With Halloween soon upon us, it’s time for another one of our roundups, this time of 25 iconic and bone-chilling horror movies from the ’50s. If you’re looking for festive, frightening ways to celebrate All Hallows’ Eve mid-century style, any of these classic creepy films will do the trick-or-treat.
Fun ’50s Horror Films
Admittedly, the special effects may leave a little to be desired by today’s standards, but these 25 movies deliver great thrills and chills nonetheless!
- The Thing from Another World – 1951; directed by Christian Nyby and Howard Hawks; starring Kenneth Tobey, Margaret Sheridan, and James Arness. If fending off a killer alien lifeform is your idea of a good Halloween time, check this one out.
- The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms – 1953; directed by Eugène Lourié; starring Paul Hubschmid, Paula Raymond, and Cecil Kellaway. New York City suffers an attack from an enormous sea monster awoken by atomic testing.
- House of Wax – 1953; directed by André De Toth; starring Vincent Price, Frank Lovejoy, and Phyllis Kirk. What’s creepier than a wax museum? A wax museum owner seeking murderous revenge after his establishment is burned down while he’s trapped inside.
- It Came from Outer Space – 1953; directed by Jack Arnold; starring Richard Carlson, Barbara Rush, and Charles Drake. This sci-fi horror classic based on a Ray Bradbury story treatment traces the strange things happening after a large object crashes to Earth.
- Creature from the Black Lagoon – 1954; directed by Jack Arnold; starring Richard Carlson, Julie Adams, and Richard Denning. This iconic horror film tells the story of a bizarre prehistoric beast lurking in the depths of the Amazon jungle.
- Godzilla (Gojira) – 1954; directed by Ishirô Honda; starring Takashi Shimura, Akihiko Hirata, and Akira Takarada. The famous tale of a massive dinosaur-like monster, created by American nuclear testing, that lays waste to Tokyo.
- Them! – 1954; directed by Gordon Douglas; starring James Whitmore, Edmund Gwenn, and Joan Weldon. At a time when atomic testing and radioactive disasters were on everyone’s mind, this movie depicts monstrous, man-eating ants mutated by atomic testing in New Mexico.
- Tarantula – 1955; directed by Jack Arnold; starring John Agar, Mara Corday, and Leo G. Carroll. Sit back and enjoy the havoc wreaked by a monster-sized spider that escapes from a desert laboratory where they conduct experiments in turning things into giants.
- The Bad Seed – 1956; directed by Mervyn LeRoy; starring Nancy Kelly, Patty McCormack, and Henry Jones. This is a classic creepy thriller featuring an 8-year-old girl suspected of being a homicidal maniac.
- The Black Sleep – 1956; directed by Reginald Le Borg; starring Basil Rathbone, Akim Tamiroff, and Lon Chaney Jr. What’s a Halloween movie marathon without a mad scientist? This one kidnaps people and dissects their brains to cure his wife’s cancer.
- Invasion of the Body Snatchers – 1956; directed by Don Siegel; starring Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter, and Larry Gates. One of the most famous sci-fi horror films of all time, it recounts the story of a community of people being replaced by aliens.
- The Abominable Snowman – 1957; directed by Val Guest; starring Forrest Tucker, Peter Cushing, and Maureen Connell. Be careful what you look for. Especially if you head off to the Himalaya to search for the Yeti.
- The Curse of Frankenstein – 1957; directed by Terence Fisher; starring Peter Cushing, Hazel Court, and Robert Urquhart. An early film version of the classic tale of the monster assembled from corpses and brought to life by Dr. Frankenstein.
- I Was a Teenage Frankenstein – 1957; directed by Herbert L. Strock; starring Whit Bissell, Phyllis Coates, and Robert Burton. A twist on the Frankenstein story, this one features a teenage accident victim reanimated and transformed into a creature bent on killing.
- Attack of the 50 Foot Woman – 1958; directed by Nathan Juran; starring Allison Hayes, William Hudson, and Yvette Vickers. Hell hath no fury like a 50-foot woman scorned.
- The Blob – 1958; directed by Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr. and Russell S. Doughten Jr.; starring Steve McQueen, Aneta Corsaut, and Earl Rowe. Another absolute classic about a blob-like alien lifeform that consumes everything in its path and just keeps on growing.
- The Fly – 1958; directed by Kurt Neumann; starring David Hedison, Patricia Owens, and Vincent Price. Teleportation devices back in the late 1950s weren’t too reliable a technology, and this movie shows one of the problems they were prone to encountering.
- Horror of Dracula – 1958; directed by Terence Fisher; starring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, and Michael Gough. It’s just not Halloween without a vampire movie, and this—one of the first color movies about Dracula—is an excellent option.
- I Bury the Living – 1958; directed by Albert Band; starring Richard Boone, Theodore Bikel, and Peggy Maurer. A cemetery director discovers the useful power of killing people by changing the status of their grave plots from “empty” to “occupied.”
- I Married a Monster from Outer Space – 1958; directed by Gene Fowler Jr.; starring Tom Tryon, Gloria Talbott, and Peter Baldwin. A woman’s fiance is abducted and replaced by an alien on the night before her wedding, and she marries the otherworldy creature.
- The Bat – 1959; directed by Crane Wilbur; starring Vincent Price, Agnes Moorehead, and Gavin Gordon. This is the story of a mansion full of people being hunted by a crazy killer known simply—and spookily—as “The Bat.”
- House on Haunted Hill – 1959; directed by William Castle; starring Vincent Price, Carol Ohmart, and Richard Long. Yet another one featuring horror legend Vincent Price, a rich man offers five people $10,000 to stay overnight in a haunted mansion with him and his wife.
- The Mummy – 1959; directed by Terence Fisher; starring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, and Yvonne Furneaux. A cautionary tale of why you shouldn’t go around opening the tombs of ancient Egyptian royalty.
- The Tingler – 1959; directed by William Castle; starring Vincent Price, Judith Evelyn, and Darryl Hickman. One last Vincent Price flick, this one about a pathologist who manages to bring to life the creature responsible for fear in humans.
- The Wasp Woman – 1959; directed by Roger Corman and Jack Hill; starring Susan Cabot, Anthony Eisley, and Barboura Morris. A cosmetics maven invents a youth formula made from a substance taken from queen wasps and experiences some unintended side effects.
Fifties Film Fan?
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