For regular viewers of horror movies, older horror flicks may not be very interesting at first glance. After all, movies made since the 1960s didn’t have access to the technology to create all those special effects, CGI animation, and more. However, horror shows during the 1960s were actually some of the most influential in the genre.
During the ’90s, psychological thrillers were the rage. The ’80s was all about slash movies, but the ’60s has some great old classics that every true horror fan should watch. Yes, its pace may be a little slower and not all the horrific details may appear on the screen. In addition, the black and white versions may not be very attractive to modern movie viewers.
However, legendary directors like Alfredo Hitchcock and Michael Powell showed off some must-see masterpieces during the decade of the 1960s. If you’re ever interested in horror movie history, here are some of the best options to get you started:
1. Village of the Damned (1960)
The glowing eyes of the talented kids in this movie remain one of the scariest images in the history of horror flicks. Wolf Rila is also still primarily known as the director of this movie.
The script here is based on the famous science fiction author, John Windham. Overall, it’s a chilling story with witty narration and almost palpable weirdness. Rilla has a minimalist style that adds to the intimidating effect without the need for technological tweaks.
2. Peeping Tom (1960)
This is a colorful psychological thriller with a very controversial subject that garnered a lot of tough reactions from critics. It’s a chilling act, revolving around a filmmaker who portrays the women he kidnapped as he kills them. His neighbor eventually senses something is wrong and watches a home movie.
The visual representation of voyeurism here makes for a really intimidating subject. At the time of its release, Peeping Tom was so panned by critics that Powell’s career was negatively affected. Today, though, it is generally agreed that this movie is a cinematic masterpiece of horror masterpieces. The main character may not be among the 5 most scary horror villains of all time, but he does come close.
3. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Mia Farrow’s performance in this film makes for an effort in itself. In short, “Rosemary’s Baby” is about a pregnant woman who suspects that a demonic cult is planning to kidnap her. Ira Levine wrote the novel (of the same name) on which the film is based. Overall, this film captures several complex horror themes at once, including occultism, paranoia, and betrayal.
There is also the concept of women’s rights, where everything comes together to create the cornerstone of horror cinema. To say the least, the ending is unsettling. The party remains a prime example of a terrifying yet enchanting sequence on film so far.
Besides all the horrific scenes, the movie makes sure to symbolize how Rosemary (and women in general) are unable to control their own bodies. Elders, doctors and her husband decide everything. This makes “Rosemary’s Baby” one of the scariest and socially necessary films of the 1960s, at least. We may be able to note further explorations of feminist concepts in television in the 1960s in general.
4. What happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
This work is usually considered the first and best film in the “surprising” genre. It shows a bitter starlet aging. Her sister, who is now more famous than her, is locked up in her mansion. The sister is in a wheelchair and in a somewhat helpless position.
In fact, the dynamic between the two main actresses in this movie has an interesting storyline. These are the legendary superstars Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. Not only were the characters hostile to each other, the actresses themselves also developed an antagonistic relationship. Of course, this brought an unprecedented advantage to an acting that still addresses audiences today.
5. The Bird (1963)
It has now emerged that actress Tippi Hedren has been subjected to some very cruel practices on the set of this movie. This is not something that should be ignored or justified. At the same time, one must recognize her unforgettable performance as the cry queen in “The Bird”. The screaming in the last scene is at least real, as the mechanical birds are replaced by real ones without telling the actress.
While the beginning of this movie is almost the same as the beginning of the B movie; Birds start attacking humans without any reasonable explanation. As we progress, we can see the cinematic masterpiece that uses editing techniques to create nail-biting suspense.
6- Black Saturday (1963)
The structure of this film actually provided the inspiration and basic work for the initial concept of Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. Overall, this is probably among the most popular anthology films in the horror genre.
It’s true that horror anthologies don’t usually make good movies. However, Black Saturday is an exception. Every short film is as engaging and scary as horror fans can wish for. Interestingly enough, the name of this movie was also the basis for the 1970s metal band Black Sabbath.
7. Psycho (1960)
Psycho is a hugely popular movie, with many citing the shower scene as the scariest thing ever. Although this iconic scene is probably the most famous, the entire structure of this movie is meticulously executed. There is a shocking turnaround halfway through, but the final scenes still carry a revelation that has left viewers stunned.
We can see Norman Bates here, playing one of the most memorable villains in film history. Josef Stefan’s screenplay plays a great role in our predictions as well.
8. The Haunting (1963)
This movie by Robert Wise is among the best touching movies about haunted houses. The main premise revolves around a paranormal investigator trying to determine whether or not the mansion is haunted.
If someone likes a good jump (or several), then watching this movie is probably one of the best choices to make. With mysterious sounds, objects in strange places, and other events, this movie plays with our minds in the most effective way possible.
9. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Zombies may have existed as a concept before this movie, but it became a popular concept after its release. The movie has a gritty ending to it, but it’s still said to be among the best final scenes in horror movie history.
Essentially, this is the movie that established the zombie lore, making them empty, lumbering creatures dehumanized. He also provided a social commentary on racism during the 1960s. Ultimately, this movie became a huge influence on the groundbreaking Get Out.
10. Blood and Black Lace (1964)
Some say that Mario Bava changed the horror movie script forever with this movie. He was already revered as a horror maestro, and launched a kind of Italian blood (giallo) doctrine with this work. The killings here are gruesome and stylized, with thrilling POV footage to conceal the killer’s identity.
The place here is a fashion house, where models are systematically killed. The killer wears an all black overcoat, gloves and a hat. This was to become a staple in the genre later. In one great scene, the chase takes place inside a room full of mannequins. Models are getting rid of people in the same way that the fashion industry might get rid of humans as well. Witnesses to her murder are anonymous and silent, as are people who witness the harsh practice of the industry in real life.
The best horror movies of the ’60s were very expensive, so make sure you prepare mentally before watching any of them. Scenarios, cinematic twists, and other tools create some pretty cool effects. This makes every action discussed above a must-have for any horror movie fan. After a session of the 60’s horror movie, you can unwind with the best sitcoms from the 60’s, too.