11 Pre-1950 Zombie Movies You Should Watch

white zombie - bela lugosi 1

white zombie - bela lugosi 1

As consumers of entertainment and horror, we’ve all gone a little mad for zombies. It would be far too easy to point the finger at Robert Kirkman and AMC for both the The Walking Dead books and the television series, but when an A-list actor of Brad Pitt’s caliber stars in a bad zombie movie (but a great post-apocalyptic action/adventure), you know the genre’s saturation point has been exceeded. But, we can’t blame The Walking Dead or Max Brooks, or anyone else for that matter. Finding blame is pointless. Zombies are here and we love them.

Be kind and give us a follow on Facebook.

To shed a little light on just how obsessed we are with zombies, let’s take a brief look (and an incomplete one) at what the media gave us in 2013 that’s zombie-related:

Zombie Movies

Warm Bodies, V/H/S/2, World War Z, Bath Salt Zombies, Evil Dead, Go Goa Gone, The Last Days on Mars, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, Stalled, Zombie Night, Ridge War Z, Rise of the Zombie, Zombie Hunter, The Dead 2: India, R.I.P.D., Gallowwalkers, Theatre Of The Dead, Apocalypse Z…

Zombie TV Shows

The Walking Dead Television Series, Zombieland: The Series, The Returned, In The Flesh…

Zombie Video Games

The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct, Dead Island: Riptide, The Last of Us, Dead Rising 3, State of Decay, DayZ, 7 Days to Die, How To Survive, World of the Living Dead Resurrection, Zombie Killer Squad, Zombie Burger!

Hardly complete, but as you can see, zombies have made themselves at home in our entertainment. In doing so, we obsess over them and argue about their speed, fortitude, and origins.

Our fascination with the undead is nothing new. Vampires, mummies, the Frankenstein monster, they’ve all had their turn. The monster of choice now just happens to be zombies, and that’s not new either. Some might say that our interest in zombies was birthed in 1968, with George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. However, zombie zealots will have your intestines for purporting such a thing… everyone knows that Victor and Edward Halperin‘s 1932 film White Zombie introduced us to zombie film culture. The Halperin brothers failed in their second zombie-movie attempt, 1936’s Revolt of the Zombies.

By 1936, however, the floodgates were open, and a whole host of zombie films were on the way. Aside from the aforementioned Halperin films, here’s a list of 11 other zombie movies that predate the 1950s (an era that obsessed over another type of monster entirely).

No.11 The Walking Dead (1936)

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Boris Karloff, Ricardo Cortez, Edmund Gwenn


A gang of racketeers frames down-on-his-luck John Elman for murder. After a trial finds him guilty, evidence is brought forth proving his innocence, but it is too late and he is executed anyway. A doctor sees an opportunity to use an experimental procedure to restore him to life but is that entirely possible? Desirable?

No.10 J’Accuse (1938)

Director: Abel Gance
Stars: Victor Francen, Line Noro, Marie Lou


After serving in the trenches of World War I, Jean Diaz recoils with such horror that he renounces love and personal pleasure to immerse himself in scientific research, seeking a machine to prevent war. He thinks he has succeeded, but the government subverts his discovery, and Europe slides with seeming inevitability toward World War II. In desperation, Diaz summons the ghosts of the war dead from the graves and fields of France to give silent, accusing protest.

No.9 The Man They Could Not Hang (1939)

Director: Nick Grinde (as Nick Grindé)
Stars: Boris Karloff, Lorna Gray, Robert Wilcox


Mad Scientist, Dr. Henryk Savaard, is obsessed with bringing the dead back to life. The police are alerted of Savaard’s activities by his assistant’s girlfriend. Savaard is arrested, convicted and sentenced to hang. He vows revenge on the judge, jury and district attorney. After the hanging, his assistant claims Savaard’s body and uses Savaard’s technique on it. Savaard is brought back to life. Now he can seek sweet revenge on his prosecutors.

No.8 The Ghost Breakers (1940)

Director: George Marshall
Stars: Bob Hope, Paulette Goddard, Richard Carlson


Mary Carter inherits her family’s ancestral home, located on a small island off Cuba, and, despite warnings and death threats, decides to take possession of the reputedly haunted castle. She is joined by radio broadcaster Larry Lawrence who, believing he has killed a mob gunman, flees New York with his butler, Alex. Once on the island the threesome enter the eerie castle and after viewing the ghost of one of Mary’s ancestors and fighting off a menacing zombie, they find the key to the castle’s treasure but are interrupted by an all-too-human foe.

No.7 King of the Zombies (1941)

Director: Jean Yarbrough
Stars: Dick Purcell, Joan Woodbury, Mantan Moreland


During World War II, a small plane off the south coast of America is low on fuel and blown off course by a storm. Guided by a faint radio signal, they crash land on an island. The passenger, his manservant and the pilot take refuge in a mansion owned by a doctor. The easily spooked manservant soon becomes convinced the mansion is haunted by zombies and ghosts. Exploring, the three find a voodoo ritual in the cellar, where the doctor is trying to acquire war intelligence by transferring personalities into his zombies. But the interruption causes the zombies to turn on their creator.

Six more zombie movies that pre-date 1950 right after the jump…

Pages: 1 2

More Articles Like This

Have Your Say Leave A Comment