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A list of horror films released in the 1930s.


The American horror film was properly created in the 1930s, most notably the Universal Horror film productions.[1] White Zombie is considered the first feature-length zombie film and has been described as the archetype and model of all zombie movies.[2][3] A number of Hollywood actors made a name for themselves in horror films of this decade, in particular Bela Lugosi (Dracula, 1931) and Boris Karloff (Frankenstein, 1931). Fredric March won an Academy Award for Best Actor in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 1931.[4] Films of this era frequently took their inspiration from the literature of gothic horror[5] and more often dealt with themes of science versus religion rather than supernatural themes.[6]

Many horror films of this era provoked public outcry and censors cut many of the more violent and gruesome scenes from such films as Frankenstein, Island of Lost Souls and The Black Cat.[7][8] In 1933, the British Board of Film Censors (BBFC) introduced an "H" rating for films labeled "Horrific" for "any films likely to frighten or horrify children under the age of 16 years"[9] and only a year later Hollywood initiated a strict production code limiting the violence and sexuality that could be portrayed in films.[10] In 1935, the President of the BBFC Edward Shortt, wrote "although a separate category has been established for these [horrific] films, I am sorry to learn they are on the increase...I hope that the producers and renters will accept this word of warning, and discourage this type of subject as far as possible."[9] As the United Kingdom was a significant market for Hollywood, American producers listened to Shortt's warning, and the number of Hollywood produced horror films decreased in 1936.[9] A trade paper Variety reported that Universal Studios abandonment of horror films after the release of Dracula's Daughter was that "European countries, especially England are prejudiced against this type product [sic]."[9]

At the end of the decade, a profitable re-release of Dracula and Frankenstein would encourage Universal to produce Son of Frankenstein (1939), starting off a resurgence of the horror film that would continue into the mid-1940s.[11]


Horror films released in the 1930s
Title Director Cast Country Notes
Dracula Tod Browning Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler, David Manners, Dwight Frye, Edward Van Sloan United States [12]
Dracula George Melford Carlos Villarías, Lupita Tovar, Barry Norton | United States [13]
Frankenstein James Whale Colin Clive, Boris Karloff, Dwight Frye, Edward Van Sloan, Mae Clarke United States [12]
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Rouben Mamoulian Fredric March, Miriam Hopkins, Rose Hobart United States [12]
The Phantom Alan James Guinn "Big Boy" Williams, Allene Ray, Niles Welch United States [14]
Castle Sinister Widgey R. Newman Haddon Mason, Wally Patch United Kingdom [15]
Doctor X Michael Curtiz Lionel Atwill, Lee Tracy, Fay Wray United States [12]
Freaks Tod Browning Wallace Ford, Leila Hyams United States [12]
Island of Lost Souls Erle C. Kenton Charles Laughton, Bela Lugosi, Richard Arlen, Leila Hyams United States [16]
Kongo William J. Cowen Walter Huston, Lupe Vélez, Conrad Nagel United States [17][18]
The Mask of Fu Manchu Charles J. Brabin, Charles Vidor, King Vidor Boris Karloff, Lewis Stone, Karen Morley United States [18]
The Monster Walks Frank Strayer Vera Reynolds, Sheldon Lewis United States [12]
The Most Dangerous Game Ernest B. Schoedsack Joel McCrea, Fay Wray, Leslie Banks United States [19]
The Mummy Karl Freund Boris Karloff, Zita Johann, David Manners United States [12]
Murders in the Rue Morgue Robert Florey Sidney Fox, Bela Lugosi United States [12][18]
The Old Dark House James Whale Boris Karloff, Melvyn Douglas, Charles Laughton, Gloria Stuart, Lilian Bond United States [12][18]
Unheimliche Geschichten Richard Oswald Paul Wegener, Harald Paulsen, Roma Bahn Germany [20]
Vampyr Carl Theodor Dreyer Julian West, Maurice Schutz, Jan Hieronimko France
White Zombie Victor Halperin Bela Lugosi, Madge Bellamy, Joseph Cawthorn United States [12]
La Llorona Ramón Peón Ramón Pereda, Virginia Zuri, Carlos Orellana Mexico [22]
The Ghoul T. Hayes Hunter Boris Karloff, Cedric Hardwicke, Ernest Thesiger, Dorothy Hyson, Anthony Bushell United Kingdom [12]
The Invisible Man James Whale Claude Rains, Gloria Stuart, Henry Travers, William Harrigan United States [16]
The Monkey's Paw Wesley Ruggles, Ernest B. Schoedsack Ivan Simpson, C. Aubrey Smith, Bramwell Fletcher United States [12][23]
Murders in the Zoo Edward Sutherland Charlie Ruggles, Lionel Atwill, Gail Patrick, Randolph Scott United States [12]
Mystery of the Wax Museum Michael Curtiz Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Glenda Farrell, Frank McHugh United States [12]
Night of Terror Benjamin Stoloff Bela Lugosi, George Meeker, Tully Marshall United States [24]
Supernatural Victor Halperin Carole Lombard, Alan Dinehart, Vivienne Osborne United States [12]
The Vampire Bat Frank Strayer Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Melvyn Douglas, Maude Eburne United States [12]
The Black Cat Edgar G. Ulmer Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, David Manners, Jacqueline Wells United States [12]
Black Moon Roy William Neill Jack Holt, Fay Wray, Dorothy Burgess United States [12]
Chloe, Love Is Calling You Marshall Neilan Olive Borden, Georgette Harvey, Reed Howes United States [25]
House of Mystery William Nigh Ed Lowry, Verna Hillie, John Sheehan United States [26]
Maniac Dwain Esper Bill Woods, Thea Ramsey United States [12]
The Phantom of the Convent Fernando de Fuentes Marta Roel, Carlos Villatoro, Enrique del Campo Mexico [27]
The Tell-Tale Heart Brian Desmond Hurst Norman Dryden, John Kelt, Yolande Terrell United Kingdom [28]
The Black Room Roy William Neill Boris Karloff, Marian Marsh United States [12]
Bride of Frankenstein James Whale Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Valerie Hobson, Elsa Lanchester, Ernest Thesiger, Dwight Frye United States [12]
Condemned to Live Frank Strayer Ralph Morgan, Maxine Doyle, Russell Gleason United States [12]
The Crime of Dr. Crespi John H. Auer Erich von Stroheim, Dwight Frye, Paul Guilfoyle United States [12]
Mad Love Karl Freund Peter Lorre, Frances Drake, Colin Clive, Ted Healy, Sara Haden United States [12]
Mark of the Vampire Tod Browning Lionel Barrymore, Elizabeth Allan, Bela Lugosi United States [12]
Ouanga George Terwilliger Fredi Washington, Sheldon Leonard, Philip Brandon United States [29]
The Raven Lew Landers, Louis Friedlander Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Irene Ware United States [12]
The Student of Prague Arthur Robison Anton Walbrook, Dorothea Wieck, Theodor Loos Nazi Germany [30]
Werewolf of London Stuart Walker Henry Hull, Warner Oland, Valerie Hobson United States [12]
The Devil-Doll Tod Browning Lionel Barrymore, Maureen O'Sullivan United States [31]
Dracula's Daughter Lambert Hillyer Otto Kruger, Gloria Holden United States [12]
Fährmann Maria Frank Wisbar Sybille Schmitz, Peter Voss, Aribert Mog Nazi Germany [32]
The Golem Julien Duvivier Harry Baur, Germaine Dussey, Roger Karl Czechoslovakia
The Invisible Ray Lambert Hillyer Bela Lugosi, Frances Drake, Frank Lawton, Walter Kingsford United States [12]
El Baúl Macabro Miguel Zacarías Esther Fernández, Ramón Pereda, René Cardona Mexico [33]
The Man Who Changed His Mind Robert Stevenson Boris Karloff, Anna Lee, John Loder, Frank Cellier United Kingdom [12]
Revolt of the Zombies Victor Halperin Dorothy Stone, Dean Jagger, Roy D'Arcy, Robert Noland United States [12]
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street George King Tod Slaughter, Stella Rho, John Singer, Eve Lister United Kingdom [34][35]
The Walking Dead Michael Curtiz Boris Karloff, Ricardo Cortez, Edmund Gwenn, Marguerite Churchill United States [12]
Buried Alive Victor Halperin Paul McVey, Beverly Roberts, Wheeler Oakman United States [36]
The Cat and the Canary Elliott Nugent Bob Hope, Paulette Goddard, John Beal United States [37]
The Dark Eyes of London Walter Summers Béla Lugosi, Hugh Williams, Greta Gynt United Kingdom [38]
The Devil's Daughter Arthur H. Leonard Nina Mae McKinney, Jack Carter, Hamtree Harrington, Ida James United States [39]
The Face at the Window George King Tod Slaughter, John Warwick United Kingdom [40]
The Gorilla Allan Dwan Ritz Brothers, Anita Louise, Patsy Kelly United States [41]
La Herencia Macabra José Bohr Miguel Arenas, Consuela Frank, Ramón Armengod Mexico [42]
The Man They Could Not Hang Nick Grinde Lorna Gray, Robert Wilcox, Roger Pryor, Don Beddoe United States [12]
The Return of Doctor X Vincent Sherman Humphrey Bogart, Rosemary Lane, Dennis Morgan, John Litel United States [43]
Son of Frankenstein Rowland V. Lee Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Lionel Atwill, Josephine Hutchinson United States [12]
Torture Ship Victor Halperin Lyle Talbot, Irving Pichel, Julie Bishop, Sheila Bromley United States [44]

See also



  1. ^ Chibnall & Petley 2002, p. 58.
  2. ^ Rhodes 2001, p. 13.
  3. ^ Prawer 1989, p. 68.
  4. ^ "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)". Allmovie. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
  5. ^ Worland 2007, p. 55.
  6. ^ Rhodes 2001, p. 19.
  7. ^ Baumgartner & Davis 2008, p. 217.
  8. ^ Prince 2004, p. 6.
  9. ^ a b c d Chibnall & Petley 2002, p. 59.
  10. ^ Doherty, Thomas "The Code Before 'Da Vinci'" Washington Post (May 20, 2006)
  11. ^ Worland 2007, p. 68.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah AFI 1993, p. 1090.
  13. ^ Erickson, Hal. "Dracula (Spanish Version)". Allmovie. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
  14. ^ Wollstein, Hans J. "The Phantom". Allmovie. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
  15. ^ "Castle Sinister". 75 Most Wanted. British Film Institute National Archive. Archived from the original on May 14, 2011. Retrieved October 18, 2010.
  16. ^ a b Mank 2001, p. xvii.
  17. ^ Brennan, Sandra. "Kongo". Allmovie. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
  18. ^ a b c d Mank 2001, p. xvi.
  19. ^ Hardy 1995, pp. 52–53.
  20. ^ Hardy 1995, pp. 54–55.
  21. ^ Wells 2000, p. 50.
  22. ^ Hardy 1995, p. 56.
  23. ^ Brennan, Sandra. "The Monkey's Paw". Allmovie. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
  24. ^ Hardy 1995, p. 57.
  25. ^ Firsching, Robert. "Chloe". Allmovie. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
  26. ^ Hardy 1995, p. 60.
  27. ^ Hardy 1995, p. 59.
  28. ^ Chibnall & Petley 2002, p. 64.
  29. ^ Hardy 1995, p. 63.
  30. ^ Hardy 1995, p. 64.
  31. ^ Erickson, Hal. "The Devil-Doll". Allmovie. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
  32. ^ a b Hardy 1995, p. 66.
  33. ^ Hardy 1995, p. 65.
  34. ^ Hobart, Tana. "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street". Allmovie. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
  35. ^ Hobart, Tana. "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (DVD). Allmovie. Retrieved July 25, 2011.
  36. ^ Blaise, Judd. "Buried Alive". Allmovie. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
  37. ^ Hardy 1995, p. 67.
  38. ^ Hardy 1995, pp. 67–68.
  39. ^ Bush, John. "Pocomania". Allmovie. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
  40. ^ Binion, Cavett. "The Face at the Window". Allmovie. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
  41. ^ Blackburn, Steve. "The Gorilla". Allmovie. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
  42. ^ Hardy 1995, pp. 68–69.
  43. ^ Brennan, Sandra. "The Return of Doctor X". Allmovie. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
  44. ^ Eder, Bruce. "Torture Ship". Allmovie. Retrieved August 7, 2011.