Are you bored of modern horror stories that use the same plot all over again? Ever thought about switching to old silent horror movies? You might be surprised by their complexity and good acting. Many of them were highly regarded by the critics for terrifying the public in the cinemas back then.
Why Old Cinema Might Be Even Creepier Than the Recent One
Many silent movies were created in times of socio-political troubles, so there is no wonder they portray a very unsettling atmosphere. Wars, oppression and aggression have shaped people’s minds in a way which is reflected in the cinema of the time. Since the current generation hasn’t lived through such tough times, these issues appear even more startling in their eyes.
Moreover, back then, filmmakers could use neither great special effects nor SFX makeup in order to gain a frightening effect. They could not even use their voices. Therefore, the key factor of the horror film was the facial expressions of the actors. They managed to produce more fright than all the technical artifices used nowadays in cinematography.
5 Silent Horror Movies You Should Watch if You Want to Get Spooked Out
The Phantom Carriage (1921)
The Phantom Carriage is more on the psychological side of the horror genre. However, this doesn’t make it any less scary. In fact, psychological horrors are often the most memorable. The film focuses on the perspective of an alcoholic named David, who is on the brink of death and reminisces on the key moments of his life. Therefore, the main themes the movie presents are self-destruction, regret and death. What can be more frightening that the cruel reality?
An Andalusian Dog (1929)
An Andalusian Dog is a surrealist experimental movie with a complicated plot. At its time, it shocked the audience by presenting very graphic and disturbing sequences. Its story is quite hard to understand. However, the film contains little symbols which may help you decode the meanings. It also has one of the most iconic beginning scenes: a close-up of a man cutting a human eye. It definitely suits the tastes of horror lovers.
The Hands of Orlac (1924)
This story about the descending into madness still manages to give audiences an unsettling feeling. It presents Orlac, a passionate pianist, who loses his hands in an accident. Afterwards, through a transplant, he is given the hands of an executed murderer. This thought follows him everywhere he goes, driving him crazy. The process of dehumanisation alone is enough to startle the viewers and give them some food for thought.
The Golem: How He Came into the World (1920)
If you are a fan of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, you will definitely enjoy this one, since The Golem presents a similar story. The central theme is the idea of a man wanting to play God and having to face the consequences. The film is very representative of the German expressionism and proposes a very interesting and highly-debated question to its viewers: should man know his place or attempt to overcome his condition?
The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920)
The Cabinet of Dr Caligari is yet another classic German expressionist movie which is certain to give you the chills. The basic plot presents a deranged hypnotist who uses one of his patients to induce him the desire for murder. The storyline sheds light upon the parallelism between sanity and madness. However, it is not only the story that creates an unsettling atmosphere. The camera angles, the balance between lighting and shadow and the incomprehensible set designs make this movie a true horror masterpiece.