Graveyard Shift The Best Old Horror Movies  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
27.4k votes 3.2k voters 269.7k views 118 items

List Rules 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!
list ordered by
1
1,083 229
Frankenstein is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Old Horror Movies
Boris Karloff, John Boles, Colin Clive
Frankenstein is a 1931 horror monster film from Universal Pictures directed by James Whale and adapted from the play by Peggy Webling, which in turn is based on the novel of the same name by ...more
2
972 223
Dracula is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Old Horror Movies
Bela Lugosi, Tod Browning, Carla Laemmle
Dracula is a 1931 vampire-horror film directed by Tod Browning and starring Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula. The film was produced by Universal and is based on the 1924 stage play Dracula by ...more
3
804 177
The Wolf Man is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Old Horror Movies
Bela Lugosi, Claude Rains, Lon Chaney
The Wolf Man is a 1941 American drama horror film written by Curt Siodmak and produced and directed by George Waggner. The film stars Lon Chaney, Jr. as a werewolf named "The Wolf Man" ...more
4
688 175
The Mummy is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Old Horror Movies
Boris Karloff, Edward Van Sloan, Noble Johnson
The Mummy is a 1932 horror film from Universal Studios directed by Karl Freund and stars Boris Karloff as a revived ancient Egyptian priest. The movie also features Zita Johann, David Manners ...more
5
766 168
Bride of Frankenstein is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Old Horror Movies
Boris Karloff, Walter Brennan, Billy Barty
Bride of Frankenstein is a 1935 American horror film, the first sequel to Frankenstein. Bride of Frankenstein was directed by James Whale and stars Boris Karloff as The Monster, Elsa Lanchester ...more
6
736 195
Creature from the Black Lagoon is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Old Horror Movies
Richard Carlson, Richard Denning, Julie Adams
Creature from the Black Lagoon is a 1954 monster horror 3-D film in black-and-white, directed by Jack Arnold and starring Richard Carlson, Julia Adams, Richard Denning, Antonio Moreno and Whit ...more
7
797 163
Nosferatu is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Old Horror Movies
Max Schreck, John Gottowt, Alexander Granach
Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens is a 1922 German Expressionist horror film, directed by F. W. Murnau, starring Max Schreck as the vampire Count Orlok. The film, shot in 1921 and released ...more
8
606 206
King Kong is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Old Horror Movies
Fay Wray, Merian C. Cooper, Bruce Cabot
King Kong is a 1933 American fantasy monster/adventure film directed and produced by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack. The screenplay by James Ashmore Creelman and Ruth Rose was from an ...more
9
492 165
The Invisible Man is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Old Horror Movies
Claude Rains, Gloria Stuart, Una O'Connor
The Invisible Man is a 1933 science fiction film based on H. G. Wells' science fiction novel The Invisible Man, published in 1897, as adapted by R. C. Sherriff, Philip Wylie and Preston Sturges, ...more
10
443 188
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Old Horror Movies
Fredric March, Wallace Beery, Miriam Hopkins
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a 1931 American Pre-Code horror film directed by Rouben Mamoulian and starring Fredric March. The film is an adaptation of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, ...more
11
478 173
The Phantom of the Opera is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Old Horror Movies
Lon Chaney, Norman Kerry, Mary Philbin
The Phantom of the Opera is a 1925 American silent horror film adaptation of Gaston Leroux's 1910 novel Le Fantôme de l'Opéra, directed by Rupert Julian and starring Lon Chaney, Sr. ...more
12
631 102
Night of the Living Dead is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Old Horror Movies
George A. Romero, Duane Jones, Bill Hinzman
Night of the Living Dead is a 1968 American independent zombie horror film directed by George A. Romero, starring Duane Jones, Judith O'Dea and Karl Hardman. It premiered on October 1, 1968, and ...more
13
521 147
House of Wax is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Old Horror Movies
Vincent Price, Charles Bronson, Carolyn Jones
House of Wax is a 1953 American 3-D horror film about a disfigured sculptor who repopulates his destroyed wax museum by luring people and using their wax-coated corpses as displays. It stars ...more
14
351 185
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Old Horror Movies
Conrad Veidt, Lil Dagover, Hans Heinrich von Twardowski
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a 1920 German silent horror film, directed by Robert Wiene and written by Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer. Considered the quintessential work of German Expressionist ...more
15
486 140
Invasion of the Body Snatchers is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Old Horror Movies
Dana Wynter, Sam Peckinpah, Carolyn Jones
Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a 1956 American black-and-white science fiction film produced by Walter Wanger, directed by Don Siegel, and starring Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter. The film ...more
16
501 162
House on Haunted Hill is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Old Horror Movies
Vincent Price, Richard Long, Elisha Cook
House on Haunted Hill is a 1959 American horror film. It was directed by William Castle, written by Robb White and stars Vincent Price as eccentric millionaire Frederick Loren. He and his fourth ...more
17
424 159
The Blob is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Old Horror Movies
Steve McQueen, Aneta Corsaut, Lee Payton
The Blob is an independently made 1958 American horror/science fiction film directed by Irvin Yeaworth. In the style of American International Pictures, Paramount Pictures released the film as a ...more
18
462 128
The Thing from Another World is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Old Horror Movies
James Arness, Paul Frees, George Fenneman
The Thing from Another World is a 1951 American black-and-white science fiction/horror film produced by Howard Hawks' Winchester Pictures Corporation, released by RKO Pictures, and directed by ...more
19
404 167
Freaks is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Old Horror Movies
Wallace Ford, Edward Brophy, Roscoe Ates
Freaks is a 1932 American horror film in which the eponymous characters were played by people who worked as carnival sideshow performers and had real deformities. The original version was ...more
20
306 121
The Hunchback of Notre Dame is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Old Horror Movies
Lon Chaney, Ernest Torrence, Raymond Hatton
The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a 1923 American film starring Lon Chaney, directed by Wallace Worsley, and produced by Carl Laemmle and Irving Thalberg. The supporting cast includes Patsy Ruth ...more
21
317 72
Horror of Dracula is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Old Horror Movies
22
321 103
The Curse of Frankenstein is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Old Horror Movies
Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Hazel Court
The Curse of Frankenstein is a 1957 British horror film by Hammer Film Productions, loosely based on the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. It was Hammer's first colour horror film, and the ...more
23
233 63
The Fly is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Old Horror Movies
jonathan-guerra added Vincent Price, David Hedison, Herbert Marshall
The Fly is a 1958 American science fiction-horror film produced and directed by Kurt Neumann. The screenplay was written by James Clavell, from the short story of the same name by George ...more
24
194 45
The Pit and the Pendulum is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Old Horror Movies
Tommie Thomas added Vincent Price, Barbara Steele, Charles Victor
The Pit and the Pendulum is a 1961 horror film directed by Roger Corman, starring Vincent Price, Barbara Steele, John Kerr, and Luana Anders. The screenplay by Richard Matheson was based on ...more
25
214 55
Son of Frankenstein is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Old Horror Movies
jonathan-guerra added Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Basil Rathbone
Son of Frankenstein is a horror monster film and is the third film in Universal Studios' Frankenstein series and the last to feature Boris Karloff as the Monster as well as the first to feature ...more