talk to Guy and Mia. A few days later Minnie knocks on the door and invites herself in. She's a nosy body and asks the prices of things. Then she invites Rosemary and Guy to dinner. Neither wants to go but they do. As Rosemary helps Minnie with the dishes she see's Guy and Roman talking, clouded by enough cigarette smoke to give you cancer on first whiff. When they get back home Rosemary starts making fun of them, but Guy tells her Roman has some interesting stories and he was going to go back the next night. Rosemary says no way Jose is she going back.
Guy leaves and in comes Minnie and her dear friend Laura Louise (played by the wonderful Patsy Kelly) Minnie gives Rosemary a gift. The gift is the charm that Terry was given and last seen in a pool of blood by Terry. She begrudgingly accepts it and puts it away. She shows Guy and he tells her its rude not to wear it.
So much comes up. Guy gets a good part because the other actor goes blind, Rosemary gets pregnant, Rosemary gets the awful Mia Farrow boys hair cut (my cousin chopped my hair off and I had The Mia Farrow at six, long after it had gone out of style)..Just a lot of bad things happen. Is Rosemary crazy, or are these things really happening.
Does she have a baby? Is Guy ever nice? What is Tannis root and so much more.
I love this movie more. I loved the fact that Roman Polanski wanted Robert Redford to play Guy. Robert did not think the role was good for his image. I think he would have been great. I love John C but his Guy is always mean and creepy. There really is no transition.
I can't believe I made a list not including my favorite vampire of them all, Dracula starring Bella Lugosi. Check out Bella's castle digs you find yucky creatures, spider webs with humongous spiders and some of Bella's Draculas sister wives. Bella gets a visitor named Renfield, who is played by the marvelous character actor Dwight Frye. Bela invites Renfield in for a bite (groan) to eat. There is a sumptuous table laid out and also some fine wine. I love when Reinfeld asks Bela if he drinks. Bela responds "I never drink........wine."
Renfield gets a look at Dracula's babes and likes what he see's. He is off to bed and doing some work when one of his brides asks Renfield for his help. Dracula is a fiend..Dracula comes in and we never see bride again.
The guys set off to England on a rocky Voyage. AS Dracula sleeps by day in his coffin with dirt from Transylvania, He does make appearances at night and immediately the crew is picked off one by one by Bela. When the boat comes ashore all the crew is dead, except for a now mad Renfield. Renfeld has devolved a real taste for flys, spiders and probably even cockroaches...ewww.
The counts coffin is brought to his new London flat. Trouble ensues. Once he gets a gander at the Lucious Mina, its sister wives shmister wives. Mina is engaged to precode staple David Manners.
This is great fun and I have to say his wives are scary. Bela is Dracula the romantic. Love this version. Nosferatu is no dreamboat and the only way he can get a chick is by taking them by surprise. I love Christopher Lee but he has none of the charm or romance as Bella. I consider him the wham bam thank you man of vampires. Bella's got them beat by miles..
Will Renfield pursue a career as a bug exterminator? Will Mena fall for his charms? Will a nurse stay in Mina's room after being explicitly told numerous times not to leave her alone for even a second? Does Drac meet his match with Van Helsing?
This is without a doubt the scariest Vampire. Yes, it's a silent film but it is terrifying. Max Schreck plays Count Orloff., and he is scary looking. He is no charming Bela Lugosi, or menacing Christopher Lee. The story is basically Dracula, but much darker.
Island Of Lost Souls (1932)
This film has been remade two times, but this is without a doubt the creepiest. Charles Laughton plays the seemingly benign Dr Moreau. A castaway, Richard Arlen is picked up and brought to the Island by Moreau's assistant Montgomery (played by Arthur Hohl) The Doc is thrilled to have company. He rolls out wine and plenty of food. Richard is very tired after being tossed off a ship so he has not much of an appetite. Dr and Hohl leave Arlen alone. Doc wants The Panther Woman to come in and entertain his guest. She falls for the guy almost immediately. Richard thinks she's cute too. She is wearing a very skimpy outfit. Richard retires for the night and starts chatting with Moreau. There is supposed to be a boat to take him off the Island but somehow it was destroyed during the night.
In the meantime Richards sweetie (played by Leila Hyam's) is waiting ashore for her guy and see's he does not get off his ship. She asks the captain and he shoos her away. She see's the list of missing and her guy is on list. She goes to big guy on island and asks him to bring in captain. Captain says he went on another boat. A brave sea captain tells Leila he will take her to her guy. They get there and pandemonium ensues. There is torture, operations with no anesthesia, beatings, implied wannabe beastiality. This is amazing that it was made in 1932. As I said it is the best and darkest version. Bela Lugosi has a small but important roll as Sayer Of The Law. He is so good. Props to Kathleen Burke that plays The Panther Woman. In the posters and film the just called her The Panther Woman. She really did a great job. Charles Laughton was truly fiendish.
Will the young couple get off the Island? Will The Panther Woman ever find happiness? What are the laws? Will the Fiendish Dr Moreau ever get what he truly deserves. Good watch. But for me it was not an easy watch
The Haunting (1963)
There was a remake and then a short series called the Haunting Of Hill House but neither could slightly compare to the original. This is a ghost story without CGI. Just good old fashioned hauntings. It is very scary.
It starts with Professor Markway ( Richard Johnson) discussing the horrible things that have happened at Hill house starting at the beginning. He wants to go and take psychic researchers to see if a house could be born or built evil. He asks about ten people but only two respond. One is Eleanor (Julie Harris) who experienced poltergeist experiences when she was 12 and Theodora..just Theodora, that has the gift of E.S.P. To round out the group is Luke (played by Russ Tamblyn) His grandmother owns the house, he is a skeptic and looks at the place as a potential big money maker. Eleanor is escaping from her horrid life, living with her sister, sis's hub, and bratty niece. Prior to that she had been the only caretaker of her invalid and cruel mother. To say Eleanor is tightly wound is putting it mildly.
She gets to Hill house first and is met by the creepy housekeeper. Next in comes the stylish Theodora, also called Theo. Theo is an out lesbian, which was pretty daring for 1963. She and Eleanor meet and then decide to check out the house. They go looking and they find prof. Dinner is served and they meet Luke that is stirring up a batch of martini's. We hear Eleanor's thoughts all through the movie. She is so happy she has friends.
The night does not disappoint. There are horrible and very loud poundings, terrible shrieks and other noises. Only the ladies hear it because the men were out searching for a ghost dog. So much happens in this film. It will not disappoint. It will if you are looking for a slice and dice film. This is just good, old fashioned horror. It's scary.
Will Eleanor find her place in the world. Why is there a love triangle, and over Eleanor of all people. She is brittle and unhinged. Will Luke use the house as the Horror A Go Go? Will Dr Markway find out if a house can be born bad?? Will anyone come to Hillhouse at night, after dark? Can anyone hear them scream? Lot's of fun and scary.