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The horror boom of the late 1950s continued into the 1960s, where it reached new heights. However, the teenagers who made horror so popular at the drive-in were now adults whose fears were more deeply rooted in reality. In a rapidly changing world, the monsters of the 50s seemed silly. Also, since there had not been a nuclear holocaust in the years following World War II and aliens had never landed (that we know of), moviegoers looked inward, focusing on its own psyche rather than on external threats.

The 1960s began with the B-movies of William Castle and Roger Corman, but one movie soon changed the entire landscape forever: Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960), which ushered in an era of intense psychological horror. Other movies also took a minimalist approach compared to those of the past. They featured characters, usually women, who don't believe what is happening to them until the end, at which point the forces of evil usually win. Examples of these psychological horror movies include:

Peeping Tom (1960, directed by Michael Powell)
Homicidal (1961, directed by William Castle)
Carnival of Souls (1962, directed by Herk Harvey)
The Haunting (1963, directed by Robert Wise)
Strait-Jacket (1964, directed by William Castle)
Repulsion (1965, directed by Roman Polanski)

Popular during this age were Roger Corman’s decreasingly faithful adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe stories for American International Pictures, most of them featuring Vincent Price:

House of Usher (1960)
Pit & the Pendulum (1961)
Premature Burial (1962)
Tales of Terror (1962)
The Raven (1963)
The Masque of the Red Death (1965)
The Tomb of Ligeia (1964)

Although Dead of Night (1945) is considered one of the earliest examples of a modern horror anthology, the subgenre exploded during the Psychological Age. Examples of movies that contain several short stories within a larger wraparound story include:

Twice-Told Tales (1963, directed by Sidney Salkow)
Black Sabbath (1963, directed by Mario Bava)
Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965, directed by Freddie Francis)
Torture Garden (1967, directed by Freddie Francis)

The last two were early entries in the portmanteau films of Amicus Productions from England, which would become popular in the 1970s.

Also in England, Hammer Films continued to go strong through most of the 1960s until late in the decade when it took the same route as Universal in the 1940s and began making multiple sequels for its signature monsters. In this decade, Euro Horror rose and the United States was exposed to unique genre movies and directors from other foreign countries: Mario Bava from Italy and Jess Franco and Paul Naschy from Spain, for example.

With all the changes happening in the 1960s, social stability was gone: The Vietnam War and the anti-war movement, the Sexual Revolution and the feminism movement, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the civil and gay rights movements. Collectively, the turmoil produced an underlying counterculture movement that would provide ample opportunity for horror movies to explore new ways of exploring sex and violence.

The turmoil and social upheaval of the decade may best be demonstrated by the fact that there were four assassinations of important public figures: President John F. Kennedy in 1963, Malcolm X in 1965 and Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy in 1968. At the end of the decade, two events occurred that couldn't have been any more different. In August of 1969, "3 days of peace & music" was celebrated at Woodstock, while only a week earlier, the Manson Family murders had occurred on the other side of the country.

The state of the horror movie at the end of the Psychological Age may best be demonstrated by the release of three landmark films in 1968: Night of the Living Dead, Targets, and Rosemary's Baby, all terrifying reflections of the 1960s. Rosemary’s Baby concludes this era as well as launches the next.

Rosemary's Baby-Header


13 Frightened Girls (1963)

13 Ghosts (1960)

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964)

Alakazam the Great (1960)
Anatomy of a Psycho (1961)

The Astro-Zombies (1968)
At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul (1964)
Atom Age Vampire (1960)
The Atomic Brain aka Monstrosity (1963)
The Awful Dr. Orlof (1962)

Battle of the Worlds (1961)

The Beach Girls & the Monster (1965)
The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961)
Berserk (1967)
Billy the Kid vs. Dracula (1966)
The Birds (1963)

Black Cat (1968)
Black Sabbath (1963)
Black Sunday (1960)

Black Zoo (1963)
Blood and Black Lace (1964)
Blood and Roses (1960)

The Blood Beast Terror (1968)
Blood Feast (1963)

Blood of the Vampires aka Whisper to the Wind (1966)
Bloodlust! (1961)
Bloody Pit of Horror (1965)

The Boy & the Pirates (1960)

The Brain (1962)
The Brain That Wouldn't Die (1962)

Brainstorm (1965)
The Brides of Dracula (1960)
The Brides of Fu Manchu (1966)
Bunny Lake is Missing (1965)

Burn, Witch, Burn aka Night of the Eagle (1962)

The Burning Court (1962)

The Cabinet of Caligrari (1962)
Cape Fear (1962)
Carnival of Souls (1962)
Carry on Screaming! (1966)
Cash on Demand (1961)
Castle of Blood (1964)

Challenge the Devil aka Katarsis (1963)

Chamber of Horrors (1966)
Children of the Damned (1964)

Circus of Horrors (1967)
The City of the Dead aka Horror Hotel (1960)

The Collector (1965)

Color Me Blood Red (1965)
The Comedy of Terrors (1963)

Conquistador de la luna (1960)

Corruption (1968)
Countdown (1967)

The Crawling Hand (1963)

The Creation of the Humanoids (1962)
Creature from the Haunted Sea (1961)
Creature of Destruction (1967)
The Creature with the Blue Hand (1967)
The Crimson Cult aka Curse of the Crimson Altar (1968)
Crypt of the Vampire aka Terror in the Crypt (1964)

Curse of the Crying Woman (1963)
Curse of the Doll People (1961)
Curse of the Fly (1965)
The Curse of the Living Corpse (1964)
The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb (1964)
Curse of the Swamp Creature (1966)

Curse of the Werewolf (1961)
Cyborg 2087 (1966)

Daimajin (1966)
Daleks' Invasion Earth 2050 (1966)
Dark Intruder (1965)

Day of the Nightmare (1965)
The Day of the Triffids (1962)

The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961)

The Dead Eyes of London aka The Human Monster (1961)
Dead Ringer (1964)

The Deadly Bees (1966)
Death Curse of Tartu (1966)
Death Smiles on a Murderer (1973)
Dementia 13 (1963)

Destination Inner Space (1966)
Destroy All Monsters (1968)
The Devil-Ship Pirates (1964)

The Devil's Man (1967)

The Devil's Mistress (1965)

The Devil's Partner (1961)
Devils of Darkness (1965)

The Diabolical Dr. Z (1966)
Diary of a Madman (1963)
Die! Die! My Darling aka Fanatic (1965)

Die, Monster, Die! (1965)

Dimension 5 (1966)
Dinosaurus! (1960)
Doctor Blood's Coffin (1961)
Doctor Faustus (1967)
Dr. Goldfoot & the Bikini Machine (1965)
Dr. Goldfoot & the Girl Bombs (1966)

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Love the Bomb (1963)

Dr. Syn, Alias the Scarecrow (1963)
Dr. Terror's House of Horrors (1965)

Dr. Who & the Daleks (1965)
Dracula, Prince of Darkness (1965)
The Dungeon of Harrow (1962)
The Earth Dies Screaming (1964)
Eegah (1962)
The Embalmer (1965)
Evil Brain from Outer Space (1965)

Evil Eye, The aka The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1963)
The Evil of Frankenstein (1964)

Eye of the Cat (1969)
Eye of the Devil (1966)
Eyes Without a Face (1960)
The Face of Fu Manchu (1965)
Fantastic Voyage (1966)
The Fearless Vampire Killers (1966)
First Men in the Moon (1964)

First Spaceship on Venus (1960)
Five Million Years to Earth aka Quatermass & the Pit (1967)

The Flesh & the Fiends (1960)
The Flesh Eaters (1964)
Flight That Disappeared (1961)

A Fool's World (1964)
Frankenstein Created Woman (1967)
Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster (1965)

The Frozen Dead (1966)

The Full Treatment (1960)

Gamera: the Giant Monster aka Gamera the Invincible (1965)

Gamera vs. Barugon aka War of the Monsters (1966)

Gamera vs. Guiron aka Attack of the Monsters (1969)

Gamera vs. Gyaos aka Return of the Giant Monsters (1967)
Gamera vs. Viras aka Destroy All Planets (1968)

Gappa the Triphibian Monsters aka Monster from a Prehistoric Planet (1967)
Genocide (1968)
The Ghastly Ones (1968)
Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)

The Ghost aka Lo spettro (1963)
The Ghost & Mr. Chicken (1966)
The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini (1966)

The Ghost of Sierra de Cobre (1964)

Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster aka Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)
Gorath (1962)

Gorgo (1961)
The Gorgon (1964)
The Gruesome Twosome (1967)

Gumnaam (1965)
Hands of a Stranger (1962)
The Haunted Palace (1963)
The Haunting (1963)

The Hellfire Club (1961)
Hillbillies in a Haunted House (1967)
Homicidal (1961)

Horror Castle (1963)

The Horror of it All (1964)
The Horror of Party Beach (1964)

Horrors of Spider Island (1960)
Hour of the Wolf (1968)
House of 1,000 Dolls (1967)
House of Usher (1960)
Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)

The Hyena of London aka La jena di Londra (1964)
The Hypnotic Eye (1960)
Hysteria (1965)

I Saw What You Did (1965)

The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living & Became Mixed-Up Zombies (1964)
The Innocents (1961)
Invasion of the Astro-Monster aka Godzilla vs. Monster Zero (1965)
Invasion of the Neptune Men (1961)

Invasion of the Star Creatures (1962)
Island of Terror (1966)

Island of the Doomed (1967)

It! (1967)

Jack the Giant Killer (1962)
Jack the Ripper (1959)

Jason & the Argonauts (1963)
Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter (1966)

Journey to the Seventh Planet (1962)

Kill, Baby... Kill! (1966)
King Kong Escapes (1967)

King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)
The Kiss of the Vampire (1963)
Konga (1961)

Kuroneko (1968)
Kwaidan (1964)

Lady in a Cage (1964)
The Last Man on Earth (1964)
Last Woman on Earth (1960)

Let's Kill Uncle (1966)
The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)
The Living Skeleton (1968)

The Long Hair of Death (1964)
The Lost World (1960)

The Mad Executioners (1963)

Mad Monster Party? (1967)

The Magic Serpent (1966)

The Magic Sword (1962)
The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
Maniac (1963)
Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966)
Mars Needs Women (1967)

The Mask (1961)
The Masque of the Red Death (1964)

Master of the World (1961)

Matango (1963)
Medusa vs. the Son of Hercules (1963)

Mill of the Stone Women (1960)
The Minotaur, the Wild Beast of Crete (1960)

The Monster of the Opera (1964)
Mothra (1961)
Mothra vs. Godzilla aka Godzilla vs. the Thing (1964)
Mr. Sardonicus (1961)
The Mummy's Shroud (1967)
Munster, Go Home! (1966)

The Murder Clinic (1966)

My Blood Runs Cold (1965)
The Nanny (1965)
Never Take Candy from a Stranger aka Never Take Sweets from a Stranger (1960)
Night Creatures aka Captain Clegg (1962)
Night Fright (1967)

Night Must Fall (1964)
The Night Walker (1964)
Nightmare (1964)
Nightmare Castle (1965)

The Old Dark House (1963)
One Million Years B.C. (1966)
Onibaba (1964)

Orgies of Edo (1969)

Orgy of the Dead (1965)

The Outer Limits: I, Robot (1964)

Panic in Year Zero (1962)
Paranoiac (1963)
Peeping Tom (1960)

Perseus Against the Monsters (1963)
The Phantom of the Opera (1962)
The Phantom Planet (1961)

Picture Mommy Dead (1966)
The Pirates of Blood River (1962)
The Pit & the Pendulum (1961)

The Pit (1962)
The Plague of the Zombie (1966)

Planet of Storms aka Planeta bur (1962)
Planet of the Apes (1968)

Planet of the Vampires (1965)
Portrait in Terror (1965)

The Possessed (1965)
Prehistoric Women aka Slave Girls (1967)

The Premature Burial (1962)
Psycho (1960)
The Psychopath (1966)
Queen of Blood (1966)
Rasputin, the Mad Monk (1966)
The Raven (1963)
The Reptile (1966)
Reptilicus (1961)
Repulsion (1965)

Return of Daimajin (1966)
Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964)
The Sadist (1963)
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)
The Satan Bug (1965)

The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh (1963)
Scream of Fear aka Taste of Fear (1961)

Scream of the Butterfly (1965)

Scum of the Earth (1963)

Seconds (1966)
The Shadow of the Cat (1961)
She (1965)

She Freak (1967)

Sherlock Holmes & the Deadly Necklace (1962)

Shikari (1963)
The Ship of Monsters (1960)
Shock Corridor (1963)

The Shuttered Room (1967)
The Skull (1965)

The Slime People (1963)
The Snake Woman (1961)
Snow Devils (1967)

Son of Godzilla (1967)
The Sorcerers (1967)
Space Probe Taurus (1965)

Spider Baby or, The Maddest Story Ever Told (1967)
Spirits of the Dead (1968)
Stop Me Before I Kill! (1960)
Strait-Jacket (1964)
The Strangler (1964)
A Study in Terror (1965)

Tales of Terror (1962)
A Taste of Blood (1967)
The Tell-Tale Heart (1960)
The Terror (1963)
Terror-Creatures from the Grave (1965)
Terror in the Jungle (1968)
The Terror of the Tongs (1961)
These Are the Damned aka The Damned (1962)

They Came from Beyond Space (1967)
They Saved Hitler's Brain (1968)

The Thrill Killers (1964)

Thunderbirds are GO (1966)
The Time Machine (1960)
The Time Travelers (1964)
The Tomb of Ligeia (1964)
Tormented (1960)

The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism (1967)
Torture Garden (1967)

Tower of London (1962)

Twice-Told Tales (1963)
The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1961)

Two on a Guillotine (1965)
Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964)
The Undertaker & His Pals (1966)

The Underwater City (1962)

Valley of the Dragons (1961)
The Vampire & the Ballerina (1960)

Varan the Unbelievable (1962)
The Vengeance of Fu Manchu (1967)

The Vengeance of She (1968)

The Viking Queen (1967)
Village of the Damned (1960)

Village of the Giants (1965)
Viy (1967)

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961)

Voyage to the Planet of the Prehistoric Women (1968)

Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet (1965)

Vulcan, Son of Jupiter (1962)

The Vulture (1966)
Wait Until Dark (1967)
War Between the Planets (1966)
The War of the Gargantuas (1966)

The War of the Planets (1966)

War-Gods of the Deep (1965)

Way Out: Side Show (1961)
Werewolf in a Girls' Dormitory (1961)
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
The Whip & the Body aka The Whip & the Flesh (1963)
The Wild, Wild Planet (1966)

The Witch's Mirror (1962)
Witchcraft (1964)
The Witches aka The Devil's Own (1966)
Witchfinder General (1968)
The Woman Who Wouldn't Die (1964)

World War III Breaks Out (1960)

Wrath of Daimajin (1966)
The X from Outer Space (1967)
X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes (1963)
Yongary, Monster from the Deep (1967)

Zontar: The Thing from Venus (1966)

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