From campy to creepy, the 5 best old horror movie posters highlight poster art that was an integral part of film promotion in the days before mass marketing.  From outrageous catch phrases to haunting images, a great poster was the key to sparking interest in the moviegoer looking for a macabre film:

  1. “The Walking Dead” (1936): Boris Karloff stars in this old horror film as a wrongly executed man who is brought back to life by a mad scientist.  The poster represents the art deco style of the 30’s and depicts Karloff’s creepy reanimated head with glammed-up actress Marguerite Churchill standing in the forefront.  The picture was released by Warner Bros. with the catch phrase “He died a man with a hunger for love … and returned a monster with an instinct to kill.”  

  2. Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman” (1943): Even as far back as the 40’s, studios liked to pin horror movie monsters from different franchises against one another.  In that spirit, Universal Studios released this film starring Bela Lugosi as Frankenstein and Larry Talbot as the Wolf Man.  The poster shows the monsters sparing with each other, with a damsel in distress looking on.  The 2004 monster-vs-monster hit, “Alien vs Predator”, pays tribute to this classic with a scene featuring the movie playing in the background.

  3. “Creature from the Black Lagoon” (1954): This Universal monster film was one of the first 3-D films released by the studio.  A research team goes deep in the Amazon, unaware that danger lurks in the form of Gill-man.  The classic poster depicts Gill-man with his webbed fingers wrapped around the female lead, whom he developed a lust for.  The catchphrase is equally as classic, though not shown on the famous poster: “Not since the beginning of time has the world beheld terror like this!”

  4. “The Brain that Wouldn’t Die” (1962): “Alive, without a body, fed by an unspeakable horror from hell” was the tag line for this horror/science fiction movie.  The main character’s fiancée, Jan, gets decapitated in an accident, and her doctor groom-to-be decides to keep her head alive using his scientific know-how.  Against Jan’s wishes, he seeks to find a body to attach the head to, which leads to his eventual downfall. The poster shows Jan’s head attached to all kinds of contraptions and her brain soaking in some kind of liquid.  This is one of the best old horror movie posters because it represents the classic cult film campiness of the 60’s.

  5. “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”  (1974): The 70’s saw a big change in the horror movie industry, where movies were getting increasingly more terrifying and real than in the days of old.  The “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” was inspired by a real serial killer and depicts a fictional family of cannibals who pray on a group of teens traveling on a road trip.  The poster shows “Leatherface” wielding a terrifying chain saw and has one of the best tag lines ever: “Who Will Survive and What Will Be Left of Them.”