Don’t look now, but Halloween is less than a week away. I know! So it’s time to fill up your queue with scary movies, warm up some hot chocolate, and scare the bejesus out of yourself. And the subscription streaming services are loaded with recent horror movies – good luck sifting through all of those, in fact, but that’s another list for another time. But if you’re up for some old-school horror, your choices are spread out piecemeal over a whole bunch of them. But not to worry; we’ve tracked down some of our favorites, and will send you right to where they’re waiting to haunt your Halloween nightmares.
We may as well start with the granddaddy of them all, this vampire classic from director F.W. Murnau, which dates all the way back to 1922. An unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Nosferatu changes the names but keeps Stoker’s basic story and characters intact. So why has this antiquated, silent chiller kept such a high profile, 95 years after its original release? Two reasons: the film’s distinctive German expressionist photography, all shadows and contrasts (the cinematographers were Fritz Arno Wagner and Gunther Krampf), and the unforgettable lead performance by Max Schreck, a turn so convincingly otherworldly that it inspired a subsequent film (Shadow of the Vampire) predicated on the notion that Schreck was no actor but was, in fact, a real vampire. (Available on Amazon Prime, FilmStruck, Shudder, and Fandor.)