The timeless beauty of black and white cinema never goes out of style, and these 10 genre masterpieces never fail to thrill.
Whether you’re looking for a timeless classic, something so bad it’s good, a modern throwback, or something to actually give you the shivers, Morbidly Beautiful has got you covered with this list of the ten best black & white horror movies you can stream right now (legally).
10. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
We all know the sad story of how someone screwed up the rights to NOTLD, allowing it to become public domain and forcing its director to make a bunch of other awesome movies instead of just comfortably living off the royalties of his instant classic. What you may not know is that you can stream the most influential zombie movie of all time on just about any service, including YouTube.
9. King Kong (1933)
King Kong is a national treasure. No, really. It is listed as the greatest horror film of all time by Rotten Tomatoes and the 56th greatest film of all time by the AFI. Find it. Watch it. Enjoy it. Treasure it. So what if you have to pay for it—it’s a fucking national treasure, you cheap bastard! Pony up!
8. The Addiction (1995)
Available on Shudder, Abel Ferrera’s modern look at the disease of vampirism as well as the disease of original sin and a bunch of other lofty concepts that will make you feel as smart as a grad student quoting Nietzsche features Lili Taylor (The Conjuring) and Christopher Walken (The Dead Zone, The Prophecy), as well as possibly the bloodiest finale in vamp flick history.
7. The Human Monster (1939)
AKA The Dark Eyes of London, my personal favorite Lugosi flick stars Bela as (what else?) an evil scientist who is running a murderous insurance scheme at a home for the blind. As if that weren’t bad enough, in one scene he sadistically makes a blind mute deaf before killing him, for no other reason than to be a sick fuck. Available on tubi and YouTube. Watch with someone you love.
6. Carnival of Souls (1962)
I’ll admit it, I really only watch this movie for the beautiful protagonist, but if you’re interested in a haunting, disjointed, early “art house” horror film that apparently influenced a lot of movies that came after it, check it out. Also available on YouTube, Shudder, Tubi, and HBO Max.
5. Nosferatu (1922)
I mean, how much more iconic can you get? Even SpongeBob loves Nosferatu. Probably the most groundbreaking horror film of its time. Still gives more willies than a host of movies nearly a century later. I mean, let’s be honest: Nosferatu vs. Twilight? Thank you. I rest my case. Free on Shudder, tubi, and YouTube.
4. The Invisible Man (1933)
Another one you may have to pay for, it is available on some obscure “mom and pop” streaming services that may or may not be available in your area. This truly underrated James Whale (Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein) horror comedy is pure entertainment from start to finish. The scenery chews up Claud Rains, so to speak, and the fun he has bringing the genius of H.G. Wells’ masterpiece of science fiction horror to life is contagious.
3. The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Lon Chaney’s makeup alone is worth a fresh viewing of this gorgeous black & white silent powerhouse from time to time, but the set design, costumes, elaborate choreography, and timeless heartbreaking story are nearly as compelling now as they were over 95 years ago. Free pretty much everywhere except Amazon…’cause they don’t have enough income rolling in from other things.
2. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
Proto movie, proto horror, art house, haunted house, wacky story, wacky images, memorable sets, memorable makeup—it’s funny how watching something free on tubi and Shudder can transport you to a time when such entertainment would have been considered novel and demanded high-priced tickets at the box office. Perhaps the most influential horror film of all time.
Honorable Mention(s): Glen or Glenda (1953), Bride of the Monster (1955), Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959), Ed Wood (1995)
See them in that order, and I promise you, if you have any sense of humor at all, you will fall in love with Eddie and his motley crew of psychics, wrestlers, washed up movie stars, TV vamps, and “transvestites” as they were known in those days.
Ed was a true pioneer of bad cinema and may still be the greatest worst director of all time. All of these are streaming on various services, including YouTube.
(In my best Criswell): “I predict that by the end of year 2022, you and everyone you know will have watched and enjoyed them multiple times!”
1. Freaks (1932)
If you’re a parent, do yourself a favor and don’t watch this one with your kids around. It’s not the “freaks” them