It might be a hijack of this thread, or it might be a natural evolution of the discussion, so I’ll mention it here, and let groupthink determine whether or not it should be taken to a new thread, so…
What, in your opinion, is the oldest movie that is still legitimately scary?
The best answer, I think, from beginning to end, is 1963’s The Haunting. (Forget the remake from 1999; it’s dogshit.) 1960’s Psycho has some good stuff, but it’s so well known that the surprises don’t really work any more; it’s entered the collective mind. The Haunting, by contrast, is fairly unknown, and still has the power to freak people out.
Alternatively, if that’s the metric, then for sheer freakout value, Browning’s Freaks, from 1932, has a couple of sequences that haven’t lost their skin-crawling power despite being 76 years old. The bulk of the movie is a stodgy melodrama that the modern audience sort of snickers at, but when it gets really roaring, it’s still legitimately disturbing.
Likewise Nosferatu from 1922. A lot of it, as you would expect, is dated. But every now and then, it suddenly channels an otherworldly something that makes your hair stand up.
It’s only intermittent, though, which is why I’m sticking with The Haunting.
Anyway: new thread, or carry on here?