Maybe you’re a movie buff, or maybe you’ve heard about the health benefits of watching horror movies. In any case, if you’re going to watch scary films, you should start with the originals. The Universal Classic Monsters not only introduced terror to the big screen, but laid the groundwork for the horror genre and all the spooky flicks we’ve been graced with over the years.

While there are many movies spanning the rein of the monsters, five hold the title of the originals, and once you’ve seen them, you’ll understand why.

Dracula

Backstory

Based loosely on Vlad The Impaler from the 1400s, Count Dracula is, as far as we know, a fictional character. First appearing in Bram Stoker’s novel “Dracula” in 1897, the count is known as the original vampire.

A Transylvanian bachelor who appears to be a debonair, slightly off-kilter and worldly guy, Dracula turns out to be centuries old with the ability to become a bat or crawl up the walls of his castle – and needs to drink human blood to survive.

Beware! This monster’s a trickster and may enter your room at night while you sleep. Keep your turtlenecks and wooden stakes handy.

Movies to Watch

Frankenstein’s Monster

Backstory

Originally imagined by a young Mary Shelley on a rainy day during a competition to think up the most terrifying story (she won), this timelessly terrifying creature is the creation of an ambitious scientist, Dr. Victor Frankenstein. The monster’s body is comprised of parts gathered from graves and was given life during a storm when a lightning bolt struck the doctor’s castle.

But, as most are, this monster is misunderstood and lonely, and fears the rejection Frankenstein showed him. He’s just looking for love and acceptance in the Swiss mountains… or in your closet.

Movies to Watch

Wolf Man

Backstory

A man returns home after the death of his brother and, hoping to impress a local store owner, buys a silver cane from her antique shop. That night in the woods, he kills a wolf with it, but is bitten in the process. He later meets a gypsy who says that wolf was her son, and a werewolf, and because he was bitten, he’s now a werewolf, too.

Talk about the wrong place at the wrong time. Imagine running into a wolf man who doesn’t want to be a wolf man but is just trying to get a date.

Other variations of the story involve being bitten by a werewolf and then becoming one, but the story of a person with a pelt foisted upon them on the full moon remains the same.

Movies to Watch

The Creature From The Black Lagoon

Backstory

After a scientist discovers a fossil in the Amazon jungle, he and his team wander further into unknown territory, and soon learn of a prehistoric creature that lives in the Black Lagoon. When they stumble upon it – a half-man, half-fish-like monster – they get spooked and try to escape. But the creature has other plans.

Another classic story of a misunderstood beast, it’s clear that the creature didn’t want the scientists to leave because he wanted friends! But also, it may be a good idea to scope out the next lagoon you and your friends want to take a dip in before swimming.

Movies to Watch

The Mummy

Backstory

Surely, you’ve heard of this classic romance. A team of archaeologists find the mummified remains of an ancient Egyptian prince, read a scroll aloud, and bring the prince back to life. The prince escapes his tomb, and several years later, is in disguise as a wealthy man, who’s searching Egypt for his long-lost love. He becomes convinced that a random woman is this old flame who’s been reincarnated, and confusing terror ensues.

The lesson here is pretty clear: don’t read scrolls to bring mummies back to life. Sometimes, dead is better (name that Stephen King book!).

Movies to Watch

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Which classic monster movies are your favorite? Email us at living@medicareful.com. Our outside pick would have to be Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein!