The scariest movies in movie history tend to be the ones that were too shocking to audiences at the time of their release. Whether the collective disturbance stems from the terrifying themes, haunting tones, or graphic imagery of a movie, the horror genre has always been littered with movies that were ahead of their time. Only in hindsight do they tend to get the recognition they deserve.
While many of the most famous horror classics proved to be ahead of their time, there are also several old, forgotten, and international horror movies that had a similar impact upon their release.
10 Monsters (1932)
Tod Browning Monsters Not only is this a movie that still scares audiences to this day, it also features real-life circus performers at the time – a casting decision well ahead of its time.
Almost a century old Monsters follows Cleopatra (Olga Baclanova), an aerialist who tries to scam a fellow performer named Hans (Harry Earles) out of the money he makes while working as a circus attraction. When Cleo drunkenly insults her co-workers, they brutally attack her to make her one of their own.
9 The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
In addition to having a prominent female lead, James Whale The bride of Frankenstein is often hailed as the first true horror comedy ever produced and one of the best horror sequels ever made. While it was well received at the time, the film has grown in recognition over the past 85 years.
The outrageous mix of humor and horror occurs when Dr. Frankenstein (the hysterical Colin Clive) tries to create a mate for his lightning-necked monster (played by Boris Karloff). The film faced severe censorship over certain religious iconography, as well as deaths on and off the screen.
8 Diabolical (1955)
Remade in America 40 years later, Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Diabolical It was so alarming at launch that it drew mostly medium to negative reviews. In the years and decades since, it has been rethought as a true masterpiece.
The plot is about a vengeful wife who plans to kill her womanizing husband, doing it together with one of his lovers. The scene in which the husband rises from a submerged position in a bathtub to reveal that he is still alive left the 1955 viewers totally apoplectic.
7 Hunter’s Night (1955)
In the only film directed by Oscar-winning actor Charles Laughton, Hunter’s night It was a notorious box office bomb when it was released in 1955. In hindsight, it has been hailed as an absolute masterstroke in horror and suspense.
Robert Mitchum plays Harry Powell, a radical religious man who learns from a fellow inmate that $ 10,000 in stolen cash is buried somewhere on the man’s property. With the words love and hate tattooed across the opposite knuckles, Harry terrorizes the man’s wife and two young children as he searches for money.
6 Jigoku (1960)
With an honorable mention for the 1964 Japanese dramatic horror film Onibaba, Nobuo Nakagawa’s hyper-bloody, rainbow-tinged horror film Jigoku inspired the visual style of Mario Bava, Dario Argento and many others to come.
Jigoku (“Hell” in Japanese) follows a band of sinful criminals sent to punish a Buddhist representation of the underworld. Panning at the time, the film has become a cult favorite among hardcore horror moviegoers for its pioneering gore effects and caramel-coated visuals.
5 Night of the Living Dead (1968)
The definitive zombie outing of George A. Romero Night of the Living Dead it was ahead of its time for a number of reasons. First of all, the film stars an African-American actor (Duane Jones) as the heroic lead of the film, a rarity at the time.
Second, the film’s themed social commentary came at the height of the civil rights movement in America, making Jones’s casting doubly important. The movie pretty much created the genre template of undead meat-hungry ghouls being resurrected from the grave with lethal intentions.
4 Eyes without a face (1960)
Georges Franju’s influential 1960 French horror film Eyes without a face presents intense graphic images that are still very scary today, no matter at the time of launch. The story concerns a mad doctor who steals the faces of the victims to repair his daughter’s face severely altered during an accident.
One particular facial surgery scene seems so real that the audience at the time “fell like flies,” according to the Criterion Collection DVD Brochure. The scene had to be censored for the 1962 US premiere.
3 Myron (1960)
Michael Powell’s 1960 British horror film voyeur predates the term “snuff movie” by a decade, but explores the idea in disturbing detail. The film follows Mark Lewis (Carl Bohm), a handsome photographer who kills women with a knife hidden in the leg of his camera’s tripod.
However, Tom does not kill to quench his thirst for blood. He murders women in order to capture their scary reactions on film in their last moments alive. The film fuses psychological horror and slasher tropes revised two months later with the release of Hitchcock’s Psychopath.
two Psychosis (1960)
With voyeurBy Alfred Hitchcock Psychopath He is considered the progenitor of the slasher horror subgenre. Both films were mired in controversy at the time of their release, but Psychopath has spread as an untouchable horror classic.
Psychopath He also broke the mold by killing his main character, Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), in the middle of the movie, which was hugely taboo at the time. Norman Bates also opposed the conventions as a serial killer, donning women’s clothing to look like his dead mother, serving as a catalyst for the film’s poignant ending.
1 The Shining (1980)
Strange as it may sound The glow it was criticized by most of the people who saw it when it was released in 1980. But like all of Stanley Kubrick’s work, the film proved to be far ahead of its time as a horrifying psychological piece steeped in symbolism.
Following the film’s release, Stanley Kubrick won a Razzie Award for Worst Director, while Shelly Duvall won a Razzie Award for Worst Actress. Now, the movie ranks 63rd on the IMDB Top 250 and is unanimously praised as one of the greatest horror movies of all time ever made.
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