The Birds (1963)

I wrote about the 60s black and white horror films that traumatized Boomers here earlier this month. What about the scary movies that gave them the creeps in color? These are some of the most influential and traumatizing films from the 60s. They are bold, strange, and much more bloody and violent than people remember.

  • The Birds (1963)

    Image Credit: IMDB

    The Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, directed another quintessential 60s horror film, Psycho, but this film is a bird of a different feather. First, it is in color and features special effects that were nominated for an Academy Award. The film was written by novelist Evan Hunter, based on a Daphne Du Maurier short story, and is the feature debut of actress Tippi Hedren and an early role for actress Veronica Cartwright. While some might not think of this film as frightening, the scenes where the bodies of Lydia's neighbor are discovered with his eyes pecked out and Annie Hayworth's body is found are still haunting.

  • Blood and Black Lace (1964)

    Image Credit: IMDB

    Mario Bava's gorgeous full-color Giallo film is perfection. Set in a fashion house, the victims are the beautiful models working at the intimidating estate where the owners of the fashion salon, played by Cameron Mitchell and Eva Bartok. Bava, a cinematographer, created so many strangely erotic and violent murder set-pieces, which set a standard for the many Giallo filmmakers and slasher films to come. The masked and gloved killer is an eerie cherry on top, and the influence of this kind of stylish murderer is still making its mark in horror films today.

  • Dracula, Prince of Darkness (1966)

    Image Credit: IMDB

    Dracula, Prince of Darkness, is the third sequel in the Hammer Film Productions Dracula series. In it, Christopher Lee has returned as the Count and brings the series' sensual and commanding energy back as Dracula. Ace Hammer director Terence Fisher and Jimmy Sangster reteamed for the third time in the series after Dracula and The Brides of Dracula and brought their signature style combining sexuality and a more explicit type of horror to these Gothic vampire tales.

  • Peeping Tom (1960)

    Image Credit: IMDB

    Michael Powell's Peeping Tom was such a powerful film, but its release created an extreme backlash that ruined the director's career. Critics found it morally objectionable even though later critical reassessments judged it a masterpiece of cinema and gained the film a cult following. The film's look is rich and stylish. Powell is known for his creative partnership with Emeric Pressburger, which yielded such classics as The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, The Red Shoes, and Black Narcissus. It stars Carl Boehm, Moira Shearer, and Anna Massey and is a proto-slasher film about a man who films women at the moment of their deaths and kills them with the camera he films them with.

  • Blood Feast (1963)

    Image Credit: IMDB

    Some people believe that films from the 60s aren't that violent, and this list already proves that films weren't that safe back then. Blood Feast, directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis, is here to dispel that notion entirely. It was the first splatter/slasher film, proving that graphic horror existed then. In the film, an Egyptian caterer and murderer uses women as sacrifices to his goddess Ishtar. It's bloody and gory, and it made a lot of money.

  • Quatermass and the Pit (1967)

    Image Credit: IMDB

    Quatermass and the Pit is a film remake of a television serial broadcast by the BBC. A spaceship and strange corpses are discovered while London Underground workers are building an extension. The alien corpses aren't quite dead, and they start to take over human beings and send the possessed people on a violent rampage all over the city. Andrew Keir and Barbara Shelley star in the film directed by Roy Ward Baker, who directed several horror films for Hammer Productions and Amicus Productions. If you have seen Quatermass and the Pit, you will understand its influence on Tobe Hooper's film Lifeforce.

  • The Masque of the Red Death (1964)

    Image Credit: IMDB

    Roger Corman's The Masque of the Red Death is a sumptuous adaptation of the short story by Edgar Allen Poe and part of a series of Poe adaptations that Corman directed. It was an eerie treat with Vincent Price in the leading role. However, the film has gained a stronger and more frightening power in the last few years as the events in the movie mirror our real-life situation.

  • The Day of the Triffids (1963)

    Image Credit: IMDB

    The Day of the Triffids is a curious and early apocalyptic natural horror film that planted the seeds for many other movies that would be released in its wake. The premise is that a meteor shower blinded most of the human race while sowing the seeds of ambulatory, venomous, and carnivorous plants. It stars Howard Keel and Nicole Maurey. The idea that you cannot see and cannot defend yourself from the Triffids is terrifying, especially to the imaginative.

  • Witchfinder General (1968)

    Image Credit: IMDB

    Witchfinder General, known as The Conqueror Worm in the United States, was considered brutally violent for its time. The director Michael Reeves, only 25 at the time, died shortly after the film's release of an accidental overdose. The film was highly controversial and edited heavily for release by the British film censors. Vincent Price was not the original choice to play the lead Matthew Hopkins, a real-life "witch hunter" in the 17th Century. Price put aside his trademark arch acting style, and while it was difficult for him, he considers his work in the film to be one of his best performances. He is deadly serious in the movie, befitting the tragic tone of the movie.

  • X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes (1963)

    Image Credit: IMDB

    X: The Man with the X-ray Eyes was directed by Roger Corman and is the story of a scientist who uses himself as a test subject with horrifying results. Ray Milland plays Dr. James Xavier, who is trying to improve human vision and make it possible for human beings to see beyond what the human eye can typically see. The drops increase what Xavier can see but affect his sanity. As the range of his vision grows, his eyes change color first with gold irises. Xavier begins to suspect that an evil force is watching him that he cannot understand, and to his horror, his eyes have turned black.

Similar Posts