9 movies that changed 3D forever

3D movies - all about the specs appeal
3D movies - all about the specs appeal

Believe it or not 3D movies have been around since the dawn of filmmaking, quite possibly dating back to 1895. We don't claim to have seen all of them here at 3D Radar but as fans of the format (and cinema nuts to boot) we've followed its journey from the lens to the living room more with the kind of focus normally reserved for a line judge at Wimbledon.

Of course, some 3D movies succeed more than others in their implementation of 3D effects but the hallmark of a truly successful film is how well it blends three dimensional trickery with an involving story. Simple we know, but if you've forked out for a small fortune for the privilege of maybe getting a headache you expect some kind of payback.

Here's our list of all-time top 3D movies:

1. House of Wax (1953)

The first full-colour 3D film from a major Hollywood studio, this glorious slice of horror stars the legendary Vincent Price as the disfigured sculptor behind a House of Wax museum who has a special process that ensures his are the most realistic waxworks imaginable.

The film not only pioneered many familiar 3D tricks (such as a paddleball coming out of the screen), but was directed by Andre de Toth - who was blind in one eye and couldn't actually see 3D effects!

2. Kiss Me Kate (1953)

Inspired by The Taming of the Shrew, this lavish MGM musical is a riot of colour and spectacle in the 'flat' 2D incarnation most viewers are familiar with these days, but in its original 3D form it was pretty much the Avatar of its day.

Not only does it feature great songs, great performances and making great use of the additional dimension during its musical sequences, it also probably features more spanking than any other 3D film ever made.

3. Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

Following the success of It Came from Outer Space the previous year, Universal Pictures submerged itself in the world of 3D once again in 1954 with this memorable creature-feature.

The presence of the gorgeous swimsuit-wearing Julia Adams rendered in 3D is one reason the film has endured so well, the other being that it's also a bloody good movie that'll keep you gripped from start to finish.

4. Dial M for Murder (1954)

Even Alfred Hitchcock tried his hand at 3D with this thriller about a retired tennis pro (Ray Milland) who wishes to have his wife (Grace Kelly) murdered.

Sadly for Hitch - and audiences, the film arrived just as the '50s 3D craze was on the wane, meaning that most cinemas only ended up showing the flat 2D version of the movie instead. Thankfully, the 3D version has appeared on revival tours since the early '80s allowing audiences a chance to catch the film as it was always meant to be seen.

5. Flesh for Frankenstein (1973)

Never before - or since come to think of it - have so many internal organs and bits of intestines been thrust out of the screen and into the audience's lap than in the wonderfully lurid Flesh for Frankenstein (aka Andy Warhol's Frankenstein).

Udo Kier stars as the mad professor trying to breed his newly created male and female monsters to create a race of supermen, only to discover that they have no interest in each other, with the male preferring the prof's wife!

6. Comin' at Ya! (1981)

Credited as the film that started the 3D boom of the early 1980s, Comin' at Ya! is the suitably in-your-face title for a low-budget spaghetti western homage that throws everything it can think of at the audience and in the process create a truly unique 3D movie experience.

The plot isn't up to much, but the 3D effects are fantastically mad mixing spilled beans and a baby's bare bottom with the expected bullets and fists thrown at the viewer's face.

7. Coraline (2009)

This super-creepy stop-motion animation from the director of The Nightmare Before Christmas is a masterclass in making a 3D movie. Every scene is designed and shot to make the most of the additional depth offered by stereoscopic filmmaking, giving it all a suitably warped theatrical feeling.

8. Avatar (2009)

Fifteen years in the making, writer/director James Cameron always claimed that his 3D sci-fi epic would be a cinematic game-changer. And you know what? He was right.

While the cutting-edge CG effects were impressive enough, it was Cameron's use of 3D as an immersive experience rather than a simple gimmick that really made Hollywood sit up and pay attention - well, that and the $2.7billion it raked in at the box office.

9. Toy Story 3 (2010)

Pixar's latest and arguably greatest computer-animated feature, this new sequel in the Toy Story series finds Woody, Buzz and the rest of the toys dumped in a day-care centre when their grown-up owner Andy heads off to college.

Every bit as moving and exciting as the previous instalments, it also makes excellent use of 3D technology to draw you into the toys' world and make you feel like you're sharing their adventures in person.