Watchworthy

The Best Golden Age of Horror Movies 

Ranker Horror
Updated December 10, 2019 2.4k votes 234 voters 9.8k views 38 items

List Rules Best horror films from Hollywood's Golden Age.

The Golden Age of Hollywood began at the end of the silent era in American cinema in the later part of the 1920s and lasted all the way through to the 1960s. The movies produced in the Golden Age were classic black and white films that have stood the test of time as being the greatest in the history of movies! Warner Brothers, Twentieth Century Fox and Paramount were all introduced during this key time in movie history, and some of Hollywood’s greatest actors and actresses were also introduced, including Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, Joan Crawford, Spencer Tracy and John Wayne.

This era also resulted in some of the best horror movies. The movies on this list are still considered some of the best in the industry, and no matter what kind of horror you're looking for, you're sure to find it.

This list has the best horror movies from the Golden Age of Hollywood, including: Freaks, The Wolf Man, Psycho, Dracula, Night of the Living Dead, and King Kong.

Vote for your favorite horror flick below, or add any of your favorites from the Golden Age that aren't already on the list.

Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
list ordered by
1
Ranker Video
Boris Karloff, John Boles, Colin Clive

Released: 1931

Directed by: James Whale

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

More Frankenstein 

#74 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #124 of 366 The Best Movies Based On Books #26 of 232 The Best Black and White Movies Ever Made

2
Psycho is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Golden Age of Horror Movies
Alfred Hitchcock, Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins

Released: 1960

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

Psycho is a 1960 American horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The film centers on an encounter between a secretary, Marion Crane, who ends up at a secluded motel after taking money from ...more

More Psycho 

#8 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #615 of 1,208 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time #7 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

3
Ranker Video
Bela Lugosi, Tod Browning, Carla Laemmle

Released: 1931

Directed by: Tod Browning, Karl Freund

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

More Dracula 

#73 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #108 of 366 The Best Movies Based On Books #14 of 85 The Best Movies Based on Plays

4
Ranker Video
Boris Karloff, Walter Brennan, Billy Barty

Released: 1935

Directed by: James Whale

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

More Bride of Frankenstein 

#140 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #741 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #5 of 20 The Best Horror Movies With Weddings, Ranked

5
Ranker Video
Bela Lugosi, Claude Rains, Lon Chaney

Released: 1941

Directed by: George Waggner

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

More The Wolf Man 

#111 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #49 of 116 The Scariest Giant Monster Movies #3 of 20 What Are The Best Universal Monster Films?

6
Ranker Video
Boris Karloff, Edward Van Sloan, Noble Johnson

Released: 1932

Directed by: Karl Freund

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

More The Mummy 

#107 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #7 of 20 What Are The Best Universal Monster Films? #60 of 107 The Best Halloween Movies for Kids

7
Ranker Video
George A. Romero, Duane Jones, Bill Hinzman

Released: 1968

Directed by: George A. Romero

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

More Night of the Living Dead 

#150 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #14 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #69 of 568 The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time

8
Ranker Video
Fay Wray, Merian C. Cooper, Bruce Cabot

Released: 1933

Directed by: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack

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

More King Kong 

#260 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #28 of 568 The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time #81 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars

9
Ranker Video
OCD Man added Richard Carlson, Richard Denning, Julie Adams

Released: 1954

Directed by: Jack Arnold

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

More Creature from the Black Lagoon 

#118 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #10 of 47 The Greatest Classic Sci-Fi Movies #38 of 116 The Scariest Giant Monster Movies

10
Ranker Video
Lon Chaney, Norman Kerry, Mary Philbin

Released: 1925

Directed by: Lon Chaney, Edward Sedgwick, Rupert Julian, Ernst Laemmle

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

More The Phantom of the Opera 

Every Song in The Phantom of the Opera, Ranked by Singability #81 of 804 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Madelisted on List of Silent Movies

11
Ranker Video
Fredric March, Wallace Beery, Miriam Hopkins

Released: 1931

Directed by: Rouben Mamoulian

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

More Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 

#507 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #243 of 366 The Best Movies Based On Books #56 of 457 The Best Duos of All Time

12
Ranker Video
Claude Rains, Gloria Stuart, Una O'Connor

Released: 1933

Directed by: James Whale

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

More The Invisible Man 

#302 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #275 of 366 The Best Movies Based On Books #21 of 47 The Greatest Classic Sci-Fi Movies

13
Ranker Video
Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Basil Rathbone

Released: 1939

Directed by: Rowland V. Lee

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
14
Ranker Video
Vincent Price, Bela Lugosi, Lou Costello

Released: 1948

Directed by: Charles Barton

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

More Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein 

#144 of 1,208 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time #120 of 1,027 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #298 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

15
Ranker Video
Wallace Ford, Edward Brophy, Roscoe Ates

Released: 1932

Directed by: Tod Browning

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

More Freaks 

#169 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #94 of 157 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again #9 of 20 The Best Horror Movies With Weddings, Ranked

16
Ranker Video
The Werewolf of London

Released: 1935

17
Ranker Video
OCD Man added Lon Chaney, Ernest Torrence, Raymond Hatton

Released: 1923

Directed by: Wallace Worsley

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

More The Hunchback of Notre Dame 

#255 of 366 The Best Movies Based On Books #5 of 58 Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain #22 of 115 The Best Old Horror Movies

18
Ranker Video
Boris Karloff, Charles Laughton, Gloria Stuart

Released: 1932

Directed by: James Whale

The Old Dark House is a 1932 American pre-Code comedy horror film directed by James Whale. It is based on the novel Benighted (1927) by J.B. Priestley. The ensemble cast includes Boris Karloff, ...more

More The Old Dark House 

#555 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #59 of 100 The Best Movies On Shudder #17 of 26 The Best Horror Movies That Take Place in Castles

19
Ranker Video
Boris Karloff, Frances Dee, Tom Conway

Released: 1943

Directed by: Jacques Tourneur

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.

More I Walked with a Zombie 

#335 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #63 of 204 The Best Zombie Horror Films #178 of 207 The Best Classic Horror Movies

20
Ranker Video
Lon Chaney, Jr., John Carradine

Released: 1945

Directed by: Erle C. Kenton

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

More House of Dracula 

#13 of 20 What Are The Best Universal Monster Films? #46 of 115 The Best Old Horror Movies #17 of 23 The Best Vampire Movies Based on Books

21
Ranker Video
Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Ian Wolfe

Released: 1935

Directed by: Lew Landers

The Raven is a 1935 American horror film directed by Lew Landers and starring Boris Karloff and Béla Lugosi. The picture revolves around Edgar Allan Poe's famous homonymous poem, ...more
22
Ranker Video
Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, David Manners

Released: 1934

Directed by: Edgar G. Ulmer

Not to be confused with the 1941 version also featuring Bela Lugosi. The Black Cat is a 1934 horror film that became Universal Pictures' biggest box office hit of the year. The picture was the ...more

More The Black Cat 

#695 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #126 of 147 The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time #14 of 54 The Best Horror Movies About Cults and Conspiracies

23
Ranker Video
Angela Lansbury, Donna Reed, George Sanders

Released: 1945

Directed by: Albert Lewin

The Picture of Dorian Gray is a 1945 American horror-drama film based on Oscar Wilde's 1890 novel of the same name. Released in March 1945 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the film is directed by Albert ...more

More The Picture of Dorian Gray 

#2 of 17 Horror Movies About Artists And The Art World #216 of 588 The Best Fantasy Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

24
Ranker Video
Bela Lugosi, Charles Laughton, Randolph Scott

Released: 1932

Directed by: Erle C. Kenton

Island of Lost Souls is a 1932 American science fiction horror film starring Charles Laughton, Richard Arlen, Leila Hyams, Bela Lugosi and Kathleen Burke as the Panther Woman. The film was ...more

More Island of Lost Souls 

#153 of 232 The Best Black and White Movies Ever Made #81 of 138 The Best Pre-Code Movies #11 of 15 Frankenstein Movies That Aren't Actually About Frankenstein

25
Ranker Video
Conrad Veidt, Lil Dagover, Hans Heinrich von Twardowski

Released: 1920

Directed by: Robert Wiene

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

More The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari 

#167 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #295 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #957 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies