The 1960s saw some prestigious directors approach the horror genre with a more nuanced look at fears. After a decade of monster movies, the 1960s saw a plethora of Hammer Films releases based on the classic Universal Monsters. However, these films never made it to the top of fan lists when names like Alfred Hitchcock and Roman Polanski were working in the genre.
The decade has seen some of the best horror films in cinema history hit theaters, four of the top films scoring an IMDb score of eight or more, and more than one named to the Library of Congress based on its cultural significance. . From serial killers and killer birds to Satanists tormenting a young mother, the 1960s had a huge number of horror movies.
1960 – Psycho – 8.5
In 1960, Alfred Hitchcock went from thriller to pure horror with psychopath. The film was a huge success, with one of the most shocking opening scenes in movie history and a tense, terror-filled pace that kept audiences on the lookout until the end.
The film, shot in black and white, features serial killer Norman Bates as he awaits his next victim at Bates Motel. He won Oscar nominations, including Best Director, and was added to the Library of Congress in 1992. psychopath was also one of the first films to influence the slasher genre.
1961 – The Innocents – 7.8
Innocents was one of many adaptations of the Henry James horror novel The turn of the screw. Directed by Jack Clayton with a screenplay that included the work of Truman Capote, the film starred Deborah Kerr as the American woman applying for the role of housekeeper and finding more than she bargained for.
The film sits above other versions of the story as it is a more nuanced look at the horrors the housekeeper finds in the house and attempts to bring more psychological horror to the mix outside. ghosts.
1962 – Carnival of Souls – 7.1
Carnival of Souls hit in 1962 as an independent horror film shot on a low budget, but which has stood the test of time as a cult classic. While the film was largely forgotten for years, a revival at Halloween festivals and accolades from some iconic horror filmmakers helped it achieve its status as the top-rated horror film of 1962. on IMDb.
The film features a woman named Mary who races drag races with her friends. When the car dives off the side of a bridge, Mary somehow survives, but then finds herself haunted by a ghoulish figure known as The Man.
1963 – The Birds – 7.7
Alfred Hitchcock returned to horror three years after his massive success with psychopath. In 1963 the film was The birds, which starred Tippi Hedren in his first movie role. Melanie is a socialite who heads to Bodega Bay in California and finds the whole town attacked by birds.
The film won an Oscar nomination for effects and Hedren won a Golden Globe for New Star of the Year. The movie was a nice change for Hitchcock at the time, as he returned to the fun aspects of horror, never letting go of his signature tension. It entered the Library of Congress for its cultural significance in 2016.
1964 – Kwaidan – 8.0
Kwaidan is a Japanese anthology film which literally means ghost stories. The film has four different unrelated shorts, but each has a connection as ghost stories. The film was screened at the Cannes Film Festival and even won the Oscar for best foreign language film.
This anthology is unlike any other. The colors are vibrant, which contrasts with the sadness and gloom of Kwaidan. The film is also an excellent overview of Japanese folklore.
1965 – Repulsion – 7.7
Roman Polanski released his second film and his first big American success in 1965 with Repulsion. As he landed an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film for Knife in water, Repulsion was proof that he was one of the best new names in horror in the 1960s.
The film stars Catherine Deneuve as Carol, a woman who is left alone in her apartment and begins to have hallucinations and nightmarish situations. The film was a high-quality psychological horror and was a masterclass of terror.
1966 – Kill, baby … Kill! – 7.0
The highest rated horror film of 1966 was an Italian gothic horror film by Mario Bava. Known as the master of Italian horror, Bava had been working in the film industry since 1937, but he didn’t start directing films until 1957.
With Kill, baby … Kill!, Bava had its biggest box office success of the time, as the film surpassed its previous films. In this film, the ghost of a young girl haunts a village and a doctor tries to find a way to stop the dead. The film has stood the test of time and could be one of Bava’s best films.
1967 – Viy – 7.3
In Viy, When a witch tries to seduce the young man, he brutally beats her. He is then called by a wealthy merchant whose daughter is deceased and he is ordered to stay three nights with the corpse while praying for his soul. The problem is, the girl gets up and wants revenge.
Viy is one of the lesser-known horror films of the 1960s according to IMDb fans. This is the first Russian horror film released in the USSR during Soviet times. The film is a terrifying and claustrophobic story about a seminary student haunted by a witch.
1968 – Rosemary’s Baby – 8.0
In 1968, Roman Polanski returned with his best critically acclaimed film. In Rosemary baby, Mia Farrow plays the role of a pregnant woman who discovers that the inhabitants of her building are strangely interested in her. She soon realizes that her baby may not be human.
The film won Ruth Gordon the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress and Polanski received an Oscar nomination for directing the film. Rosemary baby Not only is it 8.0 according to IMDb voters, it’s also 96% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
1969 – The Cremator – 8.0
The 1960s ended with The Cremator as the top-rated horror film of the final year of the decade, according to IMDb fans. While the film didn’t make it as a finalist for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars, it was still a film viewers loved, giving it an 8.0 rating on IMDb.
The Czechoslovakian film follows an incinerator in Prague in the 1930s that ends up killing its own family. He then went on to manage the ovens in the Nazi Party’s extermination camps where he believed he was liberating souls. The film, in stark black and white, is a throwback to German expressionist films, albeit a dark and morbid comedy.
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