Lot’s of people wondering what to watch if they want to get into horror but are unsure of which movies they would watch etc..

This list is for people who aren’t opposed to watching black/white movies and older movies too.

This is by no means a have to list or anything just a list I think that might benefit some people who want to watch a backlog of the history of horror!

Here it is below:





Nice and easy….let’s start with vampires.

  1. Nosferatu (1922) – You always remember the first time
  2. Dracula (1931) – Bela Lugosi defined Dracula as we know him today
  3. Horror of Dracula (1958) – Any Hammer film will do, but this is a good one with which to start
  4. Salem’s Lot (1979) – TV but ooooh scary
  5. Fright Night (1985) – This is a great way to learn the rules plus it’s fun
  6. Love at First Bite (1979) – Cause it’s too much fun to miss

Moving on to Werewolves.

  1. An American Werewolf in London (1981) – This is how to film a transformation
  2. The Howling (1981) – This was a good year for lycanthrope lovers. The Howling rocks
  3. Dog Soldiers (2004) – After years of hellish films, this came along to make it all better
  4. Silver Bullet (1985) – The Haimster vs the Werewolf…what more could you want?
  5. The Wolf Man (1933) – In the beginning, God made the hairy man. And it was good

*Now you can decide whether you prefer bipedal or four-legged werewolves. Personally I go for the two-leggers every time. I know London is the definitive werewolf flick, but the uprights are just plain scarier to me.

Look out. Here come the zombies.

  1. Night of the Living Dead (1968) – Uncle George’s first movie. Isn’t it cute?
  2. Dawn of the Dead (1978) – The most epic zombie film ever made. Many fans favor this one
  3. Day of the Dead (1985) – Think of these three as the Star Wars of zombie films
  4. Night of the Living Dead (1990) – This is one time I will allow you to enjoy a remake
  5. Dawn of the Dead (2004) – You can like this one too…just not too much. Then you can decide if you like ‘em fast or slow….slow, slow, slow
  6. Shaun of the Dead (2004) – Beautifully made film that everyone should see, genre fan or not

  7. Re-Animator (1985) – This is how Lovecraft does zombies

Look up. It’s aliens. No, not up the page. Up in the sky. It’s a…nevermind. Here they are.

  1. Alien (1979) – Well what did you expect? It’s the coolest
  2. The Thing (1982) – Carpenter kicked so much butt with this film and the effects are stellar
  3. Spaced Invaders (HAHA NO! Just making sure you are paying attention)
  4. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956 and 1978) – Watch both. Both are good

The Slashers.

  1. Halloween (1978) – Carpenter’s spooky flick that gave us an icon
  2. Friday the 13th Parts 1-3 (1980) – The ones that started it all…for Jason
  3. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) – Leatherface in all his gory glory (but it’s not gory)
  4. Psycho (1960) – Hitchcock did it first. Watch it here.
  5. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) – Who could forget Freddy once he gets his mitts all over ya?

Miscellaneous or movies that should be watched just because:

  1. The Fly (1986) – I encourage you to watch the original with Vincent Price as well, but this one is awesome-er
  2. The Exorcist (1973) – What possessed you to miss this movie? Christ compels you to watch it
  3. Jaws (1975) – I will bite you if you don’t watch this movie. It’s my all-time favorite
  4. Rosemary’s Baby (1968) – Classic tale of paranoia….maybe
  5. The Birds (1963) – See? Hitchcock can make the simplest things scary as Hell

That’s a pretty decent list to get you started. I am not saying these are the only important films out there nor am I saying you shouldn’t watch anything else. Of course you can watch whatever you want, but these are the ones I am certainly glad I didn’t miss early on. They helped me love horror like I do today.

And now for some guidelines…

  • Don’t jump right in with some 70′s grindhouse/splatter/exploitation film. You probably won’t get it and you will consequently hate the genre you are learning about.
  • Do rent or borrow or watch on cable any classics you can get your hands on. Do not be afraid of black and white films. They will not hurt you. But missing some of them may hurt you. Look for anything involving William Castle, Vincent Price, Lon Chaney Jr or Alfred Hitchcock.
  • Don’t watch a remake before you watch the original. See number Number One Rule below
  • Do watch the originals while trying to keep in mind the time period and what was going on with technology as well as politics and pop culture….look out, you just might learn something
  • At least until you are ready…stay away from anything referred to as a re-imagining. You have to crawl before you can run screaming

Above all, have fun and remember that being scared is a natural thing. It’s what keeps us safe from all the real-life boogeymen. Nothing wrong with honing that skill from time to time. If you feel you don’t want to enter into this alone, bring a buddy. The more the merrier. Remember when I mentioned the Number One Rule? Here it is:

“You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know whence you came.”

Respect the classics. They paved the way for all of us.

  1. tpolen says:

    Have to admit I haven’t seen most of the movies before 1970, but all after. Fright Night, Salem’s Lot, and Shaun of the Dead are personal favs.

  2. Katie M. says:


  3. Katie M. says:

    Seriously – I enjoyed reading this because your deep appreciation for the genre is palpable. I particularly like your suggestion to keep the time period in which the film was made in mind. I love imagining myself in 1960, 1973, 1975, 1978 watching Psycho, The Exorcist, Jaws, and Halloween for the very first time in a theater. Talk about a mind fuck!

  4. Love it! And I’m missing at least half of each section, plus the whole werewolf list…I had better get on that.
    I prefer my horror experience to end in redemption, which is big part of why The Exorcist is my favorite horror movie ever. Given what I *have* seen.
    I’d also totally put George Romero’s Martin on the hypothetical intermediate viewer’s vampire list.

  5. rev99729 says:

    I’d definitely add Braindead/Dead Alive in the zombies section. I love Romero and everything he’s done but he seems rather… alone, in your section (save Wright/Gordon).

  6. Yeah, some love for Silver Bullet! It’s all-American hokey but I still think it has something to offer, especially in the subject of loss of innocence when going from a pre-teen to a young adult.

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