[31 Days of Halloween] Day 14: Best Pre-1960's Horror Film



I’ve got a lot of love for Frankenstein (1931). It will always be one of my favorites. Ever since I saw the film for the first time when I was a kid, I’ve always had a soft spot for the Monster. - Megan Casady


Cat People, (pretty much a master class on how to effectively make a low budget horror movie), was produced by prolific and iconic RKO horror movie producer Val Lewton and helmed by now-acclaimed director Jacques Tourneur, whose visual style of playing with light and shadow elevated what was supposed to be B-movie, low budget horror film to something far more. Cat People, the tale of a lovely young woman who may turn into a deadly black panther when angered or aroused, is scary for what it does not show, allowing your imagination to fill in the corners, and that practice, along with the movies’ scares and style, influenced films from Jaws to It Follows. It’s also not the first film on my 31 Days list that explores the “danger” of female sexuality. - Mary Morris


Charles Laughton created one film. It’s one film that is absolutely terrifying. That film is Night of the Hunter. Robert Mitchum’s Rev. Harry Powell is someone you never want to come in contact with. This movie is absolutely worth the watch. – Rachael Hauschild


It is incredibly hard to not pick The House on Haunted Hill but because I am a sucker for Sherlock Holmes, because the cast is incredible, and because it has always been one of my favorite Holmes mysteries, I gotta go with The Hound of the Baskervilles and yes, there is a great version from 1959 with the incredible Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, but I’m talking the 1939 version staring – in my opinion the most iconic Sherlock Holmes – Basil Rathbone. – Mike Vlastnik


With elements of mystery, suspense, thriller, and horror, 1955’s Diabolique is what I consider a masterclass in filmmaking. A man is murdered by his wife and his mistress, and they think they’ve gotten away with it until his body mysteriously disappears. I love the way this movie is able to mesmerize and confuse the viewer with each new twisting of the plot – it keeps you guessing until literally the very end. Visually, Diabolique is a feast of stunning black and white photography, and the three main principles expertly carry the movie to its shocking conclusion. – Michele Eggen


Sneaking in just before the sixties started, Vincent Price and William Castle fired on all cylinders at the height of their powers to help create one of the most iconic horror films of all time. Everything about House on Haunted Hill is what I love about horror. It’s a meta commentary on the genre up until that point, it’s wickedly smart, charming and funny while maintaining a creepy atmosphere throughout. It’s one of my favorite films to put on at anytime. - Ryan Larson