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The Best '70s Horror Movies 

Ranker Horror
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Updated October 28, 2019 51.2k votes 3.3k voters 82.8k views 132 items

List Rules Only horror films released between 1970 and 1979

List of the best '70s horror movies, ranked by horror buffs, film buffs, and Ranker buffs. President Richard Nixon’s resignation, the age of disco, the end of the Vietnam War, the oil crisis, the Camp David Accords – for most, these are the highlights of the 1970s decade. For others, it was The Exorcist, Halloween, and Dawn of the Dead. What were the best horror films of the '70s?

Let’s face it: some of the movies from this decade were just, well, cheesy. Fortunately, others have stood the test of time as being some of the greatest horror movies of all time. Whether you’re in the mood for more of a realistic thriller, a cheesy girl’s night kind of flickm or a old scary movie that was based on actual events, there’s a horror movie on this list that will make your night.

This list discusses the best horror movies of the '70s, including: Alien, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Hills Have Eyes, and The Wicker Man. Vote for your favorite 1970s horror movies, and please add any that we missed.

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Max von Sydow, Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair

Released: 1973

Directed by: William Friedkin

The Exorcist is a 1973 American supernatural horror film directed by William Friedkin, adapted by William Peter Blatty from his 1971 novel of the same name. The book, inspired by the 1949 ...more

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Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt, Ian Holm

Released: 1979

Directed by: Ridley Scott

Alien is a 1979 science fiction horror film directed by Ridley Scott. The crew of the commercial space tug Nostromo encounter the eponymous Alien, a deadly and aggressive extraterrestrial set ...more

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50 Surprising Facts You Didn't Know About Alien #2 of 191 The Best Alien Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

3
Halloween is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best '70s Horror Movies
Jamie Lee Curtis, Kyle Richards, Donald Pleasence

Released: 1978

Directed by: John Carpenter

Halloween is a 1978 American independent slasher horror film directed and scored by John Carpenter, co-written with producer Debra Hill, and starring Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis in her ...more

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Stories About Jamie Lee Curtis From Behind The Scenes Of The Original ‘Halloween’  #4 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #269 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

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dee123 added Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss, Roy Scheider

Released: 1975

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Jaws is a 1975 American thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and based on Peter Benchley's novel of the same name. The prototypical summer blockbuster, its release is regarded as a ...more

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Behind The Scenes Of Every Death In ‘Jaws’ #16 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetimelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

5
The Texas Chain Saw Mass... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best '70s Horror Movies
Gunnar Hansen, Marilyn Burns, Edwin Neal

Released: 1974

Directed by: Tobe Hooper

This movie is a 1974 American slasher film, directed and produced by Tobe Hooper, who cowrote it with Kim Henkel. It stars Marilyn Burns, Paul A. Partain, Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow and Gunnar ...more

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The Most Chilling Quotes From 'The Texas Chain Saw Massacre' #6 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #1,404 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

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Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner

Released: 1976

Directed by: Richard Donner

The Omen is a 1976 British/American supernatural horror film directed by Richard Donner. The film stars Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner, Harvey Spencer Stephens, Billie Whitelaw, Patrick ...more

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dee123 added John Travolta, Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie

Released: 1976

Directed by: Brian De Palma

Carrie is a 1976 American supernatural horror film based on Stephen King's first major 1974 novel of the same name. The film was directed by Brian De Palma and written by Lawrence D. Cohen. The ...more

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The Scariest Quotes From 'Carrie' Will Have You Seeing Red #11 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #384 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

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Tom Savini, Ken Foree, James A. Baffico

Released: 1978

Directed by: George A. Romero

This film is a 1978 Italian-American horror drama film written and directed by George A. Romero. It was the second film made in Romero's series, but contains no characters or settings from them, ...more

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#28 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #661 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #172 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys

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RonPierce added David Soul, Bonnie Bedelia, Lew Ayres

Released: 1979

Directed by: Tobe Hooper

Salem's Lot is a 1979 American television adaptation of the novel of the same name by Stephen King. Directed by Tobe Hooper and starring David Soul and James Mason, the plot revolves around a ...more

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#69 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #119 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #1 of 18 Obscure Horror Movies from the 1970s You Should Know About

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MichaelCoughlin added Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland, Edward Woodward

Released: 1973

Directed by: Robin Hardy

The Wicker Man is a 1973 British mystery horror film directed by Robin Hardy and written by Anthony Shaffer. The film stars Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Diane Cilento, Ingrid Pitt, and ...more

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#124 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #56 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #7 of 21 Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies

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Dee Wallace, Michael Berryman, John Steadman

Released: 1977

Directed by: Wes Craven

The Hills Have Eyes is a 1977 American exploitation-horror film written and directed by Wes Craven and starring Susan Lanier, Michael Berryman and Dee Wallace. It is about a suburan family on a ...more

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#128 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #226 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #1 of 20 20 Horrifying Crime Movies Whose True Stories Are Way More Terrifying

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Martin Kove, Steve Miner, Fred J. Lincoln

Released: 1972

Directed by: Wes Craven

The Last House on the Left is a 1972 American exploitation-horror film written, edited, and directed by Wes Craven and produced by Sean S. Cunningham. The story is inspired by the 1960 Swedish ...more

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#143 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #32 of 137 The Goriest Movies Ever Made #136 of 591 The Best '70s Movies

13
Invasion of the Body Sna... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best '70s Horror Movies
Hans Curtis added Robert Duvall, Jeff Goldblum, Leonard Nimoy

Released: 1978

Directed by: Philip Kaufman

Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a 1978 science fiction thriller directed by Philip Kaufman, and starring Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Veronica Cartwright, Jeff Goldblum and Leonard Nimoy. ...more

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#58 of 191 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made #77 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #85 of 568 The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time

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RonPierce added Angus Scrimm, A. Michael Baldwin, Reggie Bannister

Released: 1979

Directed by: Don Coscarelli

Phantasm is a 1979 American horror film directed, written, photographed, co-produced, and edited by Don Coscarelli. It introduces the Tall Man. He is opposed by a young boy, Mike, who tries to ...more

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#91 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #146 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #51 of 128 The Best Horror Movie Franchises

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MichaelCoughlin added James Brolin, Margot Kidder, Rod Steiger

Released: 1979

Directed by: Stuart Rosenberg

The Amityville Horror is a 1979 American supernatural horror film, directed by Stuart Rosenberg, based on Jay Anson's bestselling 1977 novel of the same name. It is the first film in the ...more

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#19 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #110 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #12 of 20 20 Horrifying Crime Movies Whose True Stories Are Way More Terrifying

16
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MichaelCoughlin added Susan Sarandon, Tim Curry, Meat Loaf

Released: 1975

Directed by: Jim Sharman

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a 1975 musical horror comedy film by 20th Century Fox produced by Lou Adler and Michael White and directed by Jim Sharman. The screenplay was written by Sharman ...more

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MichaelCoughlin added Carol Kane, Charles Durning, Rachel Roberts

Released: 1979

Directed by: Fred Walton

When a Stranger Calls is a 1979 psychological horror film. It was directed by Fred Walton and stars Carol Kane and Charles Durning. The film derives its story from the classic folk legend of ...more

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#114 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #285 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #68 of 147 The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time

18
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Don't Look Now Donald Sutherland, Julie Christie, Leopoldo Trieste

Released: 1973

Directed by: Nicolas Roeg

Don't Look Now is a 1973 independent British-Italian film directed by Nicolas Roeg. It is a thriller adapted from the short story by Daphne du Maurier. Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland star ...more

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#155 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #332 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #531 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars

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Muttley Dastardly added Tales from the Crypt Joan Collins, Peter Cushing, Ralph Richardson

Released: 1972

Directed by: Freddie Francis

Tales from the Crypt is a 1972 British horror film, directed by Freddie Francis. It is an anthology film consisting of five separate segments, based on stories from EC Comics. Only two of the ...more

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#82 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #164 of 509 The Scariest Movies Ever Made #33 of 207 The Best Classic Horror Movies

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Roddy McDowall, Michael Gough, Pamela Franklin

Released: 1973

Directed by: John Hough

The Legend of Hell House is a 1973 British horror film directed by John Hough and based on the American novel Hell House by Richard Matheson, who also wrote the screenplay. The film stars Pamela ...more

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#301 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #9 of 36 The Best Horror Movies About Hell #55 of 142 The Best Supernatural Horror Movies, Ranked

21
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Joan Bennett, Alida Valli, Udo Kier

Released: 1977

Directed by: Dario Argento

Suspiria is a 1977 Italian horror film directed by Dario Argento, co-written by Argento and Daria Nicolodi, and co-produced by Claudio and Salvatore Argento. The film stars Jessica Harper as an ...more

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#172 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #100 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #9 of 21 Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies

22
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MichaelCoughlin added I Spit on Your Grave Camille Keaton, Richard Pace, Gunter Kleeman

Released: 1978

Directed by: Meir Zarchi

Day of the Woman is a controversial 1978 cult classic rape and revenge film. The film received a limited release, with a wider release in 1980. Prominent film critics condemned the film for its ...more

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#4 of 82 Great Movies About Furious Women Out for Revenge #20 of 117 The Most Nausea-Inducing Great Films #14 of 21 20 Most Essential Female-Led Horror Films

23
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Margot Kidder, Andrea Martin, Olivia Hussey

Released: 1974

Directed by: Bob Clark

Black Christmas is a 1974 Canadian independent horror film directed by Bob Clark and written by A. Roy Moore. It stars Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, Andrea Martin, Marian Waldman ...more

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#168 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #95 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #47 of 100 The Best Movies On Shudder

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Vincent Price, Caroline Munro, Joanna Lumley

Released: 1971

Directed by: Robert Fuest

The Abominable Dr. Phibes is a 1971 British horror film starring Vincent Price and American actor Joseph Cotten. Its art deco sets, dark humour and performance by Price have made the film and ...more
25
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JamesArmstrong added Isabelle Adjani, Klaus Kinski, Bruno Ganz

Released: 1979

Directed by: Werner Herzog

Nosferatu the Vampyre is a 1979 West German art house vampire film written and directed by Werner Herzog. Its original German title is Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht. The film is set primarily in ...more

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