Sure, everyone's seen The Blob, but horror movies from the 1950s went way further than that. Some of what studios offered was better, some of it was worse, some of it was just weird, and it's a crime that people have forgotten so many of these classics. From the elegant and artistic to campy treasures, so many filmmakers in the '50s were way ahead of their time when it came to horror.
If you love scary movies, but are tired of everybody trying to make you watch the same four films every year, consider whipping out one of these obscure '50s horror classics. Some of these films touch on themes like social critique, or feature costumes with plainly visible zippers on the back, avant garde jazz scores, and killer suspense - even demonic tree stumps. Every horror lover will find a movie on this list that will become one of their faves.
While the '50s are the famous decade of the nuclear family and the white picket fence, its films deserve a lot more credit than they get. Check out these spooky '50s flicks and make any day Halloween.
Fiend Without A Face
This 1958 British indie horror film features an invisible lifeform that feeds on atomic power. It murders people and then steals human brains and spinal columns to increase its numbers. The director shot with a low budget, which makes its use of stop motion animation to reveal the terrifying brain/spine monsters very unusual for the '50s.
It was controversial at the time because it featured 'explicit' blood and gore, which horrified and offended audiences, critics, and sensors long before the days of David Lynch. While this decade is famous for its bad B movies, Fiend Without A Face was ahead of its time and one of the best films of the era.
Curse of the Demon
This 1957 British horror film tells the story of a skeptical American psychiatrist traveling to England and investigating a weird satanic cult suspected of multiple murders. Released as Curse of the Demon in America, it was originally called Night of the Demon. A tale of murder, double crossing, black magic, and the fight against dark forces, this film riveted audiences.
Curse of the Demon has inspired a number of musicians and filmmakers, including Kate Bush. It's even referenced in the opening song of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Martin Scorsese considers it to be one of the scariest films ever made.
The Creeping Unknown
This Hammer Studios horror film is also known as The Quatermass Xperiment. It's a sci-fi/horror tale in which three astronauts are sent into space and only one returns. He returns horribly changed and infected with an alien organism mutating him and preparing to infect the whole of humanity. When it escapes (of course), Scotland Yard must track it down and save the world.
This film has an excellent eerie atmosphere and was largely well received. Richard Wordsworth pulls a great performance as Victor Carroon, the infected astronaut. The make up used to show him slowly morphing into an alien creature is also ahead of its time. The success of this film led to two sequels and put Hammer on the path to creating the horror films they became famous for.
The World, The Flesh, and the Devil
This 1959 American sci-fi doomsday film stars Harry Belafonte at the peak of his career. It's set in a post apocalyptic world with no survivors. Belafonte plays a black coal miner who becomes trapped underground and spends days digging his way out. When he emeges, he finds a world left deserted by a radioactive event.
This film is way ahead of its time in it's depiction of racism, as Belafonte ends up in a love triangle with a white woman and white man that almost gets deadly. This is a fascinating film to take a look at if you love conscious sci-fi and horror that makes a point.