25 Spooktacular 1950s Horror Films

25 Spooktacular 1950s Horror Films

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.

And don’t forget to fill out the fun with some representative retro desserts and cocktails!

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! 

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.”
  1. 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.
  1. 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.”
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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?

Make sure you check out “10 Legendary Film Actresses of the 1950s” and our piece on 30 great movies from the ’50s, featuring three classics from each year of the decade!


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Leonard Riforgiato is a successful furniture manufacturing entrepreneur, a Miami resident, and co-owner of legacy furniture company Heywood-Wakefield.

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