We can trace horror as a genre back in the 1930s, but the lot size was very less. 1970 can be taken as the breeding ground for the genre, we saw exclusive horror movies hitting the cinemas right through the decade. Here, you can find the details about best horror movies of 1970s.
It was just the time when the images from the Vietnam war were out for the public, and the gnarly pictures were on display. Horror was deeply settled in the audience of that time and particularly the families of the people who actually fought the war. This marked for the immense success of the horror flicks that paved their way in the ’70s. The sequence continued with the Best Horror Movies of the 1980s as well. The cinematic world was still under a great deal of development particularly the special effects department. It was not only America that contributed to the horror content for the decade, but we also have Italy, Spain, and Britain chipping in with some notable contributions.
You will have a quality time exploring the top Horror Movies of the ’70s.
Best Horror Movies of 1970’s
10. The Exorcist
Initial Release – 26 December 1973
Director – William Friedkin
The Exorcist is a horror-thriller film based on 1971’s novel of the same name which was inspired by the real-life tale of a 12-year-old boy Roland Doe who was possessed by a demon and the exorcism was performed on him by two priests.
The film follows the story of an actress who struggles to save her young daughter from demonic possession by calling a priest for help to perform an exorcism. This is where the story takes a gnarly leap, the spirit isn’t ready to leave the soul so easily. However, this doesn’t happen so easily as the evil spirit in the little girl seems rebellious and has some other motives.
9. The Legacy
Release: 29 September 1978
Directed by: Richard Marquand
With Katharine Ross, Sam Elliott, Roger Daltrey, and John playing the lead roles, 1978 released Horror/Supernatural film follows the story of a couple who while visiting England, are being called to a mansion where they come to know about its family ‘curse’. The main theme that has been presented in the movie is karma. The story is built around a group of six people, including the protagonist, Maggie, who are gathered in the ancient mansion where the spookiness begins. The movie had many plot holes, the reason why it received mixed reviews from the critics. However, the acting by Daltrey was well-praised by all.
8. The Other
Release: 26 May 1972
Directed by: Robert Mulligan
The American Horror/Psychological Thriller is adapted from Thomas Tryon’s novel having the same name as the movie. The movie stars Uta Hagen, Diana Muldaur, and twins Chris and Martin Udvarnoky. The story revolves around a family on a Connecticut farm that finds itself trapped inside a circle of unanswered deaths. They learn that the deaths are somewhere connected with the ten-year-old twins, Chris, the shy one, and Martin. What we have to find out is who is the evil one out of the two. Is it Chris? Or is it Martin? This creepy tale manages to provide a thrilling experience to the viewers every time!
7. The Haunting of Julia
Release: 11 September 1977
Directed by: Richard Loncraine
Starring Mia Farrow, Keir Dullea, Tom Conti, Jill Bennett, and Robin Gammell, the movie is an adaptation of Peter Straub’s novel ‘Julia’. The movie, also known as Full Circle (it’s American title) is a Horror/Mystery, that follows the story of Julia who gets devastated due to her daughter’s death.
Things start getting worse when she moves into a hostile ages-old mansion, where the spirits of other children begin to haunt her while she is still disturbed with her daughter’s passing away. This slow-progressing movie leaves the required effect on the audience making use of its eerie elements. Though being quite predictable, it knows how and where to deliver the chills to the audience.
6. Black Christmas
Release: 11 October 1974
Directed by: Bob Clark
Written by A. Roy Moore and produced by Bob Clark, this movie was originally titled as Silent Night, Evil Night. Starring Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder and Andrea Martin in leading roles, the story is about how a group of sorority sisters starts receiving terrifying phone calls, followed by a series of events including stalking and ultimately getting killed during the Christmas season. It has a cult status among the viewers and besides that, the movie has been praised by critics.
It is known to be one of the first slasher films which have been made to date. The movie has some really good plot twists which make it an absolutely awesome and unpredictable experience!
Release : 3 November 1976
Directed by: Brian De Palma
An adaptation of Stephen King’s novel has the same name, like the movie, this is the first installment of the Carrie franchise. Written by Lawrence D. Cohen, the film stars Sissy Spacek, John Travolta, and Piper Laurie. It is a story of a shy high-school girl, Carrie, who is constantly picked on by her classmates. But, on the day of prom night, after being extremely humiliated by her nemesis, she becomes aware of the telekinetic powers she possesses. She starts using her power whenever she gets humiliated after a prank.
We have seen many films with high-school bullying but this one with it’s the ability to connect with the audience and make the audience feel sympathetic about Carrie, truly makes it an exception!
4. The Omen
Release: 6 June 1976
Directed by: Richard Donner
The Supernatural/Horror movie, written by Davis Seltzer, stars Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner, and Harvey Spencer Stephens. The movie with some really ‘memorable’ scenes, has still managed to maintain a special place in its viewer’s hearts. Being ranked as one of the best horror films of 1976, this movie very well managed to terrify the audience with its unpredictable creepy scenes.
The story is about a boy named, Damien who is the young son of a couple living in London. As many accidents start taking place, silently around Damien, including deaths. His parents come to know that their son is marked with Satan’s sign, the “666”. They learn that their son is anti-Christ.
3. Deep Red
Release: 7 March 1975
Directed by: Dario Argento
1975 released, Italian film, also known as The Hatchet Murders, stars Macha Meril and David Hemmings. The story follows a pianist investigating a series of murders. All the murders have been performed by a strange figure wearing black gloves. The movie is considered as a ‘masterpiece by it’s the director’ and ‘classic’. You can enjoy some similar films under the Best Psychological films ever made.
The film ends on such a thrilling note, that leaves the audience absolutely astounded! The movie has an average rating of 8.2/10 based on audience reviews, on the Rotten Tomatoes website. If you have an interest in the slasher genre, I would definitely recommend you to watch this one!
Release on: 25 October 1978
Director: John Carpenter
Written by John Carpenter and Debra Hill, this movie has been named as the ‘third scariest movie ever made’ by the Chicago Film Critics Association. The film stars Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis in the leading roles. The movie revolves around a lunatic patient who had been in a sanitarium for having murdered his sister on Halloween night, at the age of six. After fifteen years, he escapes and returns back to his hometown, where he starts following a babysitter and her friends.
He makes a return to traumatizing all! This movie even in today’s time is considered a nice terrifying movie. It is creepy at the same time suspenseful, plus, the acting Donald Pleasance makes it a visual treat!
Release: 26 December 1975
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Produced by Richard D. Zanuck, this Horror/Thriller film is based on a novel that goes by the same name, written by Peter Benchley. It is about a ‘man-eating’ shark who had petrified the island of Amity. Martin, the police Chief, Quint, the shark hunter, and Matt, the marine biologist together set out to finish the ‘man-eating’ shark. Being considered as one of its kind, the movie is an absolute delight to watch, with some really well-shot scenes that give real chills to the viewers. Right from the very first sequence of the movie, it manages to engage the audience until the very last scene.