The 15 Best Black And White Horror Movies



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In today's day and age, black and white horror movies are typically thought to be a relic of the past, a nice reminder of horror history, but nothing that is groundbreaking or revolutionary by today's standards. This sentiment couldn't be further from the truth, however. The best black and white horror movies push the boundaries of the genre, tell revolutionary stories, showcase fantastic creature and visual effect, and of course, scare the living daylights out of audiences. Simply put, these are some of the greatest horror films of all time. While many find it challenging to overlook the monochrome film's color scheme, those who are willing to travel back in time can expect to see some of the greatest and scariest moves of all time. 

Nosferatu and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari are some of the most influential and important films in the history of cinema, and their trademarked greyscale tones help them become staples in the minds and hearts of horror fans across the globe. Then, years later, the classic Universal Monster films like Frankenstein and The Invisible Man revolutionized the horror landscape making much darker and more gothic tales of horror. In the 60s, films like  Psycho and Night of the Living Dead helped change the world with their far more mature and retrospective looks on life, and modern-day black and white masterpieces in The Lighthouse and The Girl Who Walks Alone At Night pay fantastic homage to the glory of the past with stellar new stories. These fascinating works of horror cover a wide array of fantastic, terrifying, and revolutionary stories, with each being more jaw-dropping than the last.

Vote up the best black and white horror movies, and be sure to check out The Best Black and White Movies Ever Made and The Best Modern Black and White Movies to continue your monochrome moviegoing adventure.

  • The spine-chilling and gut-wrenching film that helped introduce zombies into the mainstream media, Night of the Living Dead gave the horror genre something it won't ever forget… a new terror to behold. Crafted brilliantly by George A. Romero, the black and white tone of the film shocked audiences into thinking these horrific attacks were potentially real, giving the film a gritty, on-the-ground documentary feel.

    It has been established that persons who have recently died have been returning to life and committing acts of murder. A widespread investigation of funeral homes, morgues, and hospitals has concluded that the unburied dead have been returning to life and seeking human victims. It's hard for us here to be reporting this to you, but it does seem to be a fact.

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    One of the most brilliantly crafted, technically perfected, and horrifyingly haunting horror films to ever shock and appeal to audiences, Psycho completely changed the game in the film world.  A masterclass in suspense and slow-building dread, this monochrome masterpiece is inarguably one of the most important films of all time, and thanks to its black and white nature, director Alfred Hitchcock was able to push the boundaries of gore and slaughter.

    They're probably watching me. Well, let them. Let them see what kind of a person I am. I'm not even going to swat that fly. I hope they are watching. They'll see. They'll see and they'll know, and they'll say, 'Why, she wouldn't even harm a fly…'

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  • Dracula
    Photo: Dracula

    The first film in Universal Studios' long line of classic monster stories, Dracula defined the horror genre for the 1930s and instantly became one of the biggest icons in horror history. With stunning gothic castles, stunning contrast in the skin, and an overall essence of dread and despair, this Creature of the Night uses his black and white color scheme to perfection, creating a richly dark and captivating sense of foreboding.

    I'm loyal to you, Master, I am your slave, I didn't betray you! Oh, no, don't! Don't kill me! Let me live, please! Punish me, torture me, but let me live! I can't die with all those lives on my conscience! All that blood on my hands!

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  • Frankenstein
    Photo: Frankenstein

    While it may not have been the first, Frankenstein is arguably the biggest and best film to come from Universal's catalog of esteemed and beloved monsters. A film that shocked audiences to their very core in 1931, the exploration of life and death, genius and madness, and what it means to be a God is still one of the most brilliant and horrifying stories ever told on screen. The film's black and white tones only help further deliver this film's prominent messages of good and evil.

    It's alive, it's moving, it's alive, it's alive! It's Alive! Oh, in the name of God! Now I know what it feels like to be God!

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  • A twisted, maniacal, and horrific adaptation of the H.G. Wells' novel of the same name, The Invisible Man is one of the most revered and beloved classic Universal Monster stories for its absurdity and downright nastiness. A film that holds no punches and relishes in the chaos, the visual effects, lighting, and color scheme all blend together in utmost beauty to establish a new form of terror.

    We'll begin with a reign of terror, a few murders here and there, murders of great men, murders of little men - well, just to show we make no distinction. I might even wreck a train or two... just these fingers around a signalman's throat, that's all.

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  • Nosferatu
    Photo: Nosferatu

    Shocking, haunting, and deeply disturbing, Nosferatu is arguably one of the most terrifying and powerful horror films ever made, as its visual style and neverending dread helped define the genre as what we know it today. While the film should be dated by today's standards, many argue that the stark contrast in colors, the shining whites, and deafening blacks have helped the film age like a fine wine, and given Nosferatu a second life as an astonishingly spine-chilling film.

    Does this word not sound like the midnight call of the Bird of Death? Do not utter it, or the images of life will fade - into pale shadows and ghostly dreams will rise from your heart and feed your Blood.

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