Film The Best '40s Monster Movies  

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253 votes 83 voters 1.4k views 39 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite monster films that were released in the 1940s

Creature features have been popular since filmmaking began, but these 1940s monster movies are some of the best in the genre. In the '40s, monster movies were far more popular than they are today. Especially films based on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. On this list of '40s monster films, there are no less than four movies inspired by the classic novel.
 

Also well represented on this list of the top 1940s monster movies are mummies, zombies, werewolves, vampires, and a few straight-up monsters. There were so many cinematic monster mashes that there were actually stars of the genre, like Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, and Lon Chaney, Jr. Their names are still synonymous with Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, and the Wolf Man.

But what are the best monster films from the '40s? Your votes will help answer that question, so vote up the creature features that still hold up all these decades later, downvote the ones that were just part of a cinematic fad, and add any we may have missed. And if you're an expert, rerank the whole thing to create your own 1940s monster movies list.

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Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney, Jr. House of Frankenstein is an American monster horror film starring Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney, Jr., directed by Erle C. Kenton, written by Curt Siodmak, and produced in 1944 by Universal ...more

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Vincent Price, Bela Lugosi, Lou Costello Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein, or Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein —although the film is usually referred to as simply Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein—is a 1948 ...more

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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

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Lon Chaney, Jr., Elyse Knox The Mummy's Tomb is the 1942 horror film sequel to The Mummy's Hand. Lon Chaney, Jr. disliked the role of Kharis the mummy. Make-up artist Jack Pierce spent up to eight hours to wrap Chaney. A ...more

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Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney, Jr. Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, released in 1943, is an American monster horror film produced by Universal Studios starring Lon Chaney, Jr. as the Wolf Man and Bela Lugosi as Frankenstein's ...more

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Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney, Jr. The Ghost of Frankenstein, is an American monster horror film released in 1942. The movie is the fourth in a series of films produced by Universal Studios based upon characters in Mary Shelley's ...more

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Boris Karloff, Frances Dee, Tom Conway I Walked with a Zombie is a 1943 horror film directed by Jacques Tourneur. It was the second horror film from producer Val Lewton for RKO Pictures.

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Boris Karloff, Alan Napier, Anna Lee Isle of the Dead is a horror film made for RKO Radio Pictures by producer Val Lewton. The movie had a script inspired by the painting Isle of the Dead by Arnold Böcklin, which appears ...more

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Alan Napier, Simone Simon, Tom Conway Cat People is a 1942 horror film produced by Val Lewton and directed by Jacques Tourneur. DeWitt Bodeen wrote the original screenplay which was based on Val Lewton's short story The Bagheeta ...more

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Bela Lugosi, Nina Foch, Billy Bevan The Return of the Vampire is a horror film released in 1944 by Columbia Pictures. It is in black and white, and describes an Englishwoman's two encounters with a vampire. The first encounter ...more

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Lon Chaney, Jr., John Carradine The Mummy's Ghost is the 1944 Universal Pictures sequel to The Mummy's Tomb. Lon Chaney, Jr. again takes on the role of Kharis the mummy.

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Lon Chaney, Jr., Lionel Atwill Man-Made Monster is a science fiction horror film released by Universal Pictures. The film stars Lon Chaney, Jr. in his horror debut. Man-Made Monster was re-released under various titles ...more

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Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney, Jr. The Mummy's Curse is the 1944 horror film follow-up to The Mummy's Ghost. This film marks Lon Chaney, Jr.'s final appearance as Kharis, the Egyptian mummy. The Universal Mummy series boasts of a ...more

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Michael Redgrave, Googie Withers, Mervyn Johns Dead of Night is a British portmanteau horror film made by Ealing Studios; the individual stories were directed by Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden and Robert Hamer. The film ...more

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Lon Chaney, Jr., John Carradine Son of Dracula is a 1943 American horror film directed by Robert Siodmak – his first film for Universal studios – with a screenplay based on an original story by his brother Curt. The film stars ...more

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Bride of Frankenstein is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best '40s Monster Movies
chris-hill added 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

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The Mummy's Hand is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best '40s Monster Movies
Boris Karloff, Eduardo Ciannelli, Cecil Kellaway The Mummy's Hand is a 1940 black-and-white horror film, produced by Ben Pivar for Universal Studios. Although it is sometimes claimed by fans as a sequel or follow-up to The Mummy, it does not ...more

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Bela Lugosi, Lionel Atwill, Irene Hervey Night Monster is a 1942 American black-and-white horror film featuring Bela Lugosi and produced and distributed by Universal Pictures Company. The movie uses an original story and screenplay by ...more

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Bela Lugosi, Anne Jeffreys, Sheldon Leonard Zombies on Broadway is an 1945 American horror comedy film directed by Gordon M. Douglas. It stars Alan Carney and Wally Brown as a pair of men who are tasked with finding a real zombie for a ...more

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Claude Rains, Hume Cronyn, Nelson Eddy Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial David and Jade, a young couple, are consumed by their feelings for each other.  With the toll its taking on her schoolwork, Jade's father eventually bans David from seeing her.  This ...more

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Heather Angel, Halliwell Hobbes, John Brahm The Undying Monster is a 1942 horror and mystery film, also known as The Hammond Mystery, featuring a werewolf as the primary antagonist. The movie was directed by John Brahm and is based on the ...more

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Milburn Stone, George Zucco, Evelyn Ankers The Mad Ghoul is a science fiction and Universal monsters horror film, also known as Mystery of the Ghoul, starring Turhan Bey, Evelyn Ankers, and David Bruce, and featuring George Zucco, Robert ...more

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Bob Hope, Anthony Quinn, Paulette Goddard The Ghost Breakers 1940 is a comedy film directed by George Marshall and starring Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard. The film was adapted by Walter DeLeon from the play The Ghost Breaker by Paul ...more

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J. Carrol Naish, Glenn Strange, Mary Carlisle Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Dead Men Walk is a 64 minute, 1943, United States, black-and-white horror film produced by Sigmund Neufeld for Producers Releasing Corporation. It is an original story and screenplay by Fred ...more

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J. Carrol Naish, George Zucco, Shepperd Strudwick Dr. Renault's Secret is an American horror movie that was released to theaters in 1942. It was made by 20th Century Fox studios and was filmed in black and white. The story was written by ...more

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House of Dracula is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best '40s Monster Movies
Tom Webb added Lon Chaney, Jr., John Carradine House of Dracula is an American horror film released by Universal Pictures Company in 1945. It was a direct sequel to House of Frankenstein and continued the theme of combining Universal's three ...more

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House of Horrors is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best '40s Monster Movies
Alan Napier, Robert Lowery, Virginia Grey House of Horrors is a 1946 American horror film released by Universal Pictures, starring Rondo Hatton as a madman named "The Creeper." It was filmed in September 1945. An entire series ...more

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Douglass Dumbrille, Fritz Feld, Gerald Mohr The Catman of Paris is a film directed by Lesley Selander released on Apr 20, 1946.

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Nina Foch, Osa Massen Cry of the Werewolf, also known as Daughter of the Werewolf, is a 1944 film starring Nina Foch, based on a story by Griffin Jay and directed by Henry Levin.

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Larry Fine, Moe Howard, Curly Howard Idle Roomers is the 80th short subject starring American slapstick comedy team the Three Stooges. The trio made a total of 190 shorts for Columbia Pictures between 1934 and 1959.

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George Zucco, Eddie Acuff, Terry Frost The Flying Serpent is a 1946 American fantasy-horror film film directed by Sam Newfield and featuring George Zucco, Ralph Lewis, Hope Kramer and Eddie Acuff. The film is also known as Killer ...more

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Albert Dekker, Paul Fix, Charles Halton Dr. Cyclops is a 1940 American science fiction horror film directed by Ernest B. Schoedsack, starring Thomas Coley, Victor Kilian, Janice Logan, Charles Halton, Frank Yaconelli, and Albert ...more

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June Lockhart, Lloyd Corrigan, Sara Haden She-Wolf of London is a 1946 horror film produced by Universal Studios, directed by Jean Yarbrough and starring June Lockhart and Don Porter. The title evokes the earlier Werewolf of London, ...more

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Mantan Moreland, Henry Victor, John Archer King of the Zombies is a 1941 American horror comedy film produced by Monogram Pictures.

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J. Carrol Naish, Ralph Morgan, Tala Birell The Monster Maker is a 1944 Science Fiction/Horror Movie starring J. Carrol Naish and Ralph Morgan. Albert Glasser supplied the film score, his first, an assignment for which he was paid

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John Carradine, Robert Lowery, Gale Storm Revenge of the Zombies is a 1943 horror film directed by Steve Sekely, starring John Carradine and Gale Storm. Dr. Max Heinrich von Altermann, is a mad scientist working to create a race of ...more

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Paul Lukas, Marc Lawrence, George Zucco The Monster and the Girl is a science fiction/horror black-and-white film released by Paramount Pictures, on a low budget.

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Valley of the Zombies is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best '40s Monster Movies
Lorna Gray, Charles Trowbridge, Robert Livingston Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Valley of the Zombies is a 1946 film directed by Philip Ford.

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Otto Kruger, Rondo Hatton, Amelita Ward The Jungle Captive is a 1945 sequel to Jungle Woman, which had been preceded by Captive Wild Woman. The Jungle Captive features Otto Kruger, Amelita Ward, and Rondo Hatton. Vicky Lane plays ...more