A Brief History of the Early Days of Horror by John Toth

  • The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole

    The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole
    Believed to be the first book to be regarded as the first "Gothic" novel. Features many of genre conventions that we know and love, spooky castles, dead people. Spooky. https://www.britannica.com/topic/The-Castle-of-Otranto
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

    Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
    Originally, this book was published anonymously. For the second edition, her name appeared on the book. Seen as the first science fiction novel, it also features many elements of horror.
  • The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe

    The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe
    While not as famous as his poem, The Raven, it is his first short story into the Gothic Horror genre.
  • Le Manoir du Diable (The Haunted Castle or House of the Devil)

    Le Manoir du Diable (The Haunted Castle or House of the Devil)
    This film made by Georges Méliès and is believed to be the first horror film ever made. Méliès is known as one of the first to use special effects in his film, starting with A Trip To The Moon. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPmKaz3Quzo
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker

    Dracula by Bram Stoker
    While not the first vampire novel written, this is definitely the most important one written. It has all of the staples of vampires and what we come to know as the lore. It is also based upon the real life "vampire", Vlad the Impaler.
  • The Haunted House by Segundo de Chomón

    The Haunted House by Segundo de Chomón
    An early short horror features early stop motion techniques. Still quite impressive considering the time period. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zo2EKNRIQlE
  • Frankenstein by J. Searle Dawley

    Frankenstein by J. Searle Dawley
    The first official adaptation of Mary Shelley's film was also produced by Thomas Edison. The film was believed to be lost for years, but was found and restored by the National Library of Congress. The link to the full film is below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67ENQibFW9wFrankenstein
  • I'inferno by Francesco Bertolini, Giuseppe de Liguoro, Adolfo Padovan

    I'inferno by Francesco Bertolini, Giuseppe de Liguoro, Adolfo Padovan
    An adaptation of Dante's Inferno is the first feature length Italian film. Thought to be lost and only found in incomplete or low quality versions, it was made complete again from Britain and the United States https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRUkyHvsvfg
  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari by

    The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari by
    An early German Expressionist silent horror film features strong lines and shapes. If you've seen a Tim Burton film, you'll understand where he gets his inspiration from. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IP0KB2XC29o
  • Dracula by Hamilton Deane (1924 Play)

    Dracula by Hamilton Deane (1924 Play)
    The first authorized adaptation of Stoker's novel was turned into a theatrical play. https://universalmonsters.fandom.com/wiki/Dracula_(1924_play)
  • Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft

    Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft
    I like being scared and so did H.P. Lovecraft. This is the short story that started what we know as the Cthulhu mythos. Featuring unspeakable horror and a great big tentacled monster.
  • Nosferatu by F. W. Murnau

    Nosferatu by F. W. Murnau
    This film originally started as a direct adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel but, they could not secure the rights to the book. Instead, Murnau made this film to much success. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCT1YUtNOA8
  • Dracula (1931 Film)

    Dracula (1931 Film)
    Based off the 1924 play, which is also based off the novel, tells the story of Dracula played by Bela Lugosi. This is also the first sound adaption of Stoker's novel.
  • Frankenstein (1931 Film)

    Frankenstein (1931 Film)
    Based on the classic novel by Mary Shelley, this film followed the story of Victor Frankenstein and his mission to play god. "It's alive! It's alive!" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qNeGSJaQ9Q
  • The Wolfman by George Waggner

    The Wolfman by George Waggner
    Don't forget to pack your silver bullets. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAnkBQ7eWyc
  • Horror of Dracula by Terence Fisher (Hammer Horror Series)

    Horror of Dracula by Terence Fisher (Hammer Horror Series)
    The Hammer Horror Series of Dracula films started with this one. Starring Christopher Lee as Dracula it too, is based on Stoker's Novel. Despite that, it is more graphic and is considered to be one of the best adaptations of Dracula https://www.hammerfilms.com/the-many-lives-of-dracula/
  • Psycho by Alfred Hitchcock

    Psycho by Alfred Hitchcock
    You can't talk about horror with talking about Hitchcock. Everyone knows it or they've heard about the infamous "Shower Scene". Just don't watch the remake. That one is not good.
  • Onibaba by Kaneto Shindo

    Onibaba by Kaneto Shindo
    The first major Japanese horror film released. Features supernatural elements such as ghosts and demons. Heavily inspired by Japanese folklore.
  • Night of the Living Dead by George Romero

    Night of the Living Dead by George Romero
    The first ever "zombie" film ever made. Though, they never called them zombies in the film at all. Fun fact: The film is in public domain because they forgot to put the copyright symbol on the title! So anyone can publish it or remake it! Go ahead! Have fun! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yA5kk8LB7BQ
  • The Shining (novel) by Stephen King

    The Shining (novel) by Stephen King
    A tale of cabin fever, madness, and terror. I would consider this to be one of King's best works. It also became a pretty good film, as well. https://stephenking.com/library/novel/shining_the.html
  • Alien by Ridley Scott

    Alien by Ridley Scott
    In Space No One Can Hear You Scream.
  • Halloween by John Carpenter

    Halloween by John Carpenter
    Started the never ending trend of the slasher films.
  • Friday The 13th by Sean S. Cunningham

    Friday The 13th by Sean S. Cunningham
    You're all doomed!
  • The Shining by Stanley Kubrick

    The Shining by Stanley Kubrick
    The perfect film for this isolation that is also disliked by the author of the book. All work and no play...
  • Haunted House (Atari 2600 video game)

    Haunted House (Atari 2600 video game)
    The first game to really attempt at using horror elements in a video game. You're portrayed as a pair of eyes searching through a dark and scary house. Monsters are around every corner! Can you escape with the highest score? While not scary by today's standards, it is still pretty fun. http://www.the13thfloor.tv/2017/02/16/a-brief-history-of-horror-video-games/
  • The Thing by John Carpenter

    The Thing by John Carpenter
    In this film set in Antarctica, you can't trust anyone. An alien parasite has awoken and it has the ability to mimic anything and everyone. Noted for it's use of practical special effects
  • The Evil Dead

    The Evil Dead
    Before Ash turned into a goofball who cracked jokes and was groovy, this is one that started it all. It's gorey, gross, and unsettling.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street by Wes Craven

    A Nightmare on Elm Street by Wes Craven
    Don't fall asleep.
  • Castlevania (NES video game)

    Castlevania (NES video game)
    Released to much critical acclaim, it is considered to be one of the first mainstream horror games released for a home console. Much of it is inspired by the Universal Monster Movies and lore. It has been re-released and is playable on every modern console and is a series that is still going strong. https://castlevania.fandom.com/wiki/Castlevania_(video_game)
  • Alone in the Dark (PC DOS)

    Alone in the Dark (PC DOS)
    The first real 3D survival horror game first found its home on the PC. Predating the popular Resident Evil series, this is one that started it all. https://aloneinthedark.fandom.com/wiki/Alone_in_the_Dark_(1992)