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5 Classy Vintage Horror Films

5 Classy Vintage Horror Films | Gamerwife.com As I mentioned in my Horror Block unboxing video, I’m something of a closet horror hound. I even used to write about horror and cult films for Film Threat, back in my past life as filmgurl. So, it should come as no surprise that I have a special place in my heart for Halloween and all the activities it entails, like dressing up, eating lots of pumpkin things and watching spooky movies.

However, I also know that not everyone likes having the daylights scared out of them. Harper Honey and Mia Moore have both compiled great lists of not so scary Halloween movies, so I figured I’d take a page from them and recommend some great classic horror films that are more about atmosphere than gore and jump scares.

Frankenstein (1931)

5 Classy Horror Films | Frankenstein Poster | Gamerwife.com This one is very near and dear to my heart. I have a great love of all things Frankenstein, from the novel to the many film adaptations (except for the Kenneth Branagh one, which is hot garbage). But this is the film that made me love classic horror. The high contrast lighting, the nods to Expressionism, Jack Pierce’s iconic creature design. It’s tragic and spooky and thought provoking all at once, and it was also one of the first horror films to have a sequel, which also happens to be the first horror comedy.

See also: Dracula (1931), Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

I Walked With A Zombie (1943)

5 Classy Horror Films | I Walked With A Zombie Poster | Gamerwife.com Producer Val Lewton is often credited with, if not creating then certainly mastering, the “psychological horror film.” Working with small crews and smaller budgets he used clever writing and fantastic directors to lift up the rather schlocky premises (often just a title) studio RKO saddled him with. This one stands out for the inclusion of actual voodoo rituals in what amounts to a fantastic tropical retelling of Jane Eyre.

See also: Cat People (1942), The Seventh Victim (1943)

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

5 Classy Horror Films | Rosemary's Baby Poster | Gamerwife.com Okay, so Polanski’s kind of a creep, but man does he know how to make creepy movies. This one’s definitely more on the psychological side of horror, but with Satanic cults thrown in just to keep you guessing. I dare you not to start feeling paranoid after watching this movie.

See also: The Omen (1976)

Black Sunday (1960)

5 Classy Horror Films | Black Sunday Poster | Gamerwife.com This is probably the goriest out of all the movies on this list, but it’s all in black and white, which definitely makes things classier. Said to be a favourite of director Tim Burton, the film features amazing cinematography, oodles of atmosphere and Barbara Steele’s cheekbones.

See also: Castle of Blood (1964), anything my Hammer Studios

The Haunting (1963)

5 Classy Horror Films | The Haunting Poster | Gamerwife.com Not the first film based on The Haunting of Hill House and far from the last, this one stands out for sheer classiness. It is also the template by a which all haunted house movies should be judged. Nothing is ever shown, and you’ll leave the film wondering what was real and what was imagined.

See also: The Innocents (1961), The House on Haunted Hill (1959)

What Are Your Favourite Vintage Horror Films?

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28 Comments

  • Reply
    B
    October 14, 2014 at 10:49 am

    I enjoy Night of the Living Dead!

    • Reply
      Mariko
      October 15, 2014 at 12:25 pm

      Ooh, that’s a good one. It’s a little on the gory side, which is why I didn’t include it, but it’s also very near and dear to my heart.

  • Reply
    Hekabe
    October 14, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    I love the first Dracula with Bela Lugosi. It’s quite interesting where our modern vampire movies come from 🙂

    • Reply
      Mariko
      October 15, 2014 at 12:26 pm

      Oooooh Belllla…. LOVE the original Dracula… Have you seen the Spanish language version they shot at the same time? Apparently it’s even better (although I find that hard to believe).

  • Reply
    Kerry
    October 14, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    If you like Hammer films and atmosphere rather than gore, I highly recommend “The Woman in Black.” It was a fine return to high gothic form and is truly creepy.

    • Reply
      Mariko
      October 15, 2014 at 12:27 pm

      Ooh, I’d been hesitating with that one on Netflix, but if you say it brings the gothic creepiness then I’ll have to check it out! Thanks for the recommendation.

      • Reply
        Kerry
        October 15, 2014 at 1:01 pm

        It is So. Gothic. And, it is super creepy. It’s got a very classic horror vibe.

        • Reply
          Mariko
          October 15, 2014 at 1:12 pm

          Awesome! Will definitely check it out. Maybe this weekend.

  • Reply
    kaycreate
    October 14, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    I love Rosemary’s Baby. I definitely find psychological things way more scary than monsters and the like, and this movie delivers that! I’ll have to check out The Haunting. I love the don’t reveal anything tactic – it always makes things so much spookier and thought provoking!

    • Reply
      Mariko
      October 15, 2014 at 12:29 pm

      Yeah, I made sure everything on the list had more of a psychological edge to it. And definitely check out The Haunting, terrifically underrated and the remake is absolute drivel.

  • Reply
    Melissa
    October 14, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    Rosemary’s Baby stills creeps me out. The idea that everyone around you has sinister motives gives me the chills but I kind of love it

    • Reply
      Mariko
      October 15, 2014 at 12:33 pm

      Yeah, say what you will about Polansky, but man knows from paranoia. Brrr…

  • Reply
    Jenn
    October 14, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    The 1931 Dracula will always have a very special place in my heart. I’m also a sucker for zombie movies, so Dawn of the Dead and Zombi 2 are among my favorite horror films. A zombie fights a shark in the latter movie.

    I’ve never seen (or even heard of) Black Sunday, so I’ll have to watch that sometime soon.

    • Reply
      Mariko
      October 15, 2014 at 12:34 pm

      OOh! You are in for such a treat! Wonderful lost gem with oodles of atmosphere. And yeah, I also love Romero and those crumby Italian zombie movies. I even got to see Zombi 2 on the big screen in Vancouver.

  • Reply
    Sailor July xo
    October 14, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    I can’t wait to watch Frankenstein! It’s been on my to watch list for a while. Same with Rosemary’s Baby!!!

    • Reply
      Mariko
      October 15, 2014 at 12:36 pm

      You’re so lucky you get to see them for the first time! And Frankenstein is really short, like barely an hour I think. I took my hubs to see it for the first time last year in a double bill with a restored Dracula and he loved it. And see Bride of Frankenstein too. Very different movie, but still totally worth it.

  • Reply
    Fiona
    October 15, 2014 at 7:52 am

    Oh my gosh I haven’t seen any of them! I’m the worst when it comes to not having seen classical movies, need to sit down and have a big movie marathon!

    • Reply
      Mariko
      October 15, 2014 at 12:37 pm

      I made a point of including some pretty obscure movies in my list, so don’t feel too bad. I only saw Rosemary’s Baby for the first time a couple of years ago.

  • Reply
    Jane Y.
    October 15, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    i haven’t seen any of these! what?! perhaps yangkyu and i will do a marathon or something 🙂

    • Reply
      Mariko
      October 15, 2014 at 12:43 pm

      To be fair, a lot of them are pretty obscure, but do yourself a favour and at least watch the classic Universal horror movies. They’re so good and groundbreaking and everyone is going to forget them and… /end rant

  • Reply
    Damaris / The cat, you and us
    October 15, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    Aw! I walked with a zombie! We went to see it in a special screening and was so much fun, also gave us lots of silly puns since the zombie was called carrefour (a famous supermarket chain here) 😉 I’m not that very much into modern horror movies (more into thriller, sci-fi and so on) but I appreciate a lot the classics, like Rosemary’s baby, Bride of Frankenstein or Psycho.

    • Reply
      Mariko
      October 15, 2014 at 1:11 pm

      I’ve never seen a Val Lewton film on the big screen (yet, anyways). I also love that the main character is French-Canadian. And definitely love the classics. Gotta remind people where their fav movies came from!

  • Reply
    margotmeanie
    October 15, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    I love the selection!! I too am a bit of a Frankenstein freak!

    Surprisingly, I’ve never seen Rosemary’s Baby!! Even though I have a lended copy sitting on my bookshelf right meow, that I’ve had for a few year! This Halloween I shall remedy that!

    • Reply
      Mariko
      October 15, 2014 at 3:07 pm

      Do it! It is so good and soooo spooky.

  • Reply
    Nagareboshi
    October 16, 2014 at 4:34 am

    Out of the five, I have only seen Rosemary’s Baby. It was a good movie and I liked it. I like vintage horror movies, because although they are not really scary (to our present standards), the stories are usually solid. Good old Vincent Price movies, I think I have seen mostly all of those.

    • Reply
      Mariko
      October 21, 2014 at 5:37 pm

      I am woefully behind on my Vincent Price movies, even though I absolutely adore him as an actor.

  • Reply
    nerdburger
    October 16, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    So many fantastic films. I have never seen I walked with a Zombie so I might watch it tonight. Rosemary’s baby is super creepy and fantastic.

    • Reply
      Mariko
      October 21, 2014 at 5:44 pm

      I Walked With a Zombie is so great and classy. Also check out Cat People by the same producer. Super atmospheric and creepy.

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