What If I Had My Own Horror Hall of Fame?

bride_of_frankensteinTony and Ted over at the Horror Etc. Podcast had a lengthy discussion about a Horror Hall of Fame in their recent episode #282. It got me to thinking who I would put in the first year of my own Horror Hall of Fame. Now, there will never be a truly complete first year that will make everyone happy. Therefore, I’ve decided to stick with only three entries per category. I went with movies and names that were both influential and had a long-lasting appeal, not just flash-in-the-pan. Some may argue whether a movie or person was truly in the horror genre. I believe a movie can belong to more than one category so I went in with that approach. So, let me reiterate, these are just my personal choices to kick things off.

Horror Film Pre-1973 (The year The Exorcist was released)

  • Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
  • King Kong (1933)
  • Dracula (1931)

Horror Film Post-1973

  • The Exorcist (1973)
  • Halloween (1978)
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

cushing price lee

Top Actor

  • Boris Karloff
  • Christopher Lee
  • Vincent Price

Note: Before anyone has a heart attack, both Peter Cushing and Bela Lugosi would be second year entries without a doubt. Lugosi made some unwise career choices, which puts him a notch below the three men above.

Top Actress

  • Elsa Lanchester (She may have only had one true horror role but it was incredibly iconic.)
  • Barbara Steele (So many great films of the 60s made this one a no-brainer.)
  • Jamie Lee Curtis (Her role in Halloween stands above all the rest from the modern slasher films.)

Top Director

  • Alfred Hitchcock (Maybe more suspense than true horror but a master and worthy of entry based on his overall work.)
  • John Carpenter (His work was influential at one time and changed the face of horror.)
  • Mario Bava (Bringing Italian horror film to the forefront earns him this spot.)

Special Honory Recognition

  • Lon Chaney Sr. (There are legitimate arguments that Lon Chaney Sr. was a master makeup artist but that his true horror film contributions only number two or three. For example, Hunchback of Notre Dame, while an amazing piece of work, is not a horror film. Therefore, Lon Chaney Sr. is recognized for being the father of makeup artistry that inspired generations of horror film makeup.)

king kongOkay, many of you are probably hyperventilating because your favorite isn’t mentioned above. Just remember that lists are subjective to the whim of the person writing them and influenced by their frame of mind when they sat down to the keyboard. If I was to write this list tomorrow, it may very well be different. Just enjoy it for what it was…a way to get your creative thoughts flowing and opening up some thoughtful cinematic discussion.

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8 thoughts on “What If I Had My Own Horror Hall of Fame?

  1. Great list Rich. I would have included James Whale (Frankenstein, Invisible Man, Bride and The Old Dark House all classics) and Tod Browning and Terence Fisher as directors. Price wasn’t known as a horror star till the early 50’s, and especially later. King Kong is NOT horror, but gets lumped in that genre because of the giant ape misunderstood monster. Kong is adventure! And a bit of a romance I might add. Anyway, keep up the faith. I like your opinions and passion!

  2. All three of those directors were floating around in my head. I agree any or all of them could/should be on a list. As far as Price, the bulk of his horror work came prior to 1973, thus my inclusion of him on the list. As for Kong, I concur it’s more adventure but I think there are some horror elements there. Enough for this list? Not sure. Call it a whim to include it here. Thanks for your ongoing support and comments!

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  4. Good choice. Yeah, narrowing it down to just three movies eliminates so many good choices. If going for pure ghost stories, I would rank The Haunting in the top three with The Uninvited and The Changeling.

  5. I always have some trouble differentiating horror & monster films. I say I’m a horror fan, but really I’m more of a monster fan (ghosts, demons, etc. count). Kong is certainly a monster, but really not a horror film. Halloween & Chainsaw may be horror, but I’m not sure they’re really monsters (tough guy with mask) — and once we get further down the slasher list, I tend to think of the films as gore rather than either horror or monster. And I think you shortchange Chaney on horror films; I think a lot of his stuff with Browning (clearly a strong director choice) qualifies as horror. Just look at what happens in them. (Unless Freaks isn’t horror, either.)

    • I agree that I may have shortchanged Chaney. I too have a tough time differentiating between horror and monster films. This topic was way too tough to cover in the short space allowed. But it sure got everyone thinking didn’t it?

  6. Pingback: Plan D 2nd Annual Horror Hall of Fame | Monster Movie Kid

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