The 10 Best Horror Films of the 1960s

Watching films of the era can feel a little frustrating for current-day horror fans, as gore and ichor and mass murderers fail to gore and ichor and mass murder in quite the way they’re supposed to.

But horror is also fun when, like a Frankenstein monster, the parts aren’t all sewn right way up.

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Rosemary’s Baby is an extremely faithful, often word-for-word adaptation of Ira Levin’s novel, and it reproduces that book’s feminist approach despite director Roman Polanski’s own ugly history of sexual violence.

Carnival of Souls (1962)

It may be a metaphor for the social stigma and isolation single women are subjected to. Or it may be about survivor’s guilt, or a ghost story from the perspective of the ghost.

Woman in the Dunes (1964)

Woman in the Dunes is unclassifiable. But if horror means suffocation in the strange, director Hiroshi Teshigahara’s surreal parable qualifies.

The Birds (1963)

No reason is ever given for the avian animosity. They are creatures of pure malice and visual brio. In one dramatic scene, they land one by one by one till they are completely covering a jungle gym.

The Innocents (1961)

Jack Clayton’s adaptation of Henry James’ Turn of the Screw foreshadows many a child possession film to come. Where The Exorcist and The Omen ladle on the blood and demonic imagery though, The Innocents is all repression and suggestion.

Kwaidan (1964)

Masaki Kobayashi’s horror anthology features four folk-tales united by a visual style so lush as to be otherworldly. The line between the mundane and the outside is paper-thin; spirits appear in a cup of tea, or step out of your wife’s slippers.

Swipe up to learn more!