A Beginner’s Guide to Classic Horror Movies

Horror movies have always been a popular genre in the film industry. They have been around since the early days of cinema, and people have a fascination with the macabre and the supernatural. Horror movies have evolved throughout the years, but nothing compares to the classics. In this beginner’s guide, we’ll take a look at some of the best classic horror movies of all time and what makes them so memorable.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

One of the earliest examples of horror cinema, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a silent film directed by Robert Wiene. The movie tells the story of a man named Francis who recounts his experience with a sinister hypnotist (Dr. Caligari) and a sleepwalking murder. The movie is known for its surreal sets and twisted visual style, which create a sense of unease that can still be felt today.

Freaks (1932)

Freaks is a horror movie directed by Tod Browning that features a cast of actual sideshow performers. The movie tells the story of a beautiful trapeze artist who seduces a sideshow performer for his inheritance. The other sideshow performers take revenge on the two lovers in one of the most shocking and brutal endings in cinema history. Freaks was controversial upon its release and was heavily censored, but it has since become a cult classic and a favorite of horror fans.

Dracula (1931)

Bela Lugosi’s portrayal of Dracula is one of the most iconic performances in cinema history. The movie tells the story of Count Dracula’s move from Transylvania to England and the battles between Dracula and Van Helsing (played by Edward Van Sloan). The movie is known for its gothic atmosphere, its use of shadow and sound, and of course, Lugosi’s mesmerizing performance.

The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

The Bride of Frankenstein is a sequel to the 1931 movie Frankenstein. Directed by James Whale, the movie tells the story of the monster’s loneliness and the creation of a mate for him. The movie is known for its gothic atmosphere, stunning visuals, and unforgettable performances by Elsa Lanchester and Boris Karloff as the monster. The Bride of Frankenstein is considered one of the best sequels ever made and a must-watch for horror fans.

Psycho (1960)

Psycho is a movie directed by Alfred Hitchcock that tells the story of Marion Crane, a woman who steals money from her employer and goes on the run. She ends up at the Bates Motel, where she meets the owner Norman Bates. The movie is known for its revolutionary use of narrative structure, its iconic shower scene, and of course, Anthony Perkins’ chilling performance as Norman Bates.

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Night of the Living Dead, directed by George A. Romero, is a movie that revolutionized the horror genre. It tells the story of a group of people who are trapped in a farmhouse during a zombie apocalypse. The movie is known for its use of gore, its social commentary, and its unexpected ending. Night of the Living Dead has since become a classic and has inspired countless movies and TV shows.

The Exorcist (1973)

The Exorcist, directed by William Friedkin, is a movie that still terrifies audiences to this day. The movie tells the story of a young girl who is possessed by a demon and the two priests who are called to perform an exorcism. The movie is known for its disturbing visuals, its chilling score, and of course, Linda Blair’s unforgettable performance as the possessed girl. The Exorcist is a movie that should not be watched alone.

Halloween (1978)

Halloween, directed by John Carpenter, is a movie that defined the slasher genre. The movie tells the story of Michael Myers, a killer who escapes from a mental hospital and terrorizes a small town. The movie is known for its suspenseful score, its use of point-of-view shots, and of course, Jamie Lee Curtis’ breakout performance as the final girl. Halloween has since become a franchise, but the original movie is still considered a classic.

The Shining (1980)

The Shining, directed by Stanley Kubrick, is a movie that still haunts viewers today. The movie tells the story of Jack Torrance (played by Jack Nicholson), a writer who goes to a remote hotel to become the caretaker for the winter. He brings along his wife and son, and soon the hotel’s dark history starts to affect them all. The movie is known for its eerie score, its iconic scenes, and of course, Nicholson’s unhinged performance. The Shining is a movie that will stay with you long after the credits roll.


Classic horror movies have a timeless quality that can still terrify viewers today. These movies have paved the way for the horror genre and have influenced countless filmmakers and TV shows. Whether you’re a horror fan or a newbie to the genre, these movies are a must-watch. Who knows? You might find a new favorite.