I debated on whether or not to do a top 20, it probably wouldn’t to anyone anyway. As always I have to tell you there are many horror films from the 1960s I have not seen. With that, this is my list based off the films I have seen. I again, have never seen a Godzilla film that wasn’t made in the West, never really wanted to.
The 1960s were kind of an odd decade for horror and really transformative. If you take a look, you will see Hammer thriving making their gothic horror monster classics, along with other films like the Devil Rides Out. Then there are some really great movies coming from Italy from Mario Bava, Black Sunday (1960), Black Sabbath (1963) and Blood and Black Lace (1964), which lead to an Italian Giallo boom in the 1970s, with the likes of Lucio Fulci, Sergio Martino and of course Dario Argento. Trust me, the 1970s are gonna get weird, I think I have seen 10 or more from 1972 alone.
Before we get to anything of the 1970s, I have to figure out how to even present that list, we have the 1960s. Like I said, it is an odd bunch of movies. So, enjoy the list and tell us your favorites of the 1960s.
10. Wait Until Dark (1967)
I cannot believe it took me until 2021 to see Wait Until Dark. We discussed this on THS Discourse last year and I am glad I finally watched it. For me it is one of those I have a hard time calling a horror film. But, this is a terrific movie with plenty of suspense to give you all of the fear and tension you get from a horror movie. It currently streams on HBO Max, so don’t miss out.
9. Dracula Prince of Darkness (1966)
After eight years Hammer had to bring Christopher Lee back as Dracula for the second of a few more sequels. There is a toss up for me when it comes to Hammer’s Dracula in the 1960s. I love all of them, but I couldn’t choose which I love the most, so I went with Prince of Darkness because of Lee’s performance. He rarely said anything, but when he was on screen, he commanded the screen and he was very imposing.
8. Black Sunday (1960)
In Italy it is referred to The Mask of the Demon and it is a great gothic horror. Between the cinematography and the set design, this has to be Mario Bava at his finest. This movie is a little crazy with vampiric witches, sorcery and all kinds of great characters.
7. The Oblong Box (1969)
This was another first time view in 2021 that really surprised me. First we begin with the stellar cast, Christopher Lee and Vincent Prince. This movie reminds of an Edgar Alan Poe story and filmed like a few of the movies we saw around the same time. But the thing that throws this into a twist, voodoo ritual killings. Slow, but worth it, I really enjoy the Oblong Box.
6. The Haunting (1963)
The first adaption of the Haunting of Hill House and one of the best. I don’t know how this one isn’t talked about more. I guess it is dated, but if you look past the early 60s film style, it is a great movie and it has some charm. It is one I’ve revisited this one many times, especially during the Halloween season. Don’t sleep on the Haunting and don’t bother with The Haunting (1999) it is terrible.
5. The Devil Rides Out (1968)
One of Terrence Fisher’s best movies and I think it may also be one of Christopher Lee’s favorite movies he was in. The Devil Rides Out is so different from most Hammer films released around that time. This was another movie that took me until 2021 to see and I want to say thanks to Scream Factory for making it possible.
4. City of the Dead (1960)
Maybe I have a thing for Christophe Lee movies, I don’t know. Well, I do know, I do. City of the Dead is excellent. It has a little of everything you’d want in a horror movie. But, the ending is so damn surprising for a Black and White movie from 1960. Trust me when I say this is a must watch. Superstition, Fear and Jealousy, if you know that line, it came from this movie.
3. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
I don’t think there is much I need to say about Night of the Living Dead. This movie single handedly changed the face of horror. Between direction, themes and social commentary, this film was ahead of its time and brilliant. If Night of the Living Dead didn’t exsist, horror wouldn’t be where it is today. Also, no Dawn of the Dead. Night of the Living Dead is a landmark horror film, as is the next film on the list.
2. Psycho (1960)
Psycho is likely an overall Top 10 Horror movie of all-time. From Alfred Hitchcock’s direction to Anthony Perkins transforming into Norman Bates. Psycho is one of the best movies off all-time and not only horror. If this was not my person preference, it would be #1 on this list.
1. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
There are no words to express my love for Rosemary’s Baby. I saw this back in High School and immediately started showing it off to everyone I knew. Rosemary’s Baby creeped me out, the cult controlling her, to the masterpiece of an ending. The ending is one of my favorite scenes of any movie ever. “He has his father’s eyes!”
Thanks everyone for reading the 1960s Top 10. This of course is my personal list, it wont agree with everyone’s and that is the beauty of being a horror fan.
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