Is the Monkey’s Paw a Scary Movie?

When it comes to horror movies, one of the classics that often comes up is “The Monkey’s Paw.” This 1948 film, directed by Norman Lee, is based on the short story by W.W. Jacobs and tells the tale of a cursed monkey’s paw that grants its owner three wishes, with disastrous consequences.

Plot Summary

The movie follows the White family – father George, mother Alice, and son Tom – as they receive the monkey’s paw from an old friend who warns them of its dark power. Despite the warning, they decide to make a wish for money in hopes of improving their financial situation.

Their wish is granted, but at a terrible cost – their son dies in a work accident and they receive compensation money as a result. Distraught and desperate, they make another wish to bring their son back to life. However, when he appears at their doorstep as a zombie-like figure, they realize that bringing him back was not worth the price.

The final wish is made in an attempt to undo all of the previous ones and rid themselves of the curse once and for all. However, it is too late – the monkey’s paw has claimed yet another victim.

Scary Elements

Despite being made over 70 years ago with limited special effects capabilities compared to modern horror movies, “The Monkey’s Paw” still manages to be creepy and unsettling.

One of the main sources of horror comes from the idea that our own desires can lead us down a path of destruction. The White family’s wishes are normal human desires – money, love, and life – but their pursuit of these things ultimately leads to tragedy.

Another factor that adds to the film’s scariness is its use of shadows and lighting. The scenes are often dimly lit or cast in looming shadows that create an ominous atmosphere. The music also plays a big part in setting the mood – it is often eerie and unsettling, heightening the tension in key scenes.


Overall, “The Monkey’s Paw” is a classic horror movie that still holds up today. Its themes of desire, greed, and the consequences of our actions are universal and timeless. While it may not have the same level of gore or jump scares as modern horror films, its eerie atmosphere and psychological elements make it a truly scary movie.

If you’re a fan of classic horror or just looking for a good scare, “The Monkey’s Paw” is definitely worth checking out. Just be careful what you wish for..