'Werewolf of London'

[1935] Earlier, and better, than "The Wolf Man," this rarely seen classic is closer to a "Jekyll & Hyde" tale than anything else. Henry Hull is pitch-perfect as an uptight aristocratic scientist who finds himself getting into some hairy situations when the moon is full, although his werewolf is a bit more urbane than most, pausing to grab his hat and scarf on the way out of the window.

See it here.

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'White Zombie'

[1932] Arguably the first-ever zombie film, this low-budget indie hews closer to the voodoo origins of zombie lore than later flesh-eating versions made popular by Romero, Fulci, and others. The real draw is Bela Lugosi as Murder Legendre, who commands an army of the undead, as well as the mist-filled studio backlots that effectively stand in for the film's Haitian setting.

See it here.

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'Son of Frankenstein'

[1939] You've already seen the best-known Universal classics such as "Dracula" (also available on Netflix streaming), "Frankenstein," etc., too many times, so dig a little deeper with this half-remembered sequel. The always watchable Basil Rathbone takes over as the mad doctor, and Boris Karloff plays the monster for the final time (and they somehow manage to cram Bela Lugosi in as well).

See it here.

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'The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari'

[1919] Almost too easy to include--the unnerving set design (German expressionist painted flats, a budgetary necessity that turned into a trademark) provide a nightmarish atmosphere. Plus, Conrad Veidt is great in his black turtleneck and mop-top hair as the killer somnambulist, Cesare (ironically, only his second-most influential screen persona, after "The Man Who Laughs").

If you've seen it too many times, other excellent silent choices streaming on Netflix include "Nosferatu," "The Golem," and "The Cat and the Canary."

See it here.

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'Vampyr'

[1932] Full of shadows, soft gauzy shots, and frankly not too much in the way of a discernible plot, this early vampire movie almost feels like a silent film. Dialogue is kept to a bare minimum, and the mostly amateur actors were later dubbed in slightly different French and German versions. The original negatives are long thought lost, so most copies, including this one, are even grainier than director Carl Theodor Dreyer intended, but that makes it even better as creepy background imagery for your Halloween party.

See it here.

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