1974

It’s pronounced “FRAHNK-in-steen”! Did you know that Frank Barone, the insufferable dad from Everybody Loves Raymond, and the monster were both brilliantly played by the late Peter Boyle?

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After watching some classic horror movies, you might find you want to go buy a nightlight, just in case. As the nights grow longer and colder, and as Halloween approaches, spend some of your nights getting to know the dark. After all, you never know what - or who - is hiding underneath the bed.

The first real horror movie, according to critics, is The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari). A silent German film, it was released in 1920 and details the story of a hypnotist using a sleepwalker to murder people. It is an appropriate first choice, as it influenced many American horror films after it.

Horror, as a genre, did not begin with films, but with literature. Some of the first writers of the recognized horror genre are Edgar Allan Poe and Mary Shelley. Their works, such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, incite fear in readers, but also provide stories to be explored later in horror films.

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After watching The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, watch the original film version of Frankenstein, released in 1931. Spend some time with Alfred Hitchcock, an English film director who was called The Master of Suspense. He moved to Hollywood in the late 1930s and made many horror and thriller films. Watch Psycho, made in 1960, or The Birds, in 1963. You might not want to shower while alone in the house again, though.

The late 1960s and the 1970s came with a slew of horror films. Wait Until Dark was made in 1967, and Rosemary’s Baby in 1968. Watch The Exorcist, from 1973. Interact with some creatures from outer space as you watch Alien, from 1979. Look fearfully at your phone as you watch When a Stranger Calls, also from 1979.

Transition into a long winter with The Shining, from 1980, still considered one of the best movies of the genre. Then go and flip on all of your lights as you huddle underneath your covers. If you close your eyes, maybe they can’t see you.