Looking for classic chills and thrills to celebrate Halloween? Netflix Instant has a number of great classic horror and horror-comedy movies in its catalog right now, although you won’t find most of them listed in the “Classic Horror” section of the site. The current Watch Instantly catalog lists only six movies under that heading, but there are actually plenty of classic gems hidden in the line-up, many of them featuring some of horror’s greatest stars. Here are ten classic horror movies you can watch this week on Netflix Instant.
“The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” (1920) – Robert Wiene’s silent masterpiece of German expressionist horror stars Conrad Veidt as a menacing sleepwalker controlled by an evil showman. A 2005 remake is also currently available on Netflix Instant.
“Nosferatu” (1922) – F.W. Murnau’s unauthorized adaptation of “Dracula” features one of horror’s creepiest vampires in the person of Max Schreck as the monstrous Count Orlok. Play it in the background of your Halloween party to add to the ghoulish ambience, but take time to savor the best scenes, especially the dramatic finale.
“Dracula” (1931) – You just can’t have Halloween without Tod Browning’s classic take on Bram Stoker’s immortal vampire tale. Bela Lugosi stars in the role that defined his career and influenced every vampire film and story since. Edward Van Sloan and Dwight Frye also star.
“The Invisible Man” (1933) – Claude Rains stars as the title character in this wry classic from director James Whale. Adapted from the story by H.G. Wells, the film follows the increasing insanity of a scientist who makes himself invisible but cannot find the antidote to restore himself to normal.
“The Wolf Man” (1941) – Lon Chaney, Jr. stars as the ill-fated Larry Talbot, who returns to his family’s ancestral home only to be bitten by a werewolf. Claude Rains, Patric Knowles, Maria Ouspenskaya, and Bela Lugosi also star in this tragic tale of moonlight transformation.
“Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein” (1948) – This lively horror-comedy pits the bungling comedians against a whole host of horror favorites, with Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney, Jr. reprising their most memorable roles.
“Creature from the Black Lagoon” (1954) – One of the best B-movies ever made, this monster movie with a sci-fi slant follows a group of scientists into the untamed regions of the Amazon, where they encounter a creature unlike anything man has seen before. Richard Carlson, Julie Adams, and Whit Bissell star.
“House on Haunted Hill” (1959) – This black comedy with a horror twist comes from the legendary William Castle and stars Vincent Price and Elisha Cook, Jr. as part of a group who spend the night in a supposedly haunted house.
“The Comedy of Terrors” (1963) – Directed by Jacques Tourneur, this hilarious horror-comedy features an all-star cast with Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, and Basil Rathbone all making memorable appearances. Price stars as a shady undertaker who keeps his business afloat by murdering townspeople in order to get corpses to bury.
“Dracula A.D. 1972” (1972) – If the cult classics are more your style, try this Hammer film with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, two of the genre’s great stars. Lee and Cushing play Dracula and Van Helsing in swinging 1970s London; the two played various heroes and villains of horror throughout their careers and often starred together in Hammer films. See “Horror of Dracula” (1958) for their first great collaboration in the vampire genre.
The National Classic Movies Examiner posts new content regularly. Subscribe to this column by clicking the “subscribe” button at the top of this article and get automatic updates when new articles appear. You can also follow Jennifer Garlen on Twitter as @garlengirl.