The Best '30s Horror Movies

List Rules
Vote up your favorite horror films that were released in the 1930s

This list of the best 1930s horror movies features some truly terrifying tales of murder, monsters, and mayhem. Fans of the horror genre might scoff at horror films made over 70 years ago, but if you give these movies a chance, they will most assuredly leave your hair standing on end, and your knuckles white.


One of the most iconic horror movies ever made was released in the ‘30s: Tod Browning’s
Freaks. Revolutionary, and unlike any movie that came before or afterward, Freaks featured real sideshow performers with real deformities. The original version of the film was deemed too disturbing to be released. The film ruined Browning’s career. The two dominant horror actors of the ‘30s and ‘40s, Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff, also appear on this list as Dracula and Frankenstein, respectively. The Black Cat was the first of eight films to pit the two on-screen legends against one another.


Also on this list, you’ll find the work of legendary German director Fritz Lang.
The Testament of Dr. Mabuse, a follow up to Lang’s earlier silent film about the mad doctor, is regarded as one of the finest horror films of the decade. Vote up the best '30s horror movies below, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section. 
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  • Frankenstein
    1
    Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, John Boles
    • Released: 1931
    • Directed by: James Whale
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  • Bride of Frankenstein
    2
    Boris Karloff, Elsa Lanchester, Colin Clive
    • Released: 1935
    • Directed by: James Whale
  • Dracula
    3
    Bela Lugosi, Edward Van Sloan, Dwight Frye
    • Released: 1931
    • Directed by: Tod Browning
  • King Kong
    4
    Fay Wray, Bruce Cabot, Robert Armstrong
    • Released: 1933
    • Directed by: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack
  • The Invisible Man
    5
    Claude Rains, Gloria Stuart, Una O'Connor
    • Released: 1933
    • Directed by: James Whale
  • The Black Cat
    6
    Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, David Manners
    • Released: 1934
    • Directed by: Edgar G. Ulmer
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
    7
    Fredric March, Miriam Hopkins, Rose Hobart
    • Released: 1931
    • Directed by: Rouben Mamoulian
  • The Mummy
    8
    Boris Karloff, Zita Johann, David Manners
    • Released: 1932
    • Directed by: Karl Freund
  • Freaks
    9
    Wallace Ford, Olga Baclanova, Leila Hyams
    • Released: 1932
    • Directed by: Tod Browning
  • Island of Lost Souls
    10
    Charles Laughton, Bela Lugosi, Richard Arlen
    • Released: 1933
    • Directed by: Erle C. Kenton
  • M
    11
    Peter Lorre, Ellen Widmann, Inge Landgut
    • Released: 1931
    • Directed by: Fritz Lang
  • The Old Dark House
    12
    Boris Karloff, Melvyn Douglas, Charles Laughton
    • Released: 1932
    • Directed by: James Whale
  • Mystery of the Wax Museum
    13
    Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Glenda Farrell
    • Released: 1933
    • Directed by: Michael Curtiz
  • Son of Frankenstein
    14
    Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi
    • Released: 1939
    • Directed by: Rowland V. Lee
  • The Murders in the Rue Morgue
    15
    Val Kilmer, Ian McShane, Boris Karloff
    • Released: 1986
    • Directed by: Jeannot Szwarc, A. Edward Sutherland, Robert Florey, Edgar G. Ulmer
  • White Zombie
    16
    Bela Lugosi, Madge Bellamy, Robert Frazer
    • Released: 1932
    • Directed by: Victor Halperin
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  • Werewolf of London
    17
    Henry Hull, Warner Oland, Valerie Hobson
    • Released: 1935
    • Directed by: Stuart Walker
  • Vampyr
    18
    Julian West, Henriette Gérard, Jan Hieronimko
    • Released: 1932
    • Directed by: Carl Theodor Dreyer
  • Mad Love
    19
    Peter Lorre, Frances Drake, Colin Clive
    • Released: 1935
    • Directed by: Karl Freund
  • The Walking Dead
    20
    Boris Karloff, Barton MacLane, Edmund Gwenn
    • Released: 1936
    • Directed by: Michael Curtiz
  • Mark of the Vampire
    21
    Lionel Barrymore, Bela Lugosi, Elizabeth Allan
    • Released: 1935
    • Directed by: Tod Browning
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles
    22
    Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Richard Greene
    • Released: 1939
    • Directed by: Sidney Lanfield
  • Dracula's Daughter
    23
    Otto Kruger, Gloria Holden, Marguerite Churchill
    • Released: 1936
    • Directed by: Lambert Hillyer
  • The Raven
    24
    Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Ian Wolfe
    • Released: 1935
    • Directed by: Lew Landers
  • The Ghoul
    25
    Boris Karloff, Cedric Hardwicke, Ernest Thesiger
    • Released: 1933
    • Directed by: T. Hayes Hunter
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