The Halloween season is here and in the run up to the big day I decided to examine what is considered “scary” in the world of horror movies.

Going with Rotten Tomatoes list of the 31 scariest movies, I decided to compare each film with another horror film from the same year to determine which one I found scarier.

For this showdown we go back to 1932 and pit the foreign thriller Vampyr vs Bela Lugosi in White Zombie.


After Allan Gray (Julian West) rents a room near Courtempierre in France, strange events unfold: An elderly man leaves a packet on Gray’s table, and shadows that are seemingly alive lead him toward a castle. At a nearby manor, he witnesses the same man being murdered and gradually learns about the curse of the Vampyr. As Gray faces the horrors of the castle, he attempts to save the victim’s daughters — one of whom, Léone (Jan Hieronimko), has fallen ill after mysteriously being bitten.

The threat of a vampire looms across a small town as a man a stranger rents a room looking for peace.


Great atmosphere.

There are some truly disturbing shots throughout the film.


Disturbing, but in no way scary.

The pace is slow and at times, boring.

The performances are wooden.

Not one actual vampire to be found.

White Zombie

Murder Legendre (Bela Lugosi) is the menacingly named zombie master of Haiti. So it’s to him that Charles Beaumont (Robert Frazer) goes when he needs help for a twisted plan. Spurned in marriage by Madeline Short (Madge Bellamy), Beaumont has decided on a simple solution: kill Short and bring her back as a zombie. Then she can be his forever. The only problem comes when Legendre keeps the fetching girl for himself — and her new husband (John Harron) comes to Madeline’s rescue.

Lugosi uses his zombie army to terrorize and kidnap a woman he plans to keep for himself.


Bela Lugosi is fantastic.

Disturbing and scary imagery.

Great performances and tension.


Borderline offensive at times. Blatantly offensive at others.

Pace is too slow.

Not scary

Neither of these films would be considered scary nowadays, but in terms of potential fear-inducing moments, the only clear winner is…..

White Zombie

What’s your opinion? Let me know what you think of one or both of these films in the comments below.

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