The Best Horror Movies of the 1930s

by jessemobile1021 | created - 25 Sep 2014 | updated - 3 months ago | Public

The twenty-nine best, most successful, and/or most influential movies of the 1930's. I analyze reviews from horror critics, fans, and filmmakers to determine the "must-see" films for hardcore horror buffs.

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1. The Bat Whispers (1930)

Passed | 83 min | Crime, Thriller, Horror

A master criminal terrorizes the occupants of an isolated country mansion.

Director: Roland West | Stars: Chance Ward, Richard Tucker, Wilson Benge, DeWitt Jennings

Votes: 785

2. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

Not Rated | 98 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

Dr. Jekyll faces horrible consequences when he lets his dark side run wild with a potion that transforms him into the animalistic Mr. Hyde.

Director: Rouben Mamoulian | Stars: Fredric March, Miriam Hopkins, Rose Hobart, Holmes Herbert

Votes: 11,817

3. Dracula (1931)

Passed | 75 min | Fantasy, Horror

The ancient vampire Count Dracula arrives in England and begins to prey upon the virtuous young Mina.

Directors: Tod Browning, Karl Freund | Stars: Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler, David Manners, Dwight Frye

Votes: 43,147

4. Drácula (1931)

Unrated | 104 min | Fantasy, Horror

Centuries-old vampire Dracula preys upon the innocent Eva and her friends.

Directors: George Melford, Enrique Tovar Ávalos | Stars: Carlos Villarías, Lupita Tovar, Barry Norton, Pablo Álvarez Rubio

Votes: 3,783

5. Frankenstein (1931)

Passed | 70 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

91 Metascore

An obsessed scientist assembles a living being from parts of exhumed corpses.

Director: James Whale | Stars: Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, Boris Karloff, John Boles

Votes: 60,949

6. Doctor X (1932)

Unrated | 76 min | Comedy, Crime, Horror

A wisecracking New York reporter intrudes on a research scientist's quest to unmask The Moon Killer.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Lee Tracy, Preston Foster

Votes: 2,588

7. Freaks (1932)

Not Rated | 64 min | Drama, Horror

80 Metascore

A circus' beautiful trapeze artist agrees to marry the leader of side-show performers, but his deformed friends discover she is only marrying him for his inheritance.

Director: Tod Browning | Stars: Wallace Ford, Leila Hyams, Olga Baclanova, Roscoe Ates

Votes: 39,758

8. Island of Lost Souls (1932)

Not Rated | 70 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

An obsessed scientist conducts profane experiments in evolution, eventually establishing himself as the self-styled demigod to a race of mutated, half-human abominations.

Director: Erle C. Kenton | Stars: Charles Laughton, Bela Lugosi, Richard Arlen, Leila Hyams

Votes: 7,640

9. Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932)

Passed | 61 min | Crime, Horror, Mystery

A mad scientist seeks to mingle human blood with that of an ape, and resorts to kidnapping women for his experiments.

Director: Robert Florey | Stars: Bela Lugosi, Sidney Fox, Leon Ames, Bert Roach

Votes: 3,444

10. The Most Dangerous Game (1932)

Passed | 63 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

An insane hunter arranges for a ship to be wrecked on an island where he can indulge in some sort of hunting and killing of the passengers.

Directors: Irving Pichel, Ernest B. Schoedsack | Stars: Joel McCrea, Fay Wray, Leslie Banks, Robert Armstrong

Votes: 9,619 | Gross: $0.97M

11. The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932)

G | 68 min | Adventure, Horror, Sci-Fi

Englishmen race to find the tomb of Genghis Khan before the sinister Fu Manchu does.

Directors: Charles Brabin, Charles Vidor | Stars: Boris Karloff, Lewis Stone, Karen Morley, Charles Starrett

Votes: 2,865

12. The Mummy (1932)

Approved | 73 min | Fantasy, Horror

A resurrected Egyptian mummy stalks a beautiful woman he believes to be the reincarnation of his lover and bride.

Director: Karl Freund | Stars: Boris Karloff, Zita Johann, David Manners, Arthur Byron

Votes: 21,743

13. The Old Dark House (1932)

Not Rated | 72 min | Comedy, Horror, Thriller

Seeking shelter from a storm, five travelers are in for a bizarre and terrifying night when they stumble upon the Femm family estate.

Director: James Whale | Stars: Boris Karloff, Melvyn Douglas, Charles Laughton, Gloria Stuart

Votes: 8,320 | Gross: $0.03M

14. Vampyr (1932)

Not Rated | 75 min | Fantasy, Horror

A drifter obsessed with the supernatural stumbles upon an inn where a severely ill adolescent girl is slowly becoming a vampire.

Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer | Stars: Julian West, Maurice Schutz, Rena Mandel, Sybille Schmitz

Votes: 14,494

15. White Zombie (1932)

Passed | 69 min | Horror

A young man turns to a witch doctor to lure the woman he loves away from her fiancé, but instead turns her into a zombie slave.

Director: Victor Halperin | Stars: Bela Lugosi, Madge Bellamy, Joseph Cawthorn, Robert Frazer

Votes: 8,663

16. King Kong (1933)

Passed | 100 min | Adventure, Horror, Sci-Fi

90 Metascore

A film crew goes to a tropical island for an exotic location shoot and discovers a colossal ape who takes a shine to their female blonde star. He is then captured and brought back to New York City for public exhibition.

Directors: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack | Stars: Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, Bruce Cabot, Frank Reicher

Votes: 75,544 | Gross: $10.00M

17. Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)

Passed | 77 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

The disappearance of people and corpses leads a reporter to a wax museum and a sinister sculptor.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Glenda Farrell, Frank McHugh

Votes: 4,290

18. The Ghoul (1933)

Not Rated | 77 min | Action, Drama, Horror

An Egyptologist returns from the dead to take revenge on those who have violated his tomb.

Director: T. Hayes Hunter | Stars: Boris Karloff, Cedric Hardwicke, Ernest Thesiger, Dorothy Hyson

Votes: 2,106

19. The Invisible Man (1933)

Not Rated | 71 min | Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi

A scientist finds a way of becoming invisible, but in doing so, he becomes murderously insane.

Director: James Whale | Stars: Claude Rains, Gloria Stuart, William Harrigan, Henry Travers

Votes: 27,469

20. The Black Cat (1934)

Not Rated | 65 min | Adventure, Crime, Horror

American honeymooners in Hungary become trapped in the home of a Satan-worshiping priest when the bride is taken there for medical help following a road accident.

Director: Edgar G. Ulmer | Stars: Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, David Manners, Julie Bishop

Votes: 8,702 | Gross: $0.51M

21. The Black Room (1935)

Unrated | 68 min | Crime, Horror

Ignoring an ancient prophecy, evil brother Gregor seeks to maintain his feudal power on his his Tyrolean estate by murdering and impersonating his benevolent younger twin.

Director: Roy William Neill | Stars: Boris Karloff, Marian Marsh, Robert Allen, Thurston Hall

Votes: 1,535

22. Mad Love (1935)

Passed | 68 min | Horror, Romance, Sci-Fi

In France, an insane surgeon's obsession with an actress from England leads him to replace her pianist husband's hands that got mangled in an accident with the hands of a late knife murderer which still have the urge to throw knives.

Director: Karl Freund | Stars: Peter Lorre, Frances Drake, Colin Clive, Ted Healy

Votes: 4,144

23. Mark of the Vampire (1935)

Passed | 60 min | Horror, Mystery

When a nobleman is murdered, a professor of the occult blames vampires; but not all is what it seems.

Director: Tod Browning | Stars: Lionel Barrymore, Elizabeth Allan, Bela Lugosi, Lionel Atwill

Votes: 4,051

24. Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Not Rated | 75 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

Mary Shelley reveals the main characters of her novel survived: Dr. Frankenstein, goaded by an even madder scientist, builds his monster a mate.

Director: James Whale | Stars: Boris Karloff, Elsa Lanchester, Colin Clive, Valerie Hobson

Votes: 40,714 | Gross: $4.36M

25. The Raven (1935)

Approved | 61 min | Crime, Horror

A brilliant surgeon obsessed with Edgar Allan Poe saves the life of a beautiful dancer and goes mad when he can't have her.

Director: Lew Landers | Stars: Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Lester Matthews, Irene Ware

Votes: 4,248

26. Werewolf of London (1935)

Not Rated | 75 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

The juice of a rare Tibetan flower is the only thing that keeps Dr. Glendon from turning into a werewolf during a full moon.

Director: Stuart Walker | Stars: Henry Hull, Warner Oland, Valerie Hobson, Lester Matthews

Votes: 4,473

27. The Devil-Doll (1936)

Passed | 78 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

An escaped convict uses miniaturized humans to wreak vengeance on those that framed him.

Director: Tod Browning | Stars: Lionel Barrymore, Maureen O'Sullivan, Frank Lawton, Rafaela Ottiano

Votes: 3,483

28. Son of Frankenstein (1939)

Approved | 99 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

One of the sons of Frankenstein finds his father's monster in a coma and revives him, only to find out he is controlled by Ygor who is bent on revenge.

Director: Rowland V. Lee | Stars: Boris Karloff, Basil Rathbone, Bela Lugosi, Lionel Atwill

Votes: 8,402

29. Tower of London (1939)

Approved | 92 min | Drama, History

In the 15th century Richard Duke of Gloucester, aided by his club-footed executioner Mord, eliminates those ahead of him in succession to the throne, then occupied by his brother King ... See full summary »

Director: Rowland V. Lee | Stars: Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff, Barbara O'Neil, Ian Hunter

Votes: 1,658

30. Maniac (1934)

Not Rated | 51 min | Horror

A former vaudevillian gifted at impersonation assists a mad scientist in reanimating corpses and soon goes mad himself.

Director: Dwain Esper | Stars: Bill Woods, Horace B. Carpenter, Ted Edwards, Phyllis Diller

Votes: 1,995



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