I’m going to let all of you in on a little secret about me that only Mr. MVP knows, I despise being scared, but I adore horror movies. I absolutely delight in their pure ghoulish, blanket over my head, adrenaline producing hideousness. Some of the best terrifying movies of all are the classics. Now, before some of you groan with movie disdain, open up your Netflix application of choice and give these super creepy films an opportunity to haunt you.
House on Haunted Hill is my all time favorite scary movie. Shot in 1959 it stars Vincent Price who plays a millionaire who offers ten thousand dollars each to five people who agree to be locked in a large, spooky, rented house overnight. Not only do I love this movie because of the obvious, Vincent Price, but I love the fabulous story. This movie has everything, take charge men, helpless women, shrieking screams, fantastical special effects and an ending that will make you fall in love with Vincent Price.
The Invisible Man was released in 1933 and stars Claude Rains as a scientist who finds a way of becoming invisible, but in doing so he becomes murderously insane. Murderously insane for 1933 that is. For the early 30’s this scary movie was certainly considered shock theater, but by today’s standards it’s tame in comparison. The Invisible Man was full of clever lighting, trick effects and fun acting to make a human disappear. The novel by the same name was written by H. G. Wells.
In 1935 Boris Karloff stared in The Bride of Frankenstein, which is a movie that, quite frankly, I avoided watching for many years until now. I’m such a twit. The basic plot is Mary Shelley reveals the main characters of her novel survived: Dr. Frankenstein (goaded by an even madder scientist) builds his monster a mate. The catch is, this scary movie, isn’t just a scary movie directed by James Whale, it’s also a dramatic, romantic, comedy. By the end of The Bride of Frankenstein you will be completely enamored with the entire cast of characters. The Monster turned out to be my favorite player.
The Wolf Man is about a practical man, Claude Rains, who returns to his homeland and is attacked by a creature of folklore, and infected with a horrific disease that his disciplined mind tells him cannot possibly exist. This movie, I’m positive, would be unquestionably creepy on the big screen in 1941. Besides the darker, ahem, hairier scenes, there is also wonderful father and son bonding and a love story working itself out. There is no true gore or visual violence, but the idea of a dark evil beast that hides deep in all of us, is undeniably unnerving.
Like all good horror movies from the 1930s The Mummy has a romantic understory. Specifically, a living mummy, Boris Karloff, stalks the beautiful woman he believes is the reincarnation of his lover. I’d like to point out that there is approximately fifteen seconds of mummy in this movie, so everyday bandaged wrapped mummy devotees will be sorely disappointed, but there are lovely costumes, set designs, and plot twists. The Mummy was certainly not alarmingly scary, but director Karl Freund obviously knows his way around a haunted movie set.
When you’re trying to decide what to add to your Netflix queue tonight try one of these spine-chilling movies from the past because who knows, you might discover that you actually love old movies as much as I do.
**If you absolutely, positively, 100% cannot watch an old movie my recommendation is The Frighteners. This is a fun, semi-scary movie from 1996 staring Michael J. Fox. The special effects just barely hold up and the plot is perfection. Plus, Michael J. Fox.