Black and White

7 Most Gory Black and White Horror Films

It is easy to ignore classic black and white horror films as not being as scary as the jump-scares and blood we see in many horror films of the 21st Century.

This is the original zombie film which advises you to shoot the zombies in the head or set them on fire to stop them from eating your flesh.

However, these are the films which influenced the gore-filled Saw and Final Destination films. It is essential for any horror film fan to watch and appreciate black and white horror films in order to see how the special effects and camera techniques have developed to the present day.

If you’re looking for gory film recommendations of the black and white variety, you’re in the right place. Remember, this article contains spoilers for the films discussed!

1. Night of the Living Dead (George A. Romero, 1968)

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This classic zombie flick from 1968 is filled with jump scares, the stalking presence of the undead, and gore. The film depicts many scenes featuring close up detail of the gruesome zombies as they hunt down their next victim.

This is the original zombie film which advises you to shoot the zombies in the head or set them on fire to stop them from eating your flesh.

This is a seminal zombie film; including themes of racial and sexual tension and apocalyptic survival. Ben, the main character and the only Black character in the film, plays the role of hero and tries to lead the group to safety by barricading the doors of the house in which they take refuge.

Unfortunately, racial tensions of the 1960s seep into the film and Ben gets shot right at the end of the film after being mistaken by the police for a zombie. This film is incredibly interesting to watch in terms of historical context and simply as a well-structured horror film.

2. Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)

One of the most famous and influential horror films of all time, Hitchcock’s classic, of course, has the infamous shower scene.

could forget the visual of the blood twisting and turning down the shower drain? Completely unexpected and gory, killing the protagonist halfway through the film is a bold move yet reveals how brutal this serial killer is.

Anthony Perkins gives a memorable performance as Norman Bates, cemented by his inner monologue which concludes the film and leaves the audience on edge.

In terms of gore, the knife is an old-school classic murder weapon and, accompanied by the haunting score and unnerving sound effects creates an iconic horror film that fans and critics alike keep going back to.

This film reminds horror fans to always watch out for the quiet ones…

3. Eraserhead (David Lynch, 1977)

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David Lynch’s first feature-length film Eraserhead presents a nightmarish vision of the world. An expert in body horror, Lynch’s film is unrelentingly grim and nihilistic.

The film tells the story of Henry Spencer who is suddenly left to look after his significantly deformed child.

The child is the central source of gore in the film; noticeably inhuman looking, the infant rejects all kinds of nurture attempted to calm it down. Lynch’s surrealist and dystopian vision of parenthood is disturbing.

Featuring moments of decapitation and visceral body horror to make your blood curdle, Lynch’s film is a must see for horror fans who enjoy a bit of surrealism from the king of surrealist horror.

4. The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) (Tom Six, 2011)

Reluctantly add to this list is Tom Six’s sequel to the repulsive Human Centipede film. Infamously banned and heavily censored in many countries for simply being the most disturbing thing anyone has seen, this sequel does not hold back any punches when it comes to gory imagery, body horror and completely unwatchable moments.

Nevertheless, this is one of the more recent films and noticeably it was chosen to be made in black and white, perhaps as a nod to earlier influential black and white horror films.

But in this sequel, the gore factor is turned up to 100. This time, the protagonist is a loner who is inspired to create his own human centipede after watching the first Human Centipede film, it’s all quite meta.

This film is not recommended for viewing for obvious reasons.

5. Nosferatu (F.W. Murnau, 1922)

The oldest film on this list is the classic vampire flick, Nosferatu. Filled with creepy shadows, haunting locations and of course, blood sucking, Nosferatu should be seen by any horror fan to acknowledge its iconic status and influence on every other vampire film.

Even if you haven’t seen the film, you have definitely seen the striking stills from the film of Max Schreck as vampire protagonist Count Orlok. With his bony, porcelain face and claw-like hands, for many this is the original vampire.

Whilst, the story of Nosferatu is indeed similar to that of Count Dracula, there is a change in setting (from 1890s Britain to 1830s Germany) and most notably, Orlok does not change people into vampires like Dracula does; humans are simply for his consumption.

6. The Addiction (Abel Ferrara, 1995)

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A lesser-known film on the list, The Addiction, is an allegory about drug addiction and sin. Again, following a vampire narrative but with more emphasis on sexual relations and reckless behaviour. The film follows Kathleen, an introverted philosophy student in New York.

We see Kathleen gradually develop more and more recognisable symptoms of vampirism as she begins to avoid sunlight and becomes more aggressive. In one of the goriest sequences at the graduation party, Kathleen and Jean feast on the blood of a waitress in a storage cupboard.

With strong sexual themes and blood featured in almost every scene, this is not a film for the faint-hearted. Ultimately, Kathleen overdoses on her addiction to blood and meets a gruesome end.

7. Eyes Without a Face/Les Yeux Sans Visage (Georges Franju, 1960)

Another body horror film but perhaps less famous than Lynch’s Eraserhead is Eyes Without a Face or ‘Les yeux sans visage.’

This French-Italian horror tells the tale of a plastic surgeon who performs a face transplant on his daughter who was disfigured in a car crash.

Similarly, to the shocking Human Centipede 2, Eyes Without a Face was heavily censored by European standards, with the gore being significantly minimised, but still generated controversy upon its release. The most notable and harrowing visual from the film is mask worn by the daughter Christiane to cover up her disfigurement.

It is clear to see that the infamous mask from The Silence of the Lambs was inspired by this uncanny face mask. Ultimately, the film is about an obsessive father in the role of the mad scientist.

This is a film that features many sequences and close-up shots of precarious surgery so if you’re a fan of medical dramas and real-life documentaries of surgery, then this might be up your street.

This list includes a variety of films and recommendations for black and white horror films you may not have even heard of before.

It is important to appreciate black and white horror films and how they still scare us despite not featuring the iconic colour of blood which is splattered across so many contemporary horror films.

There is a certain haunting quality that only black and white horror films achieve. So, consider these titles for your next horror movie night!