Graveyard Shift The Scariest 1970s Horror Movies  

Ranker Horror
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List Rules Vote up the 1970s horror movies that freaked you out and gave you nightmares for weeks, months, or even every decade since.

The 1970s were an influential decade during which major historical events occurred – not to mention the many awesome horror movies that were released during this era! This is a list of horror movies of the 1970s, from The Exorcist to Jaws, ranked by how utterly terrifying they were to audiences then and now. With groundbreaking special effects and creative minds behind the pen and camera, the '70s produced some of movie history’s all-time greatest and scariest horror movies.

Whether you’re looking for a realistic flick based on true (or supposedly true) events or a completely fictional movie, there’s sure to be a great fitting movie on this list for you! The movies featured on this list are some of the scariest ones of all time – who doesn’t shiver at the thought of a little girl’s head turning 360 degrees because she’s been demon possessed, or get a little nervous at the idea of swimming in shark-infested waters, trying to escape as quickly as possible?

This list features the scariest horror movies from the 70s, including: Jaws, Alien, The Hills Have Eyes, When a Stranger Calls, and The Last House on the Left. Vote up your favorite horror movie from the 70s or add one you love that isn't already on the list.

list ordered by

1
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Max von Sydow, Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair 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

2
252 72
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Jamie Lee Curtis, Kyle Richards, Donald Pleasence 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

3
217 54
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Gunnar Hansen, Marilyn Burns, Edwin Neal The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 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 ...more

4
252 80
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Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt, Ian Holm Alien is a 1979 science-fiction horror film directed by Ridley Scott, and starring Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm and Yaphet Kotto. ...more

5
219 75
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Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss, Roy Scheider 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

6
184 63
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John Travolta, Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie 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

7
176 73
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Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner 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

8
147 62
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Tom Savini, Ken Foree, James A. Baffico Dawn of the Dead is a 1978 Italian-American horror drama film written and directed by George A. Romero. It was the second film made in Romero's Living Dead series, but contains no characters or ...more

9
131 62
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Martin Kove, Steve Miner, Fred J. Lincoln 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

10
121 56
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Dee Wallace, Michael Berryman, John Steadman 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

11
113 58
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Robert Duvall, Jeff Goldblum, Leonard Nimoy 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

12
99 55
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Joan Bennett, Alida Valli, Udo Kier 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

13
94 64
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Angus Scrimm, A. Michael Baldwin, Reggie Bannister Phantasm is a 1979 American horror film directed, written, photographed, co-produced, and edited by Don Coscarelli. It introduces the Tall Man, a supernatural and malevolent undertaker who turns ...more

14
84 63
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Margot Kidder, Andrea Martin, Olivia Hussey 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

15
83 62
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Carol Kane, Charles Durning, Rachel Roberts 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

16
47 28
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matt-stokes added George C. Scott, Melvyn Douglas, Barry Morse The Changeling is a 1980 Canadian/American horror film directed by Peter Medak and starring George C. Scott and Trish Van Devere. The story is based upon events that writer Russell Hunter said ...more

17
80 62
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Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland, Edward Woodward 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

18
53 43
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Roddy McDowall, Michael Gough, Pamela Franklin 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

19
53 50
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dee123 added Karen Black, George Gaynes, Gregory Harrison Trilogy of Terror is a made-for-television anthology horror film, first aired as an ABC Movie of the Week on March 4, 1975. The film, directed by Dan Curtis, starred Karen Black. All three ...more

20
17 5
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LilMBlue added James Brolin, Margot Kidder, Rod Steiger 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

21
43 45
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dee123 added Bette Davis, Burgess Meredith, Oliver Reed Burnt Offerings is a 1976 mystery horror film based on the 1973 novel of the same name by Robert Marasco. Directed by Dan Curtis, the film stars Karen Black, Oliver Reed, Bette Davis, Lee H. ...more

22
62 66
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Clint Eastwood, Donna Mills, Jessica Walter Play Misty for Me is a 1971 American psychological thriller film, directed by and starring Clint Eastwood, in his directorial debut. Jessica Walter and Donna Mills co-star. The original music ...more

23
33 31
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JbLee added Dennis Weaver, Jacqueline Scott, Lou Frizzell Duel is a 1971 television thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Richard Matheson, based on Matheson's short story of the same name. It stars Dennis Weaver as a terrified ...more

24
39 41
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dee123 added Vincent Price, Caroline Munro, Joanna Lumley 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
40 45
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dee123 added Jodie Foster, Martin Sheen, Alexis Smith The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane is a 1976 Canadian-French film directed by Nicolas Gessner and starring Jodie Foster, Martin Sheen, Alexis Smith, Mort Shuman, and Scott Jacoby. It was ...more

26
42 45
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Dario Argento, David Hemmings, Gabriele Lavia Deep Red is a 1975 Italian giallo film, directed by Dario Argento and co-written by Argento and Bernardino Zapponi. It was released on 7 March 1975. It was produced by Claudio and Salvatore ...more

27
44 48
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Isabelle Adjani, Klaus Kinski, Bruno Ganz 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

28
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JbLee added Jim Hutton, Kim Darby, Barbara Anderson Don't Be Afraid of the Dark is an American made-for-television dark fantasy film directed by John Newland and starring Kim Darby and Jim Hutton. It was released by Lorimar Productions and was ...more

29
37 42
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dee123 added Zohra Lampert, Barton Heyman, Alan Manson Let's Scare Jessica to Death is a 1971 American horror film, directed by John D. Hancock and starring Zohra Lampert as Jessica. It depicts the nightmarish experiences of a psychologically ...more

30
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JbLee added Ernest Borgnine, Elsa Lanchester, Bruce Davison Willard is a 1971 horror film starring Bruce Davison and Ernest Borgnine, directed by Daniel Mann. The movie is based on the novel Ratman's Notebooks by Stephen Gilbert, and was nominated for an ...more

31
33 41
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dee123 added Dawn Wells, Ben Johnson, Andrew Prine The Town That Dreaded Sundown is a 1976 American horror film by producer and director Charles B. Pierce who also co-stars as a bumbling police officer named A.C. Benson, also known as ...more

32
42 48
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Brooke Shields, Lillian Roth, Linda Miller Alice, Sweet Alice is a 1976 American slasher film co-written and directed by Alfred Sole, and starring Linda Miller, Paula Sheppard, and Brooke Shields in her film debut. The narrative focuses ...more

33
41 48
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Keenan Wynn, John Sayles, Barbara Steele Piranha is a 1978 American B movie about a swarm of killer piranhas. It was directed and co-edited by Joe Dante and starred Bradford Dillman, Heather Menzies, Kevin McCarthy, Keenan Wynn, ...more

34
43 51
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Charlton Heston, Anthony Zerbe, Eric Laneuville The Omega Man is a 1971 American science fiction film directed by Boris Sagal and starring Charlton Heston. It was written by John William Corrington and Joyce Corrington, based on the 1954 ...more

35
41 50
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Michael Ansara, William Wellman Jr., John P. Ryan It's Alive is a 1974 American horror film written, produced, and directed by Larry Cohen. In the movie, a couple's infant child turns out to be a vicious mutant monster that kills when ...more

36
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Anthony Hopkins, Ann-Margret, Burgess Meredith Magic is a 1978 American psychological horror film directed by Richard Attenborough and starring Anthony Hopkins, Ann-Margret, and Burgess Meredith. The screenplay was by William Goldman, who ...more

37
38 46
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Donald Sutherland, Julie Christie, Leopoldo Trieste 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

38
35 43
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Oliver Reed, Samantha Eggar, Art Hindle The Brood is a 1979 Canadian science fiction horror film written and directed by David Cronenberg, starring Oliver Reed, Samantha Eggar, and Art Hindle. The film depicts a series of murders ...more

39
31 39
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Marilyn Chambers, Joe Silver, Susan Roman Rabid is a 1977 Canadian drama horror film written and directed by David Cronenberg. It features Marilyn Chambers in the lead role, supported by Howard Ryshpan, Joe Silver and Robert A. ...more

40
31 43
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lostshadow added Christopher Walken, Jeff Goldblum, Ava Gardner The Sentinel is a 1977 American horror film directed by Michael Winner and starring Cristina Raines, Chris Sarandon, Ava Gardner, Burgess Meredith, Sylvia Miles, and Eli Wallach. Christopher ...more

41
29 41
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John Ritter, Victor French, Diana Muldaur The Other is a 1972 psychological horror film directed by Robert Mulligan, adapted for film by Tom Tryon, from his bestselling novel. It stars Uta Hagen, Diana Muldaur, and Chris and Martin

42
28 40
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Roman Polanski, Shelley Winters, Isabelle Adjani The Tenant is a 1976 psychological horror film directed by Roman Polanski, starring Polanski, Isabelle Adjani, Melvyn Douglas, and Shelley Winters. It is based upon the 1964 novel Le locataire ...more

43
19 27
Gargoyles is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Scariest 1970s Horror Movies
JbLee added Scott Glenn, Cornel Wilde, Bernie Casey Gargoyles is a 1972 horror film written by Steven Karpf and Elinor Karpf and directed by Bill L. Norton.

44
27 39
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Charlotte Rampling, Britt Ekland, Peter Cushing Asylum is a 1972 British horror film made by Amicus Productions. The film was directed by Roy Ward Baker, produced by Milton Subotsky, and scripted by Robert Bloch. Baker had considerable ...more

45
27 39
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Barbara Steele, Joe Silver, Vlasta Vrána Shivers is a 1975 Canadian science fiction body horror film written and directed by David Cronenberg.

46
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dee123 added Anthony Hopkins, Marsha Mason, John Hillerman Audrey Rose is a 1977 psychological horror and drama film directed by Robert Wise, and starring Marsha Mason, Anthony Hopkins, and Susan Swift. It was based on the novel of the same title by ...more

47
11 24
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JbLee added Kim Richards, James Brolin, Kyle Richards The Car is a 1977 thriller film directed by Elliot Silverstein and written by Michael Butler, Dennis Shryack and Lane Slate. The film stars James Brolin, Kathleen Lloyd, John Marley, and Ronny ...more

48
21 43
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dee123 added Jeff Crabtree, Willie E. Smith The Legend of Boggy Creek is a 1972 horror docudrama about the "Fouke Monster," a Bigfoot-type creature that has been seen in and around Fouke, Arkansas since the 1950s. The film mixes ...more

49
20 40
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Kirk Douglas, Daryl Hannah, Jim Belushi The Fury is a 1978 supernatural thriller film directed by Brian De Palma. The film was written by John Farris, based on his novel of the same name. It starred Kirk Douglas, John Cassavetes, ...more

50
20 40
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Margot Kidder, Charles Durning, Olympia Dukakis Sisters is a 1973 American horror film directed by Brian De Palma and starring Margot Kidder, Jennifer Salt and Charles Durning. The plot focuses on a French Canadian model whose separated ...more