Oct 252013


The time is upon us for that frightening night of the year. Where we can dress up into a scary alter ego and ask for a trick or treat. Here are the classic scary movies that pay a tribute to Halloween.

When I think of classic composers I will immediately hear the music of Beethoven and Mozart. If it’s a classic writer then it would be Shakespeare and Twain.  If the subject of vehicles came up I would want a ride in Henry Ford’s Model T.  Classic also covers Holidays such as Thanksgiving where it’s traditional to have turkey for dinner. At Christmas we open presents.

But, at Halloween it’s about scary movies or the guise of frightening events occurring on the screen in front of us. These movies set a standard to each and of its own accord. I have the advantage of seeing these Top 10 classic scary movies before Hollywood over saturated the industry in the 1980’s to present day.

And you might want to reference back to my Top 10 +1 Best Horror Movie Endings post here.

Please enjoy tribute to Halloween with My Top 10 +1 Classic Scary Movies. Thank you to You Tube and Google Images.

+1 The Mummy (1932)

Question – What did Boris Karloff say to make-up artist (and designer of the mummy bandage costume) Jack P. Pierce?

Right off the top, I am very claustrophobic and I detest having any part of me restricted in any way. Being wrapped and preserved like that was only for Kings and Gods but this is an ancient priest, Imhotep, who was buried alive! My first experience of the walking dead so to speak was very scary.

– “Well, you’ve done a wonderful job, but you forgot to give me a fly!”

Boris Karloff – Ardath Bey/Imhotep (billed as KARLOFF)
Zita Johann – Helen Grosvenor/Princess Ankh-es-en-Amon
David Manners – Frank Whemple
Arthur Byron – Sir Joseph Whemple
Edward Van Sloan – Dr. Muller
Bramwell Fletcher – Ralph Norton
Noble Johnson – The Nubian
Kathryn Byron – Frau Muller
Leonard Mudie – Professor Pearson
James Crane – The Pharaoh
Directed by Karl Freund

10 Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1931)

Question – This is the only version of the movie where Jekyll’s name is pronounced correctly which is?

Imagine knowing someone day in and day out, then all of sudden they turn into a completely different person? Ok, never mind. Fredric March won the Academy Award for this role.

Answer – If pronounced correctly it is “Jee-kall”.

Fredric March – Dr. Henry Jekyll / Mr. Edward Hyde
Miriam Hopkins – Ivy Pearson
Rose Hobart – Muriel Carew
Holmes Herbert – Dr. John Lanyon
Halliwell Hobbes – Brigadier General Sir Danvers Carew
Edgar Norton – Poole
Tempe Pigott – Mrs. Hawkins
Douglas Walton – Blonde Student
Directed by Rouben Mamoulian

9  Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man (1943)

Question With stunt men and doubles appearing along with having all of his dialogue scenes cut. How long is Bela Lugosi on the screen in this classic?

I remember this film first came to my attention watching some old World War II archive footage with my Dad when I was 10 years old on television. Within the documentary they showed that this filmed had just debuted right in the middle of the war. To this day we all have that villain vs villain super matchup that we crave and desire. Who would beat who? Well, this was of the biggest and best and scary originals of all time at the end.

Answer – Five minutes and six seconds in the seventy-four minute film.  

Lon Chaney, Jr. – The Wolf Man (billed as Lon Chaney)
Ilona Massey – Baroness Elsa Frankenstein
Patric Knowles – Dr. Mannering
Lionel Atwill – Mayor
Bela Lugosi – Frankenstein’s Monster
Maria Ouspenskaya – Maleva
Dennis Hoey – Inspector Owen
Don Barclay – Franzec
Rex Evans – Vazec
Dwight Frye – Rudi
Harry Stubbs – Guno
Directed by Roy William Neill

8  The Thing from Another World (1951)

Question – Why did the top brass of the US Air Force refuse to cooperate with Howard Hanks request for assistance with the making of the film?

I still have a unique fear trigger just from seeing the title to this movie. I think it was because this was my first and very terrifying experience of seeing an alien. On tv folks. Duh. In many regards this could have led My Top 10 +1 Classic Scary Movies list.

Answer – Because they felt it would compromise their official stance that UFO’s didn’t exist.

Margaret Sheridan – Nikki Nicholson
Kenneth Tobey – Captain Patrick Hendry
Robert Cornthwaite – Dr. Arthur Carrington
Douglas Spencer – Ned ‘Scotty’ Scott
James Young – Lt. Eddie Dykes
Dewey Martin – Crew Chief Bob
Robert Nichols – Lt. Ken ‘Mac’ MacPherson
William Self – Corporal Barnes
Eduard Franz – Dr. Stern
Sally Creighton – Mrs. Chapman
James Arness -‘The Thing’
Paul Frees -Dr. Voorhees
John Dierkes -Dr. Chapman
George Fenneman -Dr. Redding
David McMahon -General Fogerty
Directed by Christian Nyby and Howard Hawks

7  Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)

Question – Where did Wes Craven come up with the idea for this film?

I have suffered from insomnia for many years. There have been periods of times of having bad nightmares and being literally afraid to go back to sleep. This movie only exacerbated the problem ten fold.

Answer – He read several newspaper articles printed in the LA Times over a three-year period about a group of Cambodian refugees from the Hmong tribe, several of whom died in the throes of horrific nightmares. The group had come to America to escape the reign of Pol Pot, and within a year of arriving, three men had died, with the situation the same in each cases; the young, otherwise healthy, man would have a nightmare, then refuse to sleep for as long as possible. Upon finally falling asleep from exhaustion, the man awoke screaming, then died. Autopsy results revealed that they had not died because of heart failure, they had simply died. It was this lack of cause which intrigued Craven so much. Medical authorities have since called the phenomenon Asian Death Syndrome, a variant of Sudden Unexpected Death Syndrome (SUDS) and Brugada Syndrome.

Heather Langenkamp – Nancy Thompson
Robert Englund – Freddy Krueger
John Saxon – Lt. Don Thompson
Johnny Depp – Glen Lantz
Ronee Blakley – Marge Thompson
Amanda Wyss – Tina Gray
Nick Corri – Rod Lane
Joe Unger – Sgt. Garcia
Charles Fleischer – Dr. King
Directed by Wes Craven 

6 When A Stranger Calls (1979)

Question – The phone number of the house where the character Jill Johnson (played by Carol Kane) is babysitting, (555-2368) is the same house phone number used in Jamie Lee Curtis’s house in the movie Forever Young starring Mel Gibson. The traced call lasts approximately 1 minute and 52 seconds in the film. How long did it actually take to trace a call in 1979?

I will never forget when this movie came out as all of the girls who were close in age to me were babysitters, including my two step sisters. And they were all terrified now of being alone and babysitting. It has remained in babysitting lore to this day.

Answer – It would’ve taken 10-20 minutes for several switchboards and circuits to locate the origin of the call.

Carol Kane – Jill Johnson
Rutanya Alda – Mrs Mandrakis
Carmen Argenziano – Dr Mandrakis
Kirsten Larkin – Nancy
William Boyett – Sgt Sacker
Charles Durning – John Clifford
Ron O’Neal – Lt Charlie Garber
Heetu – Houseboy
Rachel Roberts – Dr Monk
Tony Beckley – Curt Duncan
Colleen Dewhurst – Tracy
Michael Champion – Bill
Directed by Fred Walton

5 The Wolf Man (1941)

Question– Writer Curt Siodmak originated which concepts that still exist to this day?

I’ve always had a fear of the dark from the latter parts of my childhood for a reason I won’t disclose at this point in life. But, still to this day, or should I say night, when I take Phoenix for walks after dark I think of this movie. Somewhere lurking in the shadows out of the reach of the light from the street lamp.

Answer – A person becoming a werewolf through a bite, the only way to kill a werewolf is with a silver bullet, and changing into one during a full moon.

Lon Chaney, Jr – Larry Talbot / The Wolf Man
Claude Rains – Sir John Talbot
Warren William – Dr. Lloyd
Ralph Bellamy – Colonel Montford
Patric Knowles – Frank Andrews
Béla Lugosi – Bela
Maria Ouspenskaya – Maleva
Evelyn Ankers – Gwen Conliffe
J.M. Kerrigan – Charles Conliffe
Fay Helm – Jenny Williams
Forrester Harvey – Twiddle
Directed by George Waggner

4  Friday The 13th (1980)

Question – The classic eerie music that we all know is actually what?

I clearly remember going with the twin blonde sisters, Rhonda and Michelle Pyle, and my childhood best friend Mike. It was Friday May 9th, 1980 on opening night. The reason it wasn’t released a month later on Friday June 13th is because a sequel to a little interstellar movie was coming out on May 20th. Star Wars – The Empire Strikes Back. This movie was the ground breaker for what would become a multi billion dollar film genre. For tradition in the modern era this could have been on top of My Top 10 +1 Classic Scary Movies list.

Answer – Composer Harry Manfredini has said that contrary to popular belief, the famous “Chi, chi, chi; ha, ha, ha” in the film’s score is actually “Ki, k,i ki; ma, ma, ma”. It is meant to resemble Jason’s voice saying “Kill, kill, kill; mom, mom, mom” in Mrs. Voorhees’s mind. It was inspired by the scene in which Pamela Voorhees seems to be possessed by Jason and chants, “Get her, mommy! Kill her!” Manfredini created the effect by speaking the syllables “ki” and “ma” into a microphone running through a delay effect.

Adrienne King – Alice Hardy
Harry Crosby – Bill
Kevin Bacon – Jack Burrell
Jeannine Taylor – Marcie Cunningham
Laurie Bartram – Brenda
Robbi Morgan – Annie
Mark Nelson – Ned Rubinstein
Betsy Palmer – Mrs. Pamela Voorhees
Peter Brouwer – Steve Christy
Rex Everhart – Enos, the truck driver
Walt Gorney – Crazy Ralph
Willie Adams – Barry
Debra S. Hayes – Claudette
Ari Lehman – Jason Voorhees
Directed by Sean S Cunningham

3  Frankenstein (1931)

Question – After bringing the monster to life, Dr. Frankenstein uttered what famous line?

I will never forget the bone-chilling scene when the monster is first brought to life by Dr Frankenstein. And I was only about 10 years old watching this scary classic movie at home unbeknownst to my parents. Then seeing the mighty, awesome raw strength it possessed made me shudder in my seat. There will never be a greater Frankenstein than the original.

Answer, “Now I know what it’s like to BE God!” but when it was re-released in the late ’30s, censors demanded it be removed on the grounds that it was blasphemy. A loud clap of thunder was substituted on the soundtrack. Modern audio technology had to be used to insert the dialog back into the film without any detectable change in the audio quality.

Colin Clive – Henry Frankenstein
Mae Clarke – Elizabeth
John Boles – Victor Moritz
Boris Karloff (billed as “?” in the opening credits only) – Frankenstein’s monster
Edward Van Sloan – Dr. Waldman
Frederick Kerr – Baron Frankenstein
Dwight Frye – Fritz
Lionel Belmore – Herr Vogel, the Burgomaster
Marilyn Harris – Little Maria
Directed by James Whale

2  Dracula (1931)

Question – What famous elements often associated with Dracula are not visible in this classic film?

Of all the scary originals of the black and white era this remains king of the hill always. The haunting music playing with Dracula’s piercing, hypnotic eyes taking you into a trance before you were bitten. Then you were now in an existence of eternal immortality. There will never be a better one than this.

Answer – At no point does Dracula display fangs. Also, the famous vampire bite mark on the neck is never shown either.

Bela Lugosi – Count Dracula
Helen Chandler – Mina
David Manners – John Harker
Dwight Frye – Renfield
Edward Van Sloan – Van Helsing
Herbert Bunston – Dr Seward
Frances Dade – Lucy
Joan Standing – Nurse Briggs (in an error on the opening credits, she is misidentified as “Maid”)Charles K. Gerrard – Martin, Renfield’s attendant
Directed by Tod Browning and Karl Freund  

1  Halloween (1978)

Question – What happened when P.J. Soles went to a screening of the movie after it was released, while sitting in the 4th row of a regular audience?

If it seems like I copped out with a Captain Obvious choice here it goes to the introduction of the post. A tribute to Halloween and My Top 10 +1 Classic Scary Movies. This movie set the bar for frightened children on All Hallows Eve and it has yet to have had any competition.

Answer – She was very amused, when during her nude scene and line of “see anything you like?” a male audience member in front yelled out “hell yes I do!” unaware she was right behind him.

Donald Pleasence – Dr Sam Loomis
Jamie Lee Curtis – Laurie Strode
Nancy Kyes – Annie Brackett (as Nancy Loomis)
PJ Soles – Lynda van der Klok
Charles Cyphers – Sheriff Leigh Brackett
Kyle Richards – Lindsey Wallace
Brian Andrews – Tommy Doyle
John Michael Graham – Bob Simms
Nancy Stephens – Marion Chambers
Arthur Malet – Graveyard Keeper
Mickey Yablans – Richie
Brent Le Page – Lonnie Elamb
Adam Hollarnder – Keith
Robert Phalen – Dr Terence Wynn
Tony Moran – Michael Myers (age 23)
Will Sandin – Michael Myers (age 6)
Sandy Johnson – Judith Margaret Myers
David Kyle – Judith’s Boyfriend
Peter Griffith – Morgan Strode
Nick Castle – The Shape
Directed by John Carpenter

What is your favorite classic scary movie that reminds you of Halloween? 

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Mike Vogler

I have been told (many times) that I really need to write a book about my life. The past 50+ years have been an exciting ride, and these days I find myself with a great many passions. However, I feel that this website is a much more personal way with which to share my musings, stories and commentary.

  36 Responses to “My Top 10 +1 Classic Scary Movies”

  1. I love how your list has so many classics!!! Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney were all fabulous in their time with scaring people. Love these classic fright movies. they were the best! not much of a fan of the more modern fright movies. I have seen almost all of these movies you listed except the more modern one. for me by the 80’s it was just too cheesy. You have a picture of Psycho but it didn’t make your list…why?

    • Oh thank you so much Jenn! I really appreciate that. I put the Janet Leigh picture in as a teaser. This was a tribute to Halloween and trust me…Psycho will be on another post 🙂

  2. I like your trivia with each one! Watched most of those on Black and White tvs when I was a kid. Usually on sleepovers with my school friends.

    Every Halloween time I like to watch the original black and white The Haunting. I even took a date to the Reno Little Theatre one October to watch them do it as a play. Just about word for word too. Nice!

    Recently released on Netflix, The Awakening. British horror ghost story that takes place shortly after WW1. Very chillingly spooky ha ha ha ha ha

    • Loved the story of The Haunting, Hugh! And The Awakening sounds so intriguing. I’m glad you liked the trivia as I wonder if anyone ever reads those, sir! 🙂

  3. I haven’t seen most of those!

  4. SOoooooooooooooo Scary)))))!

    I’m glad you have the 79’ version of “When A Stranger Calls.” DAMN damn damnnnn….so utterly freaking scary!

    & of course Halloween is a classic! OMGOSH, one of the best horrifying – pee your pants movies of all time. I am so scared right now.

    I need Phenix to cuddle w/ me

    SUPERB post.


  5. Well played my good friend. I like that you stuck to the classics as well. Of course some of these have been re-made but the originals are always the best. modern horror got so into the cliche of trying to do a comedy inside of a horror movie. But I will say a horror movie is always the best for a date because it definitely gets that special somebody to hold you close!!

    • This post rocked, Chad. You nailed it one with cliche and two most of all, great date movies! I should have mentioned that! Nice call buddy 🙂

  6. I don’t like scary movies that much but I did see quite a few of your list when I was younger … and I was terrified. I did like the movie Forever Young very much, funny you noticed that it has the same phone number than the one in When a stranger calls. Happy Halloween!

    • Some folks want nothing to do with them and I totally get that, Freya! Yes, When A Stranger Calls totally changed the babysitting mind set for kids just trying earn a buck. Happy Halloween to you too! 🙂

  7. It’s amazing how old some of these movies are!! Thanks for sharing a bit about each of the plots – I’m too much of a wuss to actually watch them!

    • Arianwen, wow we haven’t heard from you in forever! How awesome to see your name pop up! Ha, ha..lots of people prefer not to watch scary movies. I get that. It’s terrific to hear from you! 🙂

  8. What a great set of movies. I do want to see Dracula for sure now. I have read the book a long time ago as well. I haven’t seen some of the others in years now though and this list makes me want to see them again!

    • Thank you, A! The Mary Shelley book is obviously an all time classic. That’s a great reminder…I want to read it again 🙂

  9. I’m not a fan of scary movies or even feeling scared – doesn’t do anything for me. A testament to this fact is that I have not seen a single movie on your list. But, I did see the movie “Hitchcock” which was set in the time of his making the movie, Psycho and that was quite something, what went on behind the scenes. I haven’t seen Psycho either – but I am seen several Hitchcock films. He was the master of suspense!

    • Oh my gosh yes, Patti, Hitchcock was and still remains King of the suspense thrillers of the classic era! 🙂

  10. Mike – I avoid super scary so I’ve only seen the B&W movies on your list. I smiled when you wrote about being 10 and watching some of these. I have the same memories. You and I lived blocks from each other then. Remember Thriller Diller Matinee on Saturdays that broadcast out of the Bay Area? (I can’t remember where my keys are today but I rememer this, ha). We were 10 then and I bet we watched some of the same movies at the same time. Lol. They scared me back then. I still watch some of them when they replay on Turner Classic Movies every October.

    Not a classic, but since Sleepy Hollow came out I watch it around this time of year. I doubt others consider it really scary, but I remember seeing it with a friend when it came out on the big screen and I was scared. When the movie ended it was late at night, dark. I was dropped off in front of the house, ran inside and locked the door behind me. Lol

    • Thank you, Merry, this comment made our day! The movies were so incredibly frightening then and still remain the best today! I heard Sleepy Hollow is really good. TCM is playing all of the classics this week! Always, Mike and Phoenix 🙂

  11. Great list! I hate scary movies though, the last one I watched was The Birds by Alfred Hitchcock and the thought of it freaks me out still, especially now we are into Magpie swooping season in Australia!

    • The Birds is absolutely still scary for me to this day, Johanna! Oy vey on the Magpie’s swooping down under. Head for cover! 🙂

  12. Love seeing the older movies on here. I like watching the way they did things early on and even though they are outdated, I think they hold up very well. I dont think I have ever seen any of those in full and would love to do so.

    Did anyone else notice?….. The Thing From Another World…He seems to be the first idea and model for Jason form Friday the 13th. Cant kill him, he keeps coming at you, etc. But there is a character in the movie with the last name Vorhees. And that Jasons last name. On purpose?

    Friday the 13th scared me the most when I was a kid. That spooky sound and then he would appear. I also was scared of the first Nightmare on Em Street but after the first one, they got a little too funny for me with all the jokes. COuld have been 100x better IMO if they would have kept him scary.

    Also, didnt a lot of us hear Jaws music in the pool? Scary!!


    • Actually I did notice that on Vorhees when I wrote it and was waiting to see if anyone else did. Very good, Tony! I completely agree with you on all of those scary music themes. Yes, I thought the Elm Street franchise messed up changing Freddy’s character like that too.

  13. I’m the biggest chicken in the world when it comes to scary movies and I rarely watch them. Of course I saw “Nightmare on Elm Street” years ago, but I haven’t seen any others on this list. I especially can’t watch scary movies about exorcisms, demons/angels, and spiritual types of things because those things are very real. And I hate serial killer movies too. I’m just a scaredy cat when it comes to this entire genre! 😉

    • Totally understood on that, Dana! A lot of people feel exactly the same way you do. Ironically, I have several things that still scare me to this day – total darkness, being chased (even my Phoenix), etc. Thank you for leaving a comment, my friend! 🙂

  14. I haven’t watched any of these movies… And, I don’t intend too! I don’t watch horror movies… I get so scared, they really get into my mind and I kept thinking and doing nightmares about them.. I was reading the comments on your post, and I’m glad to know I’m not the only one in this situation! Now, I can hear you laugh but I’ll say this anyway! The only scary movie I have watched in my life is Choky (the murderer doll). I was about 13 I think… I swear I was scared for the next month!
    But thanks for this post, at least I can have some knowledge without watching the movies!

    • That’s totally ok Rita as my Halloween tribute was a bit of a risky one with lots of folks feeling exactly the way you do! I just didn’t realize until I had the hindsight now. And I hear ya on Chucky! That one always bugged me too. Great to hear from you! 🙂

  15. What a great collection of scary movies Mike. Just in time as Halloween is here. I see you are a big fan of very old and classic scary movies I have never seen before. Fair play :). I’ve watched When The Strange Calls but it wasn’t that scary at all :P. I prefer movies about exorcism and stuff 🙂

    • Agness, The Exorcist is my all time favorite scary movie but I didn’t include in this particular post only because I was going for a specific genre of my Halloween memories. But, another version of this Top 10 will be posted another day. Wow, you’re brave on When A Stranger Calls! 🙂

  16. Will you still be my friend if I confess I’ve never liked scary movies? Actually, knowing you, I am positive you will still be my friend. I don’t like them at all. Scary movies have always left me cold (ha ha).

    Halloween is the Day Of The Dead in some cultures. I’ve learned I am more comfortable with death than frightened of it. We recently found out that our housemate Gary has terminal cancer. This has made our sharing our home with him much more meaningful to me (a person needs a peaceful, safe place in a time like this). And I loved drawing close to my mother, and years earlier my mother-in-law, when they were getting ready to die. I don’t think that death has to be scary. Sad, yes (I cry a river over saying these earthly good-byes) — but terrifying? No.

    — So, that is what I can offer to your Halloween post, Mike. Thanks for keeping us connected to the spirit of the season.

    • Ha, ha of course I am still your friend, Alison! I’m so terribly sorry to hear about Gary. Sending him Love, Light and Blessings. There has been a lot of that going around lately including a family member I just lost 🙁 This post has definitely “spawned” an idea for me to write another post on someday as to why people are afraid of scary movies which there have been resounding comments to here! 🙂

  17. You have quite an interesting list here, Mike! I’m not a big fan of scary movies either but have heard of most of these. I think I’ve only seen Frankenstein and Dracula. They knew how to scare people back then and I think these movies in black and white make it more creepy too.

    • Finally, someone comments on the black and white perspective, Mary! That’s the whole key that makes them more scary! Isn’t that cool? As the comments speak loudly you are not alone with not liking scary movies. But hey, you had an entire post of human skulls! 🙂

  18. Great list, I love a having a fright! I also love how most of these are also books – Dr Jekyll and Hyde is one of my all time favourite books, and Dracula had some haunting moments too! Funnily enough, whenever I think about the time I watched Halloween, all I can think about is how great Jamie Lee Curtis looked in high-waisted jeans – terrible aren’t I?

    Admittedly, I was looking for Psycho – I still get shivers when I think about Norman Bates peeping through his spy holes. Rosemary’s Baby, Don’t Look Now and The Shining would fit into your list well too 🙂

    • I’ve caught so much heck for not including Psycho and The Exorcist in this post, Shing! My line of thinking was my own personal tribute to my Halloween memories. But, I just made a note with your comment now to rectify this with a post in the near future. You’ll see Psycho 🙂 And I totally agree with you on Jamie Lee Curtis in high-waisted jeans. Awesome comment!!! 🙂

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