The Phantom of the Opera (1925 film)

The Phantom of the OperaPhantom of the Opera1925 film adaptation
With such a strong technical and visual grounding it would have been difficult for Chaney to totally muck things up, and his performance is indeed integral, elevating an already solid horror drama into the realms of legendary cinema." Time Out London gave the film a mostly positive review, criticizing the film's "hobbling exposition", but praised Chaney's performance as being the best version of the title character, as well as the film's climax. TV Guide gave the film 4/5 stars, stating, "One of the most famous horror movies of all time, The Phantom of the Opera still manages to frighten after more than 60 years."

The Cat and the Canary (1927 film)

The Cat and the Canary19271927 film
Dark Romance: Sexuality in the Horror Film. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 1997. ISBN: 0-7864-0474-4. MacCaffrey, Donald W., and Christopher P. Jacobs. Guide to the Silent Years of American Cinema. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1999. ISBN: 0-313-30345-2. Prawer, S. S. Caligari's Children: The Film as Tale of Terror. New York: Da Capo Press, 1989. ISBN: 0-306-80347-X. Worland, Rick. The Horror Film: A Brief Introduction. Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishing, 2007. ISBN: 1-4051-3902-1.

Waxworks (film)

WaxworksDas WachsfigurenkabinettWaxworks'' (film)
Waxworks (Das Wachsfigurenkabinett) is a 1924 German silent fantasy-horror film directed by Paul Leni. The film is about a writer (William Dieterle) who accepts a job from a waxworks proprietor to write a series of stories about the exhibits of Caliph of Baghdad (Emil Jannings), Ivan the Terrible (Conrad Veidt) and Jack the Ripper (Werner Krauss) in order to boost business. Although Waxworks is often credited as a horror film, it is an anthology film that goes through several genres including a fantasy adventure, a historical film, and a horror film through its various episodes.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923 film)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame1923 filmHunchback of Notre Dame
The film elevated Chaney, already a well-known character actor, to full star status in Hollywood, and also helped set a standard for many later horror films, including Chaney's The Phantom of the Opera in 1925. In 1951, the film entered the public domain in the United States because the claimants did not renew its copyright registration in the 28th year after publication. The story is set in Paris in 1482. Quasimodo is a deaf, half-blind, hunchbacked bell-ringer of the famous Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. His master is a man named Jehan, the evil brother of Notre Dame's saintly archdeacon Dom Claude.

The Golem (1915 film)

The GolemDer GolemThe Golem'' (1915 film)
Der Golem (Der Golem, shown in the US as The Monster of Fate) is a 1915 German silent horror partially lost film, written and directed by Paul Wegener and Henrik Galeen. It was inspired by an ancient Jewish legend, the most prevalent version of the myth involving 16th century Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel who created the Golem to protect his people from anti-Semites. Wegener claimed the film was based on Gustav Meyrink's 1915 novel The Golem, but Troy Howarth states "it is more likely that (the screenwriters) simply drew upon European folklore".

The House of the Devil (1896 film)

Le Manoir du diableThe Haunted CastleThe House of the Devil
However, because of its themes and characters, the film has been considered to technically be the first horror film. Such a classification can also be attributed to the film's depiction of a human transforming into a bat, a plot element which has led some observers to label the work the first vampire film. The film is also innovative in length; its running time of over three minutes was ambitious for its era. A single remake was produced one year later under the title "Le Château hanté" (The Haunted Castle), which is often confused with this film. The film opens with a large bat flying into a medieval castle. The bat circles the room, before suddenly changing into the Devil.

The Last Performance

The Last Performance is a 1927 American horror film directed by Paul Fejos and starring Conrad Veidt and Mary Philbin. It was the last American silent film featuring Veidt before he returned to Germany. The film's working title was Erik the Great. Two versions were made - a silent version and Movietone version complete with music, talking sequences, and sound effects (the talking sequences were confined only to the last reel). Historian Troy Howarth states "Originally planned as part of Universal's "Super Jewel" series, it was shot in 1927 and got a brief release that same year in New York City. It went into general release in 1929, just as sound films were beginning to catch on."

Boris Karloff

KarloffSara KarloffB. Karloff
Karloff was reunited with Whale at Universal for The Old Dark House (1932), a horror movie based on the novel Benighted by J.B. Priestley. He was loaned to MGM to play the title role in The Mask of Fu Manchu (also 1932), for which he gained top billing. Back at Universal, he was cast as Imhotep who is revived in The Mummy (1932). It was as successful at the box-office as the other two films and Karloff was now established as a star of horror films. Karloff returned to England to star in The Ghoul (1933), then made a non-horror film for John Ford, The Lost Patrol (1934), where his performance was highly acclaimed.

The Terror (1928 film)

The TerrorThe Terror'' (1928 film)1928
The Terror is a 1928 early American, pre-Code, horror film written by Harvey Gates and directed by Roy Del Ruth, based on the play of the same name by Edgar Wallace. It was the second "all-talking" motion picture released by Warner Bros. (The first was Lights of New York). The film was also the first all-talking horror film, made using the Vitaphone sound-on-disc system. "The Terror", a killer whose identity is unknown, occupies an English country house that has been converted into an inn. Guests, including the spiritualist Mrs. Elvery and detective Ferdinand Fane, are frightened by strange noises and mysterious organ music.

The Wolf Man (1941 film)

The Wolf ManThe WolfmanWolf Man
Some latter-day critics prefer Henry Hull's earlier werewolf to Chaney's, which was described in Carlos Clarens's book An Illustrated History of the Horror FIlm as "... looking like a hirsute Cossack." The Wolf Man is one of three top-tier Universal Studios monsters without a direct literary source. The others are The Mummy and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. In the 1970s, novelizations of the original films were issued as paperback originals as part of a series written by "Carl Dreadstone," a pseudonym for British horror writer Ramsey Campbell.

Joan Crawford

CrawfordLucille LeSueuractress of the same name
Crawford continued to act in film and television throughout the 1950s and 1960s; she achieved box office success with the highly successful horror film Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), in which she starred alongside her long-time rival Bette Davis. In 1955, Crawford became involved with the Pepsi-Cola Company through her marriage to company Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Alfred Steele. In 1970, she retired from the screen, and following a public appearance in 1974 withdrew from public life, becoming increasingly reclusive until her death in 1977. Crawford married four times. Her first three marriages ended in divorce; the last ended with the death of husband Alfred Steele.

The Mummy (1932 film)

The Mummy1932Mummy
The site's consensus states: "Relying more on mood and atmosphere than the thrills typical of modern horror fare, Universal's The Mummy sets a masterful template for mummy-themed films to follow." Unlike other Universal Monsters films, The Mummy had no official sequels, but rather was reimagined in The Mummy's Hand (1940) and its sequels, The Mummy's Tomb (1942), The Mummy's Ghost (1944), The Mummy's Curse (1944), and the studios' comedy-horror crossover movie Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955). These films focus on the titular character named Kharis (Klaris in the Abbott and Costello film).

The Man Who Laughs (1928 film)

The Man Who Laughs1928 film1928 silent adaptation
The film is known for the grim carnival freak-like grin on the character Gwynplaine's face, which often leads it to be classified as a horror film. Film critic Roger Ebert stated, "The Man Who Laughs is a melodrama, at times even a swashbuckler, but so steeped in Expressionist gloom that it plays like a horror film." The Man Who Laughs is a Romantic melodrama, similar to films such as The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923). The film was one of the early Universal Pictures productions that made the transition from silent films to sound films, using the Movietone sound system introduced by William Fox.

Bela Lugosi

Béla LugosiLugosiB. Lugosi
Lugosi addressed his plea to be cast in non-horror roles directly to casting directors through his listing in the 1937 Players Directory, published by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, in which he (or his agent) calls the idea that he is only fit for horror films "an error." A number of factors began to work against Lugosi's career in the mid-1930s. Universal changed management in 1936, and because of a British ban on horror films, dropped them from their production schedule; Lugosi found himself consigned to Universal's non-horror B-film unit, at times in small roles where he was obviously used for "name value" only.

The Unknown (1927 film)

The Unknown1927The Unknown'' (1927 film)
The Unknown is a 1927 American silent horror film directed by Tod Browning and starring Lon Chaney as carnival knife thrower Alonzo the Armless and Joan Crawford as the scantily clad carnival girl he hopes to marry. Chaney did collaborative scenes with real-life armless double Paul Desmuke (sometimes credited as Peter Dismuki), whose legs and feet were used to manipulate objects such as knives and cigarettes in frame with Chaney's upper body and face. Alonzo the Armless is a circus freak who uses his feet to toss knives and fire a rifle at his partner, Nanon. However, he is an impostor and fugitive.

The Magician (1926 film)

The Magician1926film of the same name
However, it has been pointed out that "along with the Tod Browning-Lon Chaney collaborations, The Magician was one of the few serious American horror movies in a time of spoofs." Paul Wegener's Magician co-workers found him difficult to work with, who had his own make-up artist "whom he screamed at on the slightest provocation. Michael Powell was not impressed with Wegener's acting, saying his "one expression to indicate magical powers was to open his huge eyes even wider, until he looked about as frightened as a bullfrog."

Robert Wiene

Robert Wiene’sWiene
His most memorable feature films are the horror film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) and Raskolnikow (1923), an adaptation of Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, both of which had a deep influence on the German cinema of that time. Four months after the Nazis took power, Wiene's latest film, Taifun, was banned on May 3, 1933. A Hungarian film company had been inviting German directors to come to Budapest to make films in simultaneous German/Hungarian versions, and given his uncertain career prospects under the new German regime Wiene took up that offer in September to direct "One Night in Venice" (1934).

Dracula (1931 English-language film)

Dracula1931 filmfilm
He only directed a few more, the next one being the notorious Freaks, a horror movie with Baclanova and a cast of actual carnival freaks that was yanked from distribution immediately. Browning directed his last film in 1939. Owing to the costs of adding an original musical score to a film's soundtrack, no score had ever been composed specifically for the film. The music heard during the opening credits, an excerpt from Act II of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, was re-used in 1932 for another Universal horror film, The Mummy. During the theatre scene where Dracula meets Dr.

James Whale

He is best remembered for several horror films: Frankenstein (1931), The Old Dark House (1932), The Invisible Man (1933) and Bride of Frankenstein (1935), all considered classics. Whale also directed films in other genres, including the 1936 film version of the musical Show Boat. He became increasingly disenchanted with his association with horror, and many of his non-horror films have fallen into obscurity. Whale was born into a large family in Dudley, Worcestershire. He discovered his artistic talent early on and studied art. With the outbreak of World War I he enlisted in the British Army and became an officer.

Frankenstein (1931 film)

FrankensteinBaron Frankenstein1931 film
Frankenstein is a 1931 American pre-Code science-fiction horror film from Universal Pictures. It is about a scientist and his assistant who dig up corpses to build a man animated by electricity. The project goes awry when Frankenstein's assistant accidentally gives the creature an abnormal, murderer's brain. The film was directed by James Whale, and adapted from the play by Peggy Webling, which in turn was based on Mary Shelley's 1818 novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. The created "monster" is portrayed by Boris Karloff in the film. A hit with both audiences and critics, the film was followed by multiple sequels and has become one of the most famous horror films in history.


HaxanWitchcraft Through The Agesfilm
The film is a Swedish-Danish documentary-style silent horror film written and directed by Benjamin Christensen. Based partly on Christensen's study of the Malleus Maleficarum, a 15th-century German guide for inquisitors, Häxan is a study of how superstition and the misunderstanding of diseases and mental illness could lead to the hysteria of the witch-hunts. The film was made as a documentary but contains dramatised sequences that are comparable to horror films. With Christensen's meticulous recreation of medieval scenes and the lengthy production period, the film was the most expensive Scandinavian silent film ever made, costing nearly two million Swedish kronor.

White Zombie (film)

White Zombiethose boys in the Caribbean doing the wetwork for [Bela] LugosiWhite Zombie'' (film)
List of horror films of the 1930s.

Vampire films

Vampire filmvampirevampire movie
Dracula has over 170 film representations to date, making him the most frequently portrayed character in horror films; also he has the highest number of film appearances overall, surpassed only by Sherlock Holmes. One of the first television series with a vampire as a main character was the 1964 comedy series The Munsters. Lily Munster and Grandpa (also known as Vladimir Dracula, Count of Transylvania) are vampires. The Munsters was followed in 1966 by the Gothic soap opera Dark Shadows, in which the vampire Barnabas Collins became a main character. In 1985 The Little Vampire was a television series made for children.

Bride of Frankenstein

The Bride of Frankenstein1935 filmEunice
The Monster Show: A Cultural History of Horror. Penguin Books. ISBN: 0-14-024002-0. Vieira, Mark A. (2003). Hollywood Horror: From Gothic to Cosmic. New York, Harry N. Abrams. ISBN: 0-8109-4535-5. Young, Elizabeth. "Here Comes The Bride". Collected in Gelder, Ken (ed.) (2000). The Horror Reader. Routledge. ISBN: 0-415-21356-8.

Drácula (film)

DráculaDracula1931 film
Drácula is a 1931 American Spanish-language Pre-Code horror film directed by George Melford. It is an adaptation of the 1897 novel by Bram Stoker and the 1924 stage play. It was filmed at night on the same sets that were being used during the day for the 1931 English-language film of the same title. In the early days of sound film, it was common for Hollywood studios to produce foreign-language versions of their films (usually in Spanish, but also in French, Italian and German) using the same sets and costumes. Of the cast, only Carlos Villarías (playing Dracula) was permitted to see rushes of the English-language film, and he was encouraged to imitate Bela Lugosi's performance.