Horror films became insanely popular in the 1970s and as such it has since become an incredible decade for the genre. Many classics were born: The Exorcist, John Carpenter’s Halloween, The Hills Have Eyes, Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Suspiria, Jaws, The Wicker Man, Dawn of the Dead… the list goes on. Much of the techniques and narratives used in these films inspired modern-day horror filmmakers, and producers are constantly mining the decade for remake material.
The 1970s was truly a golden era in horror cinema (as evidenced by these '70s horror movies) but sadly, it seems that each time a classic is born, another clever creation gets overlooked, slips through the cracks, and is eventually forgotten. This list covers some of those quirky diamonds in the rough that definitely deserve more attention. Whether you've seen them before or they're new to you, these strange and terrifying cinematic experiences should be on your regular spooktacular watch list.
- Photo: Universal Pictures
The plot focuses on model Alison Parker (Cristina Raines) who gets a great deal on a historic Brooklyn apartment. The building is brimming with evil, excommunicated Catholic priests, and may just house a gateway to hell.
This film was one of many Satan-themed pictures released in the wake of The Exorcist's success, and while it certainly isn't as good as that film, there are numerous notable qualities that make this one a fun watch, including a rather grody orgy scene followed by a random suicide attempt, a brief appearance by a young Jeff Golblum, Burgess Meredith as a sweet but creepy neighbor, naked birthday parties, and an awkward masturbation scene featuring Beverly D'Angelo. What's not to love?
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- Actors: Christopher Walken, Jeff Goldblum, Ava Gardner, Tom Berenger, Eli Wallach
- Released: 1977
- Directed by: Michael Winner
- Photo: Allied Artists
This American slasher film was written and directed by Alfred Sole. The plot surrounds the untimely and violent death of little Karen Spages. Suspicion quickly falls on on her jealous, unstable, and hateful sister Alice played by Paula E. Sheppard.
The brightly-colored rain slicker and heavily-made-up girl mask is a stark contrast to most slasher antagonists, and overall Alice, Sweet Alice has a more dreamlike, ethereal feel than other similar titles. Fans of Suspiria should definitely check this one out.
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- Actors: Brooke Shields, Lillian Roth, Linda Miller, Mildred Clinton, Alphonso DeNoble
- Released: 1976
- Directed by: Alfred Sole
- Photo: United Artists
The peaceful life of the Templeton family is turned upside down when they notice a stranger is stalking them and their daughter Ivy (Susan Swift) suddenly begins having terrible memories of things that never happened. A man named Elliot Hoover (Anthony Hopkins) approaches the family and tries to convince them that Ivy is the reincarnation of his daughter Audrey Rose. Robert Wise (The Haunting) directed this psychological horror based on the Frank De Felitta novel of the same name.
If you've ever read Stephen King's Pet Sematary, you'll remember a brief shout out to this film there.
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- Actors: Anthony Hopkins, Marsha Mason, John Hillerman, John Beck, Norman Lloyd
- Released: 1977
- Directed by: Robert Wise
Don't Look NowPhoto: British Lion Films
Nicolas Roeg directed this occult thriller with a serial killer subplot and a Hitchcockian approach to its visual theme. A grief-stricken couple, John (Donald Sutherland) and Laura (Julie Christie) Baxter, relocate to Venice, Italy, after losing their daughter in a drowning accident. An old psychic woman claims to be able to see the spirit of their child and warns that John is in danger. Soon John begins having his own visions of a child in a red coat, much like the one his daughter wore the day she died, wandering the streets of Venice.
Not quite as obscure as some of the other titles on this list, Don't Look Now is nonetheless less famous among certain horror fan sects, and thus it is required viewing for anyone needing a crash course in how to do tension and suspense correctly.
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- Actors: Donald Sutherland, Julie Christie, Leopoldo Trieste, Massimo Serato, Hilary Mason
- Released: 1973
- Directed by: Nicolas Roeg