The best horror movies from the 1950s are some of the most groundbreaking in history. These films had a huge impact on pop culture, and they’re still influencing modern horror today. Here are 10 of the most iconic films from this decade:
The Thing (1951)
When The Thing was released in 1951, it was unlike any movie you had ever seen before. Its tense atmosphere and claustrophobic sets made for a terrifying experience that still stands up to this day. Starring James Arness in his first movie role, this film is an essential piece of horror history.
The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
The Creature is one of my favorite old school horror movies, because it’s not just about blood and guts. Released in 1954, this is one of the earliest horror films to use underwater photography. When you add that claustrophobic atmosphere and a creature with a spine-tingling roar, it’s not hard to see why people are still talking about this movie all these years later.
The Bad Seed (1956)
One of the most disturbing movies of the 1950s, this one is based on a novel by William March and was directed by Mervyn LeRoy. The Bad Seed stars Nancy Kelly as Lillian Montgomery, an overprotective mother whose daughter Rhoda (Patty McCormack) has an evil streak in her that manifests itself at every opportunity.
The Fly (1958)
If you’re looking for an old-fashioned good ole fright, this is the movie to watch. Directed by Kurt Neumann and starring David Hedison as a scientist who finds himself in the body of a fly after he’s transformed into one while working on his experiments with teleportation. His wife (Patricia Owens) spends most of the movie trying to save her husband from the fly, who keeps coming back.
House of Wax (1953)
Directed by Andre De Toth and starring Vincent Price as a sculptor who creates wax sculptures that are exact replicas of his victims captured in their death throes, this one is considered by many to be the best horror movie of the 1950s.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
A mad scientist from a small town discovers an alien invasion that is replacing people with perfect copies of themselves. Stars Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter as the doctor’s wife who slowly begins to realize what has happened in her sleepy little community.
House on Haunted Hill (1959)
A classic haunted house movie from the 1950s, this one features a rich playboy who gathers some of his friends to visit a supposedly haunted mansion. Stars Vincent Price and Carol Ohmart as the wife he is trying to spook for her birthday.
The Blob (1958)
A classic sci-fi horror movie from the 1950s, this one features a fast-growing blob of space goo that starts gobbling up people in a small town. Stars Steve McQueen as an arrogant high school student who doesn’t believe anything is going on until he sees it for himself– and becomes The Blob’s first victim.
Another classic horror movie, this one features a giant radioactive monster who starts wrecking havoc on Tokyo and is only stopped by military intervention. This was the original Japanese Godzilla film, but it has been remade many times since then to varying degrees of success. Stars Raymond Burr as the American journalist covering the story– which he does not believe until it’s too late.
Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958)
This is one of the best-known giant monster movies. A woman undergoes a medical procedure to make her taller and it goes horribly wrong, turning her into an enormous creature who starts wreaking havoc on California– including trampling over comic strip artist Jack Pine’s house. Stars Allison Hayes as the titular fifty foot woman and William Hudson as Jack Pine.
(Like Horror Movies of the 1950s? Then you might like our article on Horror Movies of the 1960s, click here. Or how about our article on Horror Movies of the 1970s, click here.)