Top Ten Horror Movies of the 1970s
The 1970s were a seminal year for horror movies and each release was a classic. Each one. This surge in horror movie success was really an achievement. I’m not sure if it was a surprising achievement or not, but it was a great decade for movies.
10. Don’t Look Now (1973) – Donald Sutherland plays a father with a lot of grief over the death of his child. He really does a good job. The movie has the dread of The Exorcist and many sequences build up to the ending. It has been critically praised for being very well-edited. It sneaks onto my list even though Donald Sutherland goes over-the-top. I like it anyway.
9. The Wicker Man (1973) – The original Wicker Man is a classic. It contains many nods to folktales and has a mystery. It also has a good build to the end. It works well as a small film, and as a fish-out-of-water tale. I don’t mind it. I hate the remake though. This is the version to see if you’re seeking out this film.
8. Black Christmas (1974) – This is a pre-Halloween slasher film. It stars Margot Kidder before she made Superman and The Amityville Horror. It is worth a watch to see its early influence on other movies, like When a Stranger Calls (1979). When a Stranger Calls could easily take this position here, as it’s pretty similar.
7. Shivers (1975) – This one got a positive review from even Roger Ebert, so I think that means something at least. It is a David Cronenberg classic, with all the strange and weird stuff you might imagine. It relies on the fear of sex growing in the 1970s and shocks easily. It is Cronenberg gross too.
6. The Amityville Horror (1979) – This is another Margot Kidder movie that I like. It is well-acted and once again, builds toward the end. It’s a different take on the haunted house tale and has many social themes hiding in the subtext.
5. Jaws (1975) – This classic film just builds and builds until the shark leaps onto the boat like a badass, devouring the captain. I like the witty dialogue in this movie, and the characters play well off each other.
4. Alien (1979) – Another classic that relies on our fears of disease and of outside invaders. When the Alien bursts out of that guy and scurries across the table, I didn’t know whether to laugh or what. It is menacingly scary, mostly because that small little thing becomes a big thing later on. It’s much more scary that way.
3. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) – This is one of the best remakes ever made and it’s an allegory all the same. I watched this movie for Leonard Nimoy, but all of the performances are great. Donald Sutherland appears and puts on an underrated performance.
2. Dawn of the Dead (1978) – A classic zombie movie. Its influence cannot be understated.
1. Halloween (1978) – This movie is even more influential than Dawn of the Dead. Michael Myers is just about as classic as any Universal monster and he’s still talked about today.
0. The Exoricst (1973) – With no room at the top, The Exorcist sneaks in after Halloween as one of the scariest movies ever made. It shocked audiences and made headlines in the 1970s. It is generally regarded as the top horror movie on many lists all over the internet. Whenever Halloween rolls around, I have to see this movie.