The 21 Best Horror Movies of the 1970s (Part 1)

Posted 2017/10/29 2184 0

The 1970s is arguably the most fruitful and consistently excellent decade for horror cinema.

 

1. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

When Sally (Marilyn Burns) hears that her grandfather's grave may have been vandalized, she and her paraplegic brother, Franklin (Paul A. Partain), set out with their friends to investigate. After a detour to their family's old farmhouse, they discover a group of crazed, murderous outcasts living next door. As the group is attacked one by one by the chainsaw-wielding Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen), who wears a mask of human skin, the survivors must do everything they can to escape.

 

2. Don't Look Now (1973)

Still grieving over the accidental death of their daughter, Christine (Sharon Williams), John (Donald Sutherland) and Laura Baxter (Julie Christie) head to Venice, Italy, where John's been commissioned to restore a church. There Laura meets two sisters (Hilary Mason, Clelia Matania) who claim to be in touch with the spirit of the Baxters' daughter. Laura takes them seriously, but John scoffs until he himself catches a glimpse of what looks like Christine running through the streets of Venice.

 

3. Alien (1979)

In deep space, the crew of the commercial starship Nostromo is awakened from their cryo-sleep capsules halfway through their journey home to investigate a distress call from an alien vessel. The terror begins when the crew encounters a nest of eggs inside the alien ship. An organism from inside an egg leaps out and attaches itself to one of the crew, causing him to fall into a coma.

 

4. The Tenant (1976)

In Paris, isolated Eastern European émigré Trelkovsky (Roman Polanski) rents an apartment in a spooky old building whose inhabitants regard him with suspicion and even outright hostility. When he learns that the apartment's previous tenant, a beautiful woman, tried to commit suicide by jumping out the window, Trelkovsky begins to identify with her in increasingly disturbing ways. Then, to make matters even worse, he reaches the conclusion that his new neighbors are plotting to kill him.

 

5. Black Christmas (1974)

As winter break begins, a group of sorority sisters, including Jess (Olivia Hussey) and the often inebriated Barb (Margot Kidder), begin to receive anonymous, lascivious phone calls. Initially, Barb eggs the caller on, but stops when he responds threateningly. Soon, Barb's friend Claire (Lynne Griffin) goes missing from the sorority house, and a local adolescent girl is murdered, leading the girls to suspect a serial killer is on the loose. But no one realizes just how near the culprit is.

 

6. Dawn of the Dead (1978)

As hordes of zombies swarm over the U.S., the terrified populace tries everything in their power to escape the attack of the undead, but neither cities nor the countryside prove safe. In Pennsylvania, radio-station employee Stephen (David Emge) and his girlfriend, Francine (Gaylen Ross), escape in the station helicopter, accompanied by two renegade SWAT members, Roger and Pete. The group retreats to the haven of an enclosed shopping center to make what could be humanity's last stand.

 

7. The Wicker Man (1973)

Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward) arrives on the small Scottish island of Summerisle to investigate the report of a missing child. A conservative Christian, the policeman observes the residents' frivolous sexual displays and strange pagan rituals, particularly the temptations of Willow (Britt Ekland), daughter of the island magistrate, Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee). The more Sergeant Howie learns about the islanders' strange practices, the closer he gets to tracking down the missing child.

 

8. Jaws (1975)

When a young woman is killed by a shark while skinny-dipping near the New England tourist town of Amity Island, police chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) wants to close the beaches, but mayor Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) overrules him, fearing that the loss of tourist revenue will cripple the town. Ichthyologist Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and grizzled ship captain Quint (Robert Shaw) offer to help Brody capture the killer beast, and the trio engage in an epic battle of man vs. nature.

 

9. The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)

In a desperate attempt to reach his ill wife, organist Anton Phibes (Vincent Price) is horrifically disfigured in a car accident and presumed dead. When he learns that his wife died during an operation, Phibes blames her surgeons and plots an elaborate revenge to punish them for their incompetence. With the help of a mute assistant (Virginia North), Phibes creates a mask resembling his own face and murders the surgeons one by one using bizarre methods inspired by the biblical plagues.

 

10. The Omen (1976)

American diplomat Robert (Gregory Peck) adopts Damien (Harvey Stephens) when his wife, Katherine (Lee Remick), delivers a stillborn child. After Damien's first nanny hangs herself, Father Brennan (Patrick Troughton) warns Robert that Damien will kill Katherine's unborn child. Shortly thereafter, Brennan dies and Katherine miscarries when Damien pushes her off a balcony. As more people around Damien die, Robert investigates Damien's background and realizes his adopted son may be the Antichrist.

 

11. A Bay of Blood (1971)

Following the murder of Countess Federica Donati (Isa Miranda), an heiress possessing a beautiful piece of beachfront property, members of her family and the surrounding community engage in a killing spree, each with his own secret agenda. In addition to the string of creative murders, a group of hippies arrive on the premises, engage in promiscuous sex and find themselves dying one by one in this cult classic that's considered to be the original slasher film.

 

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