The Best Old Horror Movies

14k votes 1.3k voters 125k views 69 items tags f p @

List Criteria: Only classic horror movies released BEFORE 1960.

The best old horror movies include classic scary films designed to terrify. Early horror movies tapped into our deepest fears of the unknown, combining compelling, unique stories with outstanding character acting. Whether it's zombies, ghosts, vampires or other supernatural creatures, this list of old horror movies includes some of the greatest frightening films ever made. Be sure to vote for your favorites, and add any older horror movies that are missing.

Modern horror movies are great, but they have nothing on the classics. In fact, many of the modern-era scary films are remakes of the famous movies listed here. Some of the common sources for these classic old horror movies include novels and folktales about frightening monsters (Dracula and Frankenstein are good examples). Some of the horror movies listed here are silent films, but that doesn't mean they aren't as scary - not at all. Both Nosferatu and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari are extremely creepy movies, even without sound.

What makes for a truly outstanding horror movie? Bottom line, it scares the living daylights out of us by tapping into some dark, primal fear we have. The best older horror movies manage to chill, thrill and terrify by exposing us to monsters -- both real and imagined. If you're looking to delve into classic horror movies, this is a great place to start. The films here are innovative, popular and downright horrifying.

For more spooky fun, check out these lists of the best horror books and 13 horror movies and the 'true stories' they're based on and of course, the greatest horror films ever made!
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  • 15 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 536
    - 84

    the people's #1
    Boris Karloff, John Boles, Colin Clive

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  2. 2
    + 497
    - 89

    most listed
    Bela Lugosi, Tod Browning, Carla Laemmle

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  3. 3
    + 394
    - 75


    Bela Lugosi, Claude Rains, Lon Chaney

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  4. 4
    + 333
    - 61


    Boris Karloff, Edward Van Sloan, Noble Johnson

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  5. 5
    + 348
    - 91


    Richard Carlson, Richard Denning, Julie Adams

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  6. 6
    + 358
    - 87


    Boris Karloff, Walter Brennan, Billy Barty

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  7. 7
    + 381
    - 81


    Max Schreck, John Gottowt, Alexander Granach

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  8. 8
    + 313
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    Fay Wray, Merian C. Cooper, Bruce Cabot

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  9. 9
    + 234
    - 107

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Fredric March, Wallace Beery, Miriam Hopkins

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  10. 10
    + 244
    - 104


    Lon Chaney, Norman Kerry, Mary Philbin

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  11. 11
    + 224
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Claude Rains, Gloria Stuart, Una O'Connor

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  12. 12
    + 261
    - 39

    ranked low on reranks
    George A. Romero, Duane Jones, Bill Hinzman

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  13. 13
    + 281
    - 78


    Vincent Price, Charles Bronson, Carolyn Jones

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  14. 14
    + 237
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    Steve McQueen, Aneta Corsaut, Lee Payton

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  15. 15
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    James Arness, Paul Frees, George Fenneman

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  16. 16
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Conrad Veidt, Lil Dagover, Hans Heinrich von Twardowski

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  17. 17
    + 179
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    Lon Chaney, Ernest Torrence, Raymond Hatton

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  18. 18
    + 214
    - 99


    Wallace Ford, Edward Brophy, Roscoe Ates

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  19. 19
    + 243
    - 94


    Dana Wynter, Sam Peckinpah, Carolyn Jones

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  20. 20
    + 184
    - 58


    Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Hazel Court

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  21. 21
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  22. 22
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    Vincent Price, Richard Long, Elisha Cook

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  23. 23
    + 166
    - 70


    Bela Lugosi, Clarence Muse, Madge Bellamy

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  24. 24
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    - 15

    added by jonathan-guerra
    Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Basil Rathbone

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  25. 25
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    - 40


    Patricia Neal, Michael Rennie, Frances Bavier

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  26. 26
    + 170
    - 67


    Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, John Le Mesurier

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  27. 27
    + 135
    - 52


    Boris Karloff, Charles Laughton, Gloria Stuart

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  28. 28
    + 121
    - 64


    Bela Lugosi, Charles Laughton, Randolph Scott

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  29. 29
    + 135
    - 62


    Boris Karloff, Frances Dee, Tom Conway

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  30. 30
    + 144
    - 32
    The Body Snatcher is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Old Horror Movies

    ranked low on reranks & added by zxray
    Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Bill Williams

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  31. 31
    + 126
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    Angela Lansbury, Donna Reed, George Sanders

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  32. 32
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    Dana Andrews, Peggy Cummins, Niall MacGinnis

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  33. 33
    + 112
    - 109


    Alan Napier, Simone Simon, Tom Conway

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  34. 34
    + 38
    - 14

    added by Tommie Thomas
    Vincent Price, Barbara Steele, Charles Victor

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  35. 35
    + 86
    - 65
    The Golem is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Old Horror Movies

    added by zxray
    Paul Wegener, Henrik Galeen, Lyda Salmonova

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  36. 36
    + 39
    - 17

    added by Tommie Thomas
    Jack Nicholson, Vincent Price, Boris Karloff

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  37. 37
    + 75
    - 13

    ranked low on reranks & added by jonathan-guerra
    Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney, Jr.

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  38. 38
    + 49
    - 28

    often listed & added by jonathan-guerra
    Vincent Price, David Hedison, Herbert Marshall

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  39. 39
    + 110
    - 102


    Peter Lorre, Theo Lingen, Georg John

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  40. 40
    + 74
    - 16

    ranked low on reranks & added by jonathan-guerra
    Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney, Jr.

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  41. 41
    + 94
    - 100

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Sybille Schmitz, Nicolas de Gunzburg, Maurice Schutz

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  42. 42
    + 114
    - 46

    ranked low on reranks & added by dee123
    Leonard Nimoy, James Arness, Fess Parker

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  43. 43
    + 106
    - 90


    Shelley Fabares, Patty McCormack, Eileen Heckart

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  44. 44
    + 81
    - 30

    added by but chickens double d
    Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish

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  45. 45
    + 81
    - 42

    added by BobEqualityGreen
    Milburn Stone, Hillary Brooke, Leif Erickson

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  46. 46
    + 74
    - 103

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Simone Simon, Jane Randolph, Sarah Selby

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  47. 47
    + 68
    - 105

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Simone Signoret, Michel Serrault, Paul Meurisse

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  48. 48
    + 47
    - 20

    added by jonathan-guerra
    Fay Wray, Lionel Atwill, Glenda Farrell

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  49. 49
    + 78
    - 67


    Albert Dekker, Paul Fix, Charles Halton

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  50. 50
    + 94
    - 90


    William Schallert, Paul Langton, Billy Curtis

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