Entertainment The Best '40s Monster Movies  

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288 votes 90 voters 1.5k 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.

list ordered by
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21 2
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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
2
17 4
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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
3
12 2
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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
4
12 2
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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
5
14 4
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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
6
10 2
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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
7
9 2
Bride of Frankenstein is listed (or ranked) 7 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
8
10 3
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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.
9
7 1
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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
10
9 3
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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
11
7 2
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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.
12
6 1
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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
13
8 3
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Michael Redgrave, Googie Withers, Mervyn Johns
This film 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
14
7 3
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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
15
5 1
The Mummy's Hand is listed (or ranked) 15 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
16
5 1
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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
17
5 1
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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
18
4 0
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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
19
4 1
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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
20
4 1
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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
21
4 1
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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
22
3 0
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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.
23
3 0
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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
24
3 0
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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
25
3 0
House of Dracula is listed (or ranked) 25 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