Best 70s Horror Movies, Ranked

Often referred to as horror’s greatest decade, the 1970s were an ideal time for the dark side of cinema to thrive. As the hippie vibe of the 60s gradually began to wane, the 70s saw a increase in the ideology of secularism and the questioning of religion and traditional family values. It’s no surprise, then, that many horror films of the era echo these societal fears about the breakdown of families and the lack of Christian morality.

As technology improved and horror became more extreme, the 70s provided the kind of shocking cinema that would have exceeded people’s wildest dreams just a few years earlier. Some of the biggest names in the genre such as John Carpenter, Dario Argento, Tobe Hooper and Ridley Scott solidified their careers during the period. With all that in mind, here’s a list of the 13 best horror movies of the 1970s, ranked.

Related: 10 Scariest Horror Movies From The 80s

13 Issuance


Deliverance, Warner Bros.
Deliverance, Warner Bros.

At the time, Issuance was truly groundbreaking, and it’s no surprise that he was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant”. Containing all the themes and aesthetics of a Grindhouse survival thriller and featuring some of Hollywood’s biggest superstars of the day, including Burt Reynolds and John Voight, the film is also known for its inclusion of a graphic rape scene now synonymous with the phrase “squeal like”. a pig’ and features the most famous and iconic banjo scene in Hollywood history. Despite its controversial content, the film was a critical and box office success, earning three Academy Award nominations and five Golden Globe Award nominations.


12 Suspiria


Suspiria_1977 Produzioni Atlas Consorziate
Produzioni Atlas Consortium

To be fair, a number of films by Italian director Dario Argento could have made it to this list, but Suspiria, is probably one of the best-known and best-loved films in his repertoire. This supernatural horror is about a German ballet academy that is actually home to a clan of witches. really disturbing, Suspiria was recognized as a highly influential film in the supernatural subgenre and was praised for its visual and stylistic flair. The soundtrack of the 70s progressive rock band Leprechaun is also crazy And completely adds to the feeling of unease throughout the film.

11 I spit on your grave


I spit on your grave
The Jerry Gross Organization

This is related to an entrance that divides. As Issuancethe film featured extreme sexual violence and disturbing content, but this time it was increased to 11. Unlike Issuance however, the film lacked any Hollywood flare. It was depraved, nihilistic and completely depressing. It did, however, achieve what it set out to do and was a hard-hitting film, to say the least. Despite performing poorly at the box office, mixed reviews, and being banned almost worldwide for a long time, I spit on your grave continued to raise a massive cult following and became a huge hit when it was made available on VHS tape, reportedly topped sales of The Godfather Part 2 and Fat.


ten Carrie


Carrie
United Artists

Adapted from Stephen King’s “King of Horror” epistolary novel of the same name, Carrie is universally hailed as one of the finest supernatural horrors of all time. Sissy Spacek, in particular, elevates this film to greatness with her portrayal of Carrie White (for which she received a Best Actress nod at the 49th Academy Awards) as an introverted teenager who has been ruthlessly victimized. bullied at school, but then gets revenge in the most obnoxious and shocking fashion.

Related: 10 Best ’90s Horror Movies, Ranked

9 the omen


The Omen, 20th Century Fox
20th century fox

the omen follows young Damien, who was replaced at birth by his father, unbeknownst to his wife, after their biological child died shortly after birth. As a series of mysterious events and violent deaths occur in the family as Damien enters childhood, they learn that he is in fact the prophesied Antichrist. Interestingly, at the time of the film’s release, reviews were mixed, but in retrospect, the film is widely considered an all-time great in the horror genre.


8 eraser head


eraser head
Libra Movies

Shot entirely in black and white and an exercise in surrealism, eraser head is certainly not the most accessible entry on his list, but a classic nonetheless. Revolving around man’s fear of parenthood, it tells the story of a man who must care for his deformed child in a desolate industrial landscape. This David Lynch feature debut is a cult favorite and is another example of a film that has been selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” “.

7 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre


The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Like a number of other entries, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre has been let down by numerous substandard sequels, remakes, and reboots over the years. Thinking back to 1974, when the psychotic Leatherface and his deranged family first unleashed themselves on the public, this was something special. Very loosely based on real-life killer Ed Gein, the film can be credited with creating many of the elements now synonymous with the slasher genre, including the use of tools as weapons of murder and the characterization of the killer as a large, muscular figure. and faceless. It’s also fair to say that it paved the way for these types of films to serve as a vehicle for social commentary as well.


6 dawn of the dead


dawn of the dead
United Film Distribution Company (UFDC)

Following the events that unfolded in George A. Romero’s 1968 film, The Definitive Zombie Movie night of the living dead, the world has been devastated by the ever-growing plague of flesh-eating zombies. Society has disintegrated and the remaining survivors desperately seek refuge. dawn of the dead basically repeats what did night of the living dead a success, but on a larger scale. This time, the protagonists are trapped in a mall rather than a shack, and the hordes of zombies have increased exponentially. While perhaps not as groundbreaking as the original, there’s still plenty of fun to be had in the Romero follow-up. The hands-on special effects are particularly gruesome and may leave some viewers waiting a while before anything effects-related are immediately sent to the CGI department. Additionally, and rather ingeniously, alongside relentless gore and graphic violence, dawn of the dead manages to serve as a subtle social commentary on our materialistic society.

Related: Here Are Some Of The Best Horror Movies Of The 2000s

5 Extraterrestrial


Extraterrestrial
twentieth century fox

There have been countless studies of the themes, subtexts and overtones of 1979 sci-fi horror Extraterrestrial. The film is deep and engaging on many levels and plays much more like a suspense-filled, slow-burning, atmospheric horror film compared to its many more action-oriented sequels. Extraterrestrial was an undeniable game-changer and a masterclass in sci-fi horror. It was ahead of its time and influenced thousands of imitations over the next four decades, released with varying degrees of success. Aside from the gruesome and iconic “chestbuster” alien scene, Extraterrestrial is probably best known for giving the world one of the most badass female leads of all time in Sigourney Weaver. Ripley.

4 The wicker man


The cult dances for a ritual in The Wicker Man
British lion films

This British film about mysterious events in a mysterious pagan community based on a desert island has been described as the ‘Citizen Kane horror movies’ and it’s not hard to see why. Featuring some of the greatest actors of all time on the big screen, including the legendary Edward Woodward and horror icon Christopher Lee, it was one of the best examples of creating a real sense of dread. palpable as the ominous atmosphere culminates in one of cinema’s most memorable and shocking finales.

3 Jaws


roy scheider jaws
Universal images

“You’re gonna need a bigger boat” is one of the most iconic movie lines in history, from one of the most iconic movies in history: Jaws. After watching a relentless great white shark ravage a tourist beach and engage in a fierce battle with a boat and its crew, it wasn’t really a bigger boat than people wanted, though; they wanted to avoid any open water all together. In reality, Jaws and the notion of a vengeful rogue shark spurred a national phobia of the sea, sharks and a real downturn in beach tourism. Activists have spent many years since making concerted efforts trying to educate people to understand and respect the role sharks play in the oceans and the Earth’s ecosystem. Needless to say, the film itself became one of the greatest of all time and practically invented the “summer blockbuster”. Decades later, it’s still just as enjoyable to watch.


2 Halloween


Halloween
Universal images

Halloween pretty much writes the book when it comes to slashing, and Michael Myers is undeniably one of the most revered villains of the entire genre. The film firmly cemented director John Carpenter as one of the masters of horror. He also composed the iconic theme that continues to haunt listeners to this day. Spawning not only multiple sequels, reboots, and remakes, but also countless slasher movies of the same ilk, Halloween is definitely one of the most influential horror films of all time.

Related: Top 10 Horror Movies Of The 2010s, Ranked

1 The Exorcist


The Exorcist, Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

The Exorcist really needs no introduction. As a priest and his mother attempt to exert evil force on a young child, the audience is treated to two hours of truly horrific behavior from the young girl. Whether it’s throwing up, turning your head, swearing, or doing unspeakable things with a crucifix, this movie isn’t for the faint of heart or the faint of stomach. In fact, at the time, it was reported that people were leaving the cinema in droves in disgust, with some even fainting in shock. The film, however, became a huge box office success and is widely considered to be one of the greatest horror films ever made.


13 of the most underrated horror movies of the 1970s

13 of the most underrated horror movies of the 1970s

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