Flavorwire’s 50 Essential Horror Films, Final Countdown

Happy Halloween!

As Halloween draws near, you’ll undoubtedly see dozens of lists analyzing the scariest, goriest, and even the funniest of horror films. Nostalgia surrounding the spooky holiday conjures a breathless excitement to seek and share the movies that toy with our deep-seated fears. If you’re new to the horror genre, we don’t want you to feel left out of the fun. We’ve created a list of 50 essential films that will educate and entertain you all month long. Each week, we’ll be counting down to number one and exploring a breadth of titles. Whether you’re looking for a creepy tale to watch on Halloween night, or you’re interested in honing your horror knowledge, check out our must-see movies, below. Then, catch up with parts onetwothree, and four.

10. The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

The Bride of Frankenstein — starring Elsa Lanchester as the immortal figure with lightning-streaked hair — is the rare film sequel that’s even better than the original. Reluctant to shoot a follow-up to his 1931 movie Frankenstein, director James Whale was given creative freedom to explore the carefully balanced pathos and comedy of the monster (Boris Karloff) and his mate. The work is now considered Whales’ masterpiece. The film’s most memorable scenes — including the monster’s meeting with the hermit and the Bride’s dramatic introduction — remain some of the most iconic moments in horror film history. The inventive set pieces and shadowy, expressionistic shots captured by John Mescall’s cinematography and Charles D. Hall’s art direction are inventive — all highlighted by an incredible Franz Waxman score. Lanchester’s wonderfully bizarre characterization of the Bride was modeled after the swans she saw in Regent’s Park in London, which she described as “nasty creatures” that were always hissing. The Bride only appears on screen for mere minutes, but she remains a powerful symbol of the genre and one of its finest creations.