By Amy Chesler
Horror is a delicate genre that can easily be overdone, too simplistic, or even too obscure. But the ‘70s had a grasp on what was scary, unlike any other decade did. Its films are truly horrifying on another level and the creep factor is always at maximum. I mean, it's no coincidence that a huge percentage of Hollywood’s horror film juggernaut series were spawned in the ‘70s. Here’s a list of my seven favorite super scary seventies thrillers:
There is, of course, The Exorcist, the story of young Regan, who starts acting quite strange. Her mother seeks help from a local priest that believes the young girl is possessed by the devil. And it is creeeeepy.
The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre was the bone-chilling tale of Sally and her friends, who headed in to the forest at night to find the vandal of their property. Unfortunately, she’s detoured to a decrepit farmhouse that is home to Leatherface, a serial killer who wears a mask of human skin. Thanks, ‘70s, for all the nightmares.
Halloween was likely responsible for instilling fear in all ‘70s youngsters. It starred Michael Myers, a young man committed to a mental institution for killing his sister on Halloween night. Fifteen years later he comes back to the sleepy, little town to wreak way more havoc. And over the next forty years, they released ten more versions or installments of this film. Yikes.
In 1975, beachgoers everywhere were frightened beyond belief by Jaws, the story of a great white shark that attacks Amity Island. An epic adventure and battle ensues between man and beast, and if you haven’t seen Jaws yet, you need to rent it right now.
Stephen King’s Carrie is another gem that does a fabulous job at making you never want to attend high school again. Carrie is about an outcast and telekinetic who is taunted relentlessly by her classmates. Everything comes to a head on prom night when she unleashes her powers and makes partygoers wish they were truly nice to her.
Just when we thought horror couldn’t get scarier, Alien was released. In it, the deep space crew of Nostromo is awakened by a distress signal from an alien spacecraft. Soon after they find the ship, they locate a nest of alien eggs. One ruptures and attaches itself to a crewmate. Talk about scary.
Cult classic Blacula is about an African prince who gets turned in to a vampire boy Count Dracula. He is sealed in to a coffin and doesn’t awaken until the 1970s. Upon coming to life in Los Angeles, he leaves a trail of bloodless victims and gives us a great new take on an old classic.
English horror legends Christopher Lee and Robin Hardy created The Wicker Man, the story of a young girl and the island she goes missing on. After her disappearance, local policemen do all they can to find her, but instead locate a much larger, scarier issue: a secretive community of dangerous Neo-pagans. Remind me to never move to an island.
If none of those were creepy enough for you, there’s always Dario Argento’s Suspiria. It is a beautifully scary story of a German ballet school that has a rash of missing dancers. It’s cruel and sinister without being overdone, just the way I like it.
As the first remake of the classic, Nosferatu the Vampyre, this highly stylized film is everything you’d want from a ‘70s horror film. The undead count takes over a German village and ruthlessly destroys everything that stands in his way. Until he meets our heroine, Lucy, that is. Talk about ‘70s cheese.
Amy Chesler is an author, content creator, blogger, and family woman from Los Angeles, California. Her most recent publications include four different contributions in six different Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, as well as her first solo children’s book, A Man and His Books. Follow her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ABCauthor1), Twitter (@abcauthor), or Instagram (@abc_author) for updates, giveaways, and much more!