If you're anything like me, then you absolutely hate horror movies. I cannot deal with all the blood, gore, and horrific images of mutilated bodies in today's horror films. That's why whenever I want to feel spooky around Halloween, I pop in an old Hollywood horror film. While these films aren't considered scary by today's standards, they set the tone for all the genre itself and a lot of prominent horror directors often get their inspiration from the horror films of the past.
Now, get turn out the lights, get cozy, and get ready to get spooky with these five films.
1. "Black Sunday" (1960)
"Black Sunday" (also known as "The Mask of Satan" outside of the US and "La Maschera Del Demonio" in Italy) was Italian director Mario Bava's directorial debut after making several films without credit. "Black Sunday" tells the story of a vengeful vampire witch who comes back to life after 200 years to enact her vengeance on the descendants of those who killed her. The film is highly stylized and strikingly beautiful in it's sets and cinematography. The atmosphere of the film is oppressive and full of dread, making it the perfect movie for Halloween.
2. "The Innocents" (1961)
Possessed Children? check. An old creepy house? check. Ghosts? double check. 1961's "The Innocents" is based on a short story by Henry James called "The Turn of the Screw." The film tells the story of a Victorian governess who is employed by a gentleman to watch over his niece and nephew in their old, secluded mansion. Soon, the governess learns that the house is haunted by the spirits of two of its past servants, who now possess the bodies of the innocents. This film is truly chilling, making even the most decorated horror fan tremble with fright.
3. "The Uninvited" (1944)
While the horror genre was still in it's infancy in the 1940s, it still was able to deliver some chilling films. "The Uninvited" is the quintessential haunted house movie because of it's groundbreaking special effects and captivating tale. The film is about siblings who buy a home on the Cornish cost, skeptical of it's cheap price. They soon learn that the house is a place of horrors and that it's past resident is seeking her vengeance. The special effects for the ghost are truly amazing and up the creep factor of this film, making it on par with most contemporary horror films.
4. "Cat People" (1942)
Although the title is a bit ridiculous, "Cat People" still manages to conjure up some genuine scares. The film is about a young woman who is a descendant of the cat people: humans who possess the ability to turn into panthers. With jump scares an oppressive atmosphere, and highly stylized cinematography "Cat People" has managed to work itself into the canon of great horror films. If you want a little more gore and nudity, I suggest watching the 1982 remake (which isn't as a good).
5. "House of Wax" (1953)
No, not the 2005 film starring Paris Hilton. This version stars Vincent Price as a wax sculptor who is left horribly disfigured by his business partner after having set his wax museum ablaze. He then opens a second wax museum, only this one is far more horrific and grotesque: even some of the wax figures look real. This film was one of the first horror movies to ever use 3-D technology, making the view experience even more chilling for movie-goers in 1953.