"QUITE SIMPLY, THE BEST HORROR-THEMED BLOG ON THE NET." -- Joe Maddrey, Nightmares in Red White & Blue

**Find The Vault of Horror on Facebook and Twitter, or download the new mobile app!**

**Check out my other blogs, Standard of the Day, Proof of a Benevolent God and Lots of Pulp!**

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Tuesday Top 10: Favorite Horror Movies of the 1960s

In the grand tradition of my previous decade-favorite lists, I'm moving right along to the era when your parents used the Vietnam War as an excuse to smoke dope and get on the pill! That's right friends, it's the 1960s--quite possible the most tumultuous age of horror. This is quite an interesting list if i do say so myself, a telling mix of traditional terrors and more modern-style flicks. This was, after all, the decade in which the Hays Code and studio system died, and all the rules went out the window. Anyway, enough of my blatherings--enjoy!

10. The Birds (1963)
The second of Hitchcock's two genuine horror films, and a definite direct ancestor to Night of the Living Dead. Don't believe me? Ask George Romero himself. Tippi Hedren is gorgeous, and that iconic playground scene will stay with you forever! Best thing about it? You never even find out what made all the birds go nuts in the first place.

9. The Brides of Dracula (1960)
For my money, Hammer's finest offering of the decade. Ironically, Dracula himself is not in the film, yet it's tangentially connected to Horror of Dracula of two years prior. Peter Cushing returns as Van Helsing for one thing, and David Peel's Baron Meinster may be one of the screen's most underrated vampires. Director Terence Fisher delivers the goods again.

8. The Masque of the Red Death (1964)
One of the last of the epic Roger Corman/Vincent Price/Edgar Allen Poe confabs, this is also probably the best. Price stars as the malevolent Prince Prospero, one of his finest roles. Add a little Hazel Court, and you've got a can't-miss recipe. Too bad the rise of more "reality-based" modern horror brought an end to this marvelous cinematic experiment.

7. Kaidan (1964)
Four supernatural tales make up this excellent Japanese anthology, the finest foreign-language horror film of the decade. In fact, it was actually nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. A terrific score by future Kurosawa collaborator Toru Takemitsu put this one over the top as truly one-of-a-kind horror.

6. The Last Man on Earth (1964)
Speaking of NOTLD forerunners, here's another one. Very possibly Vincent Price's first "modern" horror film, and in my opinion still the very best adaptation of Richard Matheson's I Am Legend. Best scene: Neville buries his wife, only to find her reanimated and scratching at his front door. Shivers.

5. Repulsion (1965)
What a disturbing picture this is--and not just because of Roman Polanski's later kid-touching exploits. Catherine Deneuve is enthralling as Carole, a young woman who literally loses her mind during a single weekend by herself. A masterpiece of cerebral horror that's visually stunning in stark black and white.

4. Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Most might rank this one a spot or two higher than me, but I never quite was as on board with it as most, anyway. I value it more for its historical importance as one of the movies that ushered in the modern era of horror than anything else. It also helped really cement horror's longstanding fascination with Satanism...

3. The Haunting (1963)
It would be no exaggeration to call this the greatest haunted house/ghost movie ever made. And the classic example of "less equals more". You see almost nothing in this paranormal treasure, yet it remains one of the most frightening experiences you are ever likely to have watching a horror movie. Watch it alone. I dare you.

2. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
What is there to say that hasn't been said? George Romero's seminal zombie touchstone is more than just a film--it's a cultural entity. More than any other single motion picture, this one is responsible for most of the horror of the past 40 years. It never gets old, and it never loses its power.

1. Psycho (1960)
It was a tough call between the top two, but I just can't see Hitchcock's slasher prototype anywhere else but in the very top spot, can you? No other decade has such a single dominant horror character as the 1960s does with Norman Bates, Robert Bloch's amazing Ed Gein-inspired creation. Hermann's composition is not just a film score--it is the film score. Janet Leigh was nominated for an Oscar, and Anthony Perkins should've been. With one of the most well-known climaxes in film history, it still packs a hell of a punch. The reason: absolutely breathtaking filmmaking. It gets no better.


Anonymous said...

Great List All Top Ten Excellent

Anonymous said...

Great List All Top Ten Excellent

Pax Romano said...

Great list. Re The Birds picture, don't forget that damn song the little kids are singing over and over and over...I am pretty sure that's what crazy people here before they climb a clock tower and start shooting.

As for Kaidan, never heard of it. But I will give it a try if Netflix has it.

Sethcanes said...

Great list, though I would probably have replaced Kaidan with Onibaba as the best japanese horror movie and would have placed Hour Of The Wolf as the best foreign horror movie. Quite surprised that Mask Of The Demon didn't make the list though-

B-Movie Becky said...

Nice list, definitely nailed the must-have classics and I was happy to see some unique ones on there as well.

1twistedmind said...

I remember watching The Birds with my dad when I was younger. Loved it and still do!

Wings1295 said...

It's been said already, but Great List!

Love some of these, haven't seen others. Thanks for pointing those out. :)


And Vincent Price gets to be on the list twice! (He is that cool after all.) THE RED DEATH is one of my all time favorites and one of Price's best performances I think...

Mr. Fiendish said...

Good list. I do have one thing to add however, and is that in your Psycho review you mention Norman Bates as Gacey-inspired. He was actually inspired by Ed Gein. Just a little tidbit you might have confused.

John W. Morehead said...

Great list. Masque of the Red Death and Bridges of Dracula would be easy to overlook for most fans.

John W. Morehead said...

Er, I mean Brides of Dracula above. No bridges built to the count that I know of.


The Bridges of the Brides of Dracula of Madison County?

Anonymous said...

Very cool list. The Brattle Theater in Cambridge MA is doing a series of Poe-based films next month and I will definitely check out MoRD.

I believe Bates was inspired by Ed Gein though.

B-Sol said...

Yep guys, it is indeed Ed Gein, not Gacey. Thanks for the catch.

Jeff Allard said...

Good list! Eyes Without a Face, Carnival of Souls, and Witchfinder General would all be good candidates, too, but I don't know what could've been left off to make space for them.

bavafan@hotmail said...

There were so many great films produced in the 60's it's hard to narrow it down to 10.
I favour the Bette Davis horror films:
and then there's

THE TOMB OF LIGEIA (I find both of these Price films creepier than MASQUE, which takes a "cooler" tone to its horrors)
I would never miss any of these when they played on TV!

B-Sol said...

Great suggestions, Bavafan--thanks!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...