Welcome back to my Decades of Dread series! As I mentioned in my previous post, for this series I will be sharing some of my favorite films from each decade. It’s my hope that this gives folks some ideas for their #100HorrorMoviesIn92Days Challenge! Today I’m tackling the 1940s! Admittedly, as much as I love old horror, this seems to be one of my least watched decades. I’ll need to work on changing that!
- Cat People (1942)- “Serbian fashion designer Irena Dubrovna and American marine engineer Oliver Reed meet in Central Park, fall in love, and marry after a brief courtship; but Irena won’t consummate the union for fear that she will turn into a panther compelled to kill her lover, pursuant to a belief harbored by her home village.” Cat People is an absolutely beautiful film. You can’t help but feel bad for Irena and it makes this film all the more wonderful.
- Curse of the Cat People (1944)- “Amy, the young, friendless daughter of Oliver and Alice Reed, befriends her father’s late first wife and an aging, reclusive actress.” I enjoyed this film as much as the first but for different reasons. Both are exceptional examples of 1940s horror!
- The Uninvited (1944)- “A brother and sister move into an old seaside house they find has been abandoned for many years on the English coast. Their original enchantment with the house diminishes as they hear stories of the previous owners and meet their daughter (now a young woman) who lives as a neighbor with her grandfather. Also heard are unexplained sounds during the night. It becomes obvious that the house is haunted.” The Uninvited is totally my cup of tea when it comes to old horror. It would make a great double feature with The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (which is not strictly horror).
- The Wolf Man (1941)- “After his brother’s death, Larry Talbot returns home to his father and the family estate. Events soon take a turn for the worse when Larry is bitten by a werewolf.” I feel like all of the Universal Monster films should be on my lists but any of them with Lon Chaney Jr. are especially wonderful. Plus, it’s werewolves.
- Invisible Ghost (1941)- “The town’s leading citizen is a man victim of homicidal impulses beyond his control. He is being controlled by his wife who had left him for another man. She was involved in a car accident that has left her brain damaged and is kept in the basement, in secret, by Kessler’s gardener.” I mean it’s Bela Lugosi. Do I need to tell you more to sell it?
I hope this list helps to get you started on diving into the horror of the 1940s! You can also find more films from this decade on Letterboxd! I have also put together a Letterboxd List of 1940s horror that I enjoy but didn’t make the cut here. I will hopefully be adding to it soon! What are some of your favorites from this decade? Let me know in the comments below! Stay tuned because I’ll be posting about my favorites from the 1950s tomorrow! In the meantime, feel free to check out some of my other horror movie lists or reviews!