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Rosemary's Baby

(Photo by courtesy Everett Collection)

The 60 Best 1960s Horror Movies

Unearth the best 1960s movies ever and you’ll see the decade started off screaming. Psycho titillated audiences showing Janet Leigh in a bra before serving up one of the most shocking death scenes ever committed to screen – it still shocks some 60 years later. Both Psycho and Peeping Tom released the same year and both share comment on voyeurism, with the latter going as far as implicating the viewer in its POV murder shots. Introducing such a lurid concept was enough to get Peeping Tom pulled from theaters, and all but killed director Michael Powell’s career.

The introduction of the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in the late ’40s created a new palate for international cinema, and while the ’50s were filled with prestige pics like The Seventh Seal and Seven Samurai, genre movies from abroad began to light up theaters. This includes horror classics like Eyes Without a Face, Kwaidan, Black Sunday, Blood and Black Lace, and Hour of the Wolf. And after ramping up in the ’50s, British horror entered a prestige era with The Haunting, House of Usher, The Devil Rides Out, and Village of the Damned.

By 1968, the Hays Code (which delineated what violence, sex, and themes could be depicted on American screens) was all but gone, and that same year The Night of the Living Dead birthed a new age of independent cinema and the zombie genre itself. Speaking of birth: Rosemary’s Baby also came out in ’68, capping a decade of memorable psychological thrillers like The Innocents, What Ever happened to Baby Jane?, Persona, and Seconds.

To compile this list of ’60s horror, we took every critically-approved genre movie of the decade, and then ranked them by Tomatometer score, with Certified Fresh films first! Now, read on for the best 1960s horror movies! Alex Vo

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#1

Psycho (1960)
96%95%

#1
Adjusted Score: 106270%
Critics Consensus: Infamous for its shower scene, but immortal for its contribution to the horror genre. Because Psycho was filmed with tact, grace, and art, Hitchcock didn't just create modern horror, he validated it.
Synopsis: Phoenix secretary Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), on the lam after stealing $40,000 from her employer in order to run away... [More]
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock

#2

Rosemary's Baby (1968)
96%87%

#2
Adjusted Score: 103498%
Critics Consensus: A frightening tale of Satanism and pregnancy that is even more disturbing than it sounds thanks to convincing and committed performances by Mia Farrow and Ruth Gordon.
Synopsis: A young wife comes to believe that her offspring is not of this world. Waifish Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow) and... [More]
Directed By: Roman Polanski

#3
#3
Adjusted Score: 98367%
Critics Consensus: George A. Romero's debut set the template for the zombie film, and features tight editing, realistic gore, and a sly political undercurrent.
Synopsis: A disparate group of individuals takes refuge in an abandoned house when corpses begin to leave the graveyard in search... [More]
Directed By: George A. Romero

#4

Eyes Without a Face (1959)
96%87%

#4
Adjusted Score: 100424%
Critics Consensus: A horrific tale of guilt and obsession, Eyes Without a Face is just as chilling and poetic today as it was when it was first released.
Synopsis: Dr. Génessier (Pierre Brasseur) is riddled with guilt after an accident that he caused disfigures the face of his daughter,... [More]
Directed By: Georges Franju

#5

Peeping Tom (1960)
95%85%

#5
Adjusted Score: 99921%
Critics Consensus: Peeping Tom is a chilling, methodical look at the psychology of a killer, and a classic work of voyeuristic cinema.
Synopsis: Loner Mark Lewis (Carl Boehm) works at a film studio during the day and, at night, takes racy photographs of... [More]
Directed By: Michael Powell

#6

The Innocents (1961)
95%86%

#6
Adjusted Score: 99636%
Critics Consensus: Creepily atmospheric, The Innocents is a stylishly crafted, chilling British ghost tale with Deborah Kerr at her finest.
Synopsis: Based on the Henry James story "The Turn of the Screw," a psychological thriller about a woman who takes a... [More]
Directed By: Jack Clayton

#7

The Birds (1963)
94%83%

#7
Adjusted Score: 99162%
Critics Consensus: Proving once again that build-up is the key to suspense, Alfred Hitchcock successfully turned birds into some of the most terrifying villains in horror history.
Synopsis: Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) meets Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor) in a San Francisco pet store and decides to follow him... [More]
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock

#8

Village of the Damned (1960)
93%77%

#8
Adjusted Score: 96136%
Critics Consensus: Chilling performances and a restrained, eerie atmosphere make this British horror both an unnerving parable of its era and a timeless classic.
Synopsis: One day the peaceful village of Midwich is cast into a mysterious sleep for several hours, but with no obvious... [More]
Directed By: Wolf Rilla

#9
Adjusted Score: 95843%
Critics Consensus: What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? combines powerhouse acting, rich atmosphere, and absorbing melodrama in service of a taut thriller with thought-provoking subtext.
Synopsis: Jane Hudson (Bette Davis) is an aging child star left to care for her wheelchair-bound sister Blanche (Joan Crawford), also... [More]
Directed By: Robert Aldrich

#10

Persona (1966)
91%94%

#10
Adjusted Score: 96189%
Critics Consensus: Arguably Bergman's finest film, Persona explores the human condition with intense curiosity, immense technical skill, and beguiling warmth.
Synopsis: Famed stage stress Elisabeth Vogler (Liv Ullmann) suffers a moment of blankness during a performance and the next day lapses... [More]
Directed By: Ingmar Bergman

#11

Kwaidan (1964)
91%90%

#11
Adjusted Score: 94288%
Critics Consensus: Exquisitely designed and fastidiously ornate, Masaki Kobayashi's ambitious anthology operates less as a frightening example of horror and more as a meditative tribute to Japanese folklore.
Synopsis: Taking its title from an archaic Japanese word meaning "ghost story," this anthology adapts four folk tales. A penniless samurai... [More]
Directed By: Masaki Kobayashi

#12

The Haunting (1963)
87%82%

#12
Adjusted Score: 87777%
Critics Consensus: Both psychological and supernatural, The Haunting is a chilling character study.
Synopsis: Dr. John Markway, an anthropologist with an interest in psychic phenomena, takes two specially selected women to Hill House, a... [More]
Directed By: Robert Wise

#13

House of Usher (1960)
84%74%

#13
Adjusted Score: 88175%
Critics Consensus: Scary, strange, and maybe a little silly, House of Usher represents an early high mark for Vincent Price and a career triumph for director Roger Corman.
Synopsis: Based on the classic story "The Fall of the House of Usher" by Edgar Allan Poe and directed by legendary... [More]
Directed By: Roger Corman

#14

Seconds (1966)
79%87%

#14
Adjusted Score: 84991%
Critics Consensus: Featuring dazzling, disorienting cinematography from the great James Wong Howe and a strong lead performance by Rock Hudson, Seconds is a compellingly paranoid take on the legend of Faust.
Synopsis: Banker Arthur Hamilton (John Randolph) gets a call one day from a friend he thought was dead. It turns out... [More]
Directed By: John Frankenheimer

#15

The Sorcerers (1967)
100%59%

#15
Adjusted Score: 94092%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A professor (Boris Karloff) and his wife (Catherine Lacey) can feel the sensations of a mod British teen (Ian Ogilvy)... [More]
Directed By: Michael Reeves

#16

Blind Beast (1969)
100%79%

#16
Adjusted Score: 80975%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: With the help of his own mother (Noriko Sengoku), sightless sculptor Michio (Eiji Funakoshi) abducts gorgeous model Aki (Mako Midori)... [More]
Directed By: Yasuzo Masumura

#17
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Teruo Ishii

#18

The Housemaid (1960)
100%77%

#18
Adjusted Score: 20211%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Piano composer Dong-sik (Kim Jin-kyu) and his pregnant wife (Jeung-nyeo Ju) need extra help around the house, so they hire... [More]
Directed By: Kim Ki-young

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 68574%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A traveler's (Peter Cushing) tarot cards tell how an architect, musician, doctor (Donald Sutherland), gardener and critic (Christopher Lee) will... [More]
Directed By: Freddie Francis

#20

Kuroneko (1968)
96%85%

#20
Adjusted Score: 93112%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this ghost story based on a folk tale of feudal Japan, a group of samurai mercenaries led by Raiko... [More]
Directed By: Kaneto Shindô

#21

The Devil Rides Out (1968)
95%76%

#21
Adjusted Score: 96153%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When the Duc de Richleau (Christopher Lee) and Rex Van Ryn (Leon Greene) arrive at a fashionable party thrown by... [More]
Directed By: Terence Fisher

#22

Spider Baby (1964)
94%76%

#22
Adjusted Score: 60778%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Chauffeur Bruno (Lon Chaney Jr.) looks after three strange siblings at their family estate. Ralph (Sid Haig), Virginia (Jill Banner)... [More]
Directed By: Jack Hill

#23

Hour of the Wolf (1968)
92%86%

#23
Adjusted Score: 93584%
Critics Consensus: Ingmar Bergman makes a successful foray into horror with Hour of the Wolf, infusing the demons that spring from creativity with his trademark psychological curiosity.
Synopsis: On a remote island, a troubled artist (Max von Sydow) feels his mind slipping away from him. Troubled by disturbing... [More]
Directed By: Ingmar Bergman

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 93449%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Seymour Krelboin (Jonathan Haze) works in the Skid Row flower shop owned by Mr. Mushnik (Mel Welles). In his spare... [More]
Directed By: Roger Corman

#25

Targets (1968)
90%81%

#25
Adjusted Score: 92122%
Critics Consensus: A startling directorial debut by Peter Bogdanovich mixes an homage to Boris Karloff horror films with a timely sniper story to create a thriller with modern baggage and old school shock and awe.
Synopsis: After unhinged Vietnam vet Bobby Thompson (Tim O'Kelly) kills his wife and mother, he goes on a brutal shooting spree.... [More]
Directed By: Peter Bogdanovich

#26

The Comedy of Terrors (1964)
90%69%

#26
Adjusted Score: 85696%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Waldo Trumbull (Vincent Price) is an amoral undertaker in 19th-century New England who takes to murdering people to have enough... [More]
Directed By: Jacques Tourneur

#27

Onibaba (1964)
90%90%

#27
Adjusted Score: 76749%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: While her son, Kichi, is away at war, a woman (Nobuko Otowa) and her daughter-in-law (Jitsuko Yoshimura) survive by killing... [More]
Directed By: Kaneto Shindô

#28
#28
Adjusted Score: 76236%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A tyrannical 12th-century prince is intrigued by a girl and takes her to live amid the immorality of his court.... [More]
Directed By: Roger Corman

#29
#29
Adjusted Score: 88039%
Critics Consensus: By turns lurid and disturbing, The Man with the X-Ray Eyes is a compelling piece of sci-fi pulp and one of Roger Corman's most effective movies.
Synopsis: Intent on enhancing mankind's ocular ability, the brilliant Dr. James Xavier (Ray Milland) invents a formula that allows him to... [More]
Directed By: Roger Corman

#30
#30
Adjusted Score: 88017%
Critics Consensus: A chilling visual treat, Pit and the Pendulum unites genre masters Roger Corman and Vincent Price with delightfully dark results.
Synopsis: Elizabeth Barnard Medina (Barbara Steele) has died in the prime of life, and her brother, Francis (John Kerr), wants to... [More]
Directed By: Roger Corman

#31

The Conqueror Worm (1968)
88%66%

#31
Adjusted Score: 88829%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A disturbing tale of evil set during the English Civil War. When Matthew Hopkins is appointed Witchfinder General by the... [More]
Directed By: Michael Reeves

#32

Viy (1967)
88%79%

#32
Adjusted Score: 46580%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A group of seminary students from the city go on summer break, drunkenly wandering the countryside. They end up lost,... [More]

#33
Adjusted Score: 87353%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Roy Ward Baker

#34

Black Sunday (1960)
86%78%

#34
Adjusted Score: 81656%
Critics Consensus: Mario Bava's official narrative debut is a witchy nightmare steeped in gothic splendor, shot in chiaroscuro black and white and punctuated with startling gore.
Synopsis: Burned at the stake, a vampire witch princess (Barbara Steele) wakes up centuries later with her undead henchman.... [More]
Directed By: Mario Bava

#35

Spirits of the Dead (1968)
86%65%

#35
Adjusted Score: 78900%
Critics Consensus: Three auteurs descend on the works of Poe, each putting on a ghoulish show -- adapting The Tomahawk Man's tales of dreams and fright, with Fellini's segment particularly out of sight.
Synopsis: In one chapter of this three-in-one feature inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's tales, a countess (Jane Fonda), shunned by a... [More]

#36

Psychomania (1971)
86%53%

#36
Adjusted Score: 43567%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A young biker gang leader makes a pact with the Devil and uses it to win himself eternal life. His... [More]
Directed By: Don Sharp

#37

Night Tide (1961)
86%52%

#37
Adjusted Score: 26810%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: While on shore leave, sailor Johnny Drake (Dennis Hopper) becomes enamored of Mora (Linda Lawson), a young woman who works... [More]
Directed By: Curtis Harrington

#38

The Tomb of Ligeia (1964)
85%60%

#38
Adjusted Score: 48142%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Verden Fell (Vincent Price) is shattered after the death of his lovely wife. But, after an unexpected encounter with Lady... [More]
Directed By: Roger Corman

#39

The Raven (1963)
83%63%

#39
Adjusted Score: 57714%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Magician Erasmus Craven (Vincent Price) is still deeply depressed two years after the death of his beloved wife, Lenore (Hazel... [More]
Directed By: Roger Corman

#40
#40
Adjusted Score: 83664%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Forty years ago, on the night they were meant to elope, Charlotte Hollis (Bette Davis) found her lover decapitated during... [More]
Directed By: Robert Aldrich

#41

The Last Man on Earth (1964)
81%69%

#41
Adjusted Score: 82479%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The survivor (Vincent Price) of a global epidemic battles a race of zombie vampires in an adaptation of Richard Matheson's... [More]

#42
#42
Adjusted Score: 82405%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Four tourists dine and spend the night at Dracula's (Christopher Lee) castle; two escape and warn a monk (Andrew Keir).... [More]
Directed By: Terence Fisher

#43
Adjusted Score: 51167%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The vampire count (Christopher Lee) bites a tavern waitress and a monsignor's (Rupert Davies) niece (Veronica Carlson), then falls on... [More]
Directed By: Freddie Francis

#44

Blood and Black Lace (1964)
80%75%

#44
Adjusted Score: 52423%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A masked man with a metal-claw glove stalks models at a couple's (Cameron Mitchell, Eva Bartok) fashion salon in Rome.... [More]
Directed By: Mario Bava

#45

Homicidal (1961)
73%66%

#45
Adjusted Score: 73108%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Chaos and danger reign when good girl Miriam Webster (Patricia Breslin) meets her half brother's girl friend, Emily (Jean Arless),... [More]
Directed By: William Castle

#46
#46
Adjusted Score: 60852%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After meteors enter Earth's atmosphere, blinding much of the planet's population in the process, plantlike creatures known as Triffids emerge... [More]
Directed By: Steve Sekely

#47

The Brides of Dracula (1960)
78%61%

#47
Adjusted Score: 78861%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) drives a stake through the heart of a vampire baron (David Peel) who even bites his... [More]
Directed By: Terence Fisher

#48
#48
Adjusted Score: 73048%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The United Nations conducts a global survey on child development, identifying six children with exceptional intelligence. All were born under... [More]
Directed By: Anton Leader

#49

Tales of Terror (1962)
69%63%

#49
Adjusted Score: 34694%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Locke (Vincent Price) mourns his late wife, Morella (Leona Gage), but has resentment toward his daughter that manifests itself in... [More]
Directed By: Roger Corman

#50

What! (1963)
71%68%

#50
Adjusted Score: 30219%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A sadistic nobleman terrorizes his family, but the relief that the family members feel upon his death is short-lived when... [More]
Directed By: John M. Old

#51

The Evil Eye (1963)
71%68%

#51
Adjusted Score: 32888%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An American tourist (Letícia Román) in Rome witnesses a vicious murder, but no one believes her. Fearing she may be... [More]
Directed By: Mario Bava

#52

Die, Monster, Die! (1965)
71%39%

#52
Adjusted Score: 67826%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Scientist Stephen Reinhart (Nick Adams) travels to a small town where he plans to visit his fiancée Susan Witley (Suzan... [More]
Directed By: Daniel Haller

#53

The Haunted Palace (1963)
71%66%

#53
Adjusted Score: 49396%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Condemned warlock Joseph Curwen (Vincent Price) curses a New England village just before being burned alive. More than a century... [More]
Directed By: Roger Corman

#54
Adjusted Score: 70431%
Critics Consensus: This uneven but amiable 1967 vampire picture is part horror spoof, part central European epic, and 100 percent Roman Polanski, whose signature sensibility colors every frame.
Synopsis: Vampire hunter Professor Abronsius (Jack MacGowran) and his faithful assistant, Alfred (Roman Polanski), are traveling across Transylvania when they stop... [More]
Directed By: Roman Polanski

#55
#55
Adjusted Score: 28821%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The baron (Peter Cushing) makes a couple (Veronica Carlson, Simon Ward) help him put a mad doctor's brain in another... [More]
Directed By: Terence Fisher

#56

Dementia 13 (1963)
69%35%

#56
Adjusted Score: 69205%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After John Haloran (Peter Read) dies, his wife, Louise (Luana Anders), fears that she will be denied his inheritance. Fabricating... [More]
Directed By: Francis Coppola

#57

The Demon Planet (1965)
69%52%

#57
Adjusted Score: 37290%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An astronaut (Barry Sullivan) and his partner (Norma Bengell) flee from walking-dead astronauts on a volcanic planet.... [More]
Directed By: Mario Bava

#58
#58
Adjusted Score: 46131%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Looking to score a break as a newspaper reporter and impress beautiful Alma Parker (Joan Staley), milquetoast typesetter Luther Heggs... [More]
Directed By: Alan Rafkin

#59
Adjusted Score: 29092%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Brazil's first horror film, "At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul," features the first appearance of Coffin Joe (José Mojica Marins)... [More]
Directed By: José Mojica Marins

#60
#60
Adjusted Score: 30196%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A man with brutal and macabre origins, Leon Corledo (Oliver Reed) was raised in the home of Don Alfredo Corledo... [More]
Directed By: Terence Fisher