Alright folks, I've been on a bit of '70s horror movie binge recently - there's been film festivals in town, random showings of horror flicks, and just general delight at watching some good ol' fashioned gore at home.
I thought it would be so much fun to do a post about some of my top, essential 1970's horrors that I think everybody should definitely watch. There's something just so goofy and entertaining about watching old-school gory cinema, not to mention the wonderful throwback to the costume design and set decoration that's so great to see from that era.
1. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - (1974)
This is such a staple, but genuinely a horror that strikes so much unsettling fear, nnngh. The movie isn't too long, and not much happens for the longest time besides building a gradual unease among the viewer.
The movie is super simple: a group of kids are travelling throughout the backwoods of Texas and run across a family of cannibals that go on a killing spree, chainsaws and all. The plot is weak but decent, a staple for slashers to come. What makes this movie such a gem and such a classic is the building of anxiety and the sensory overload experience; the rich colours, the eerie blacks and darkness. This film traumatizes near the end, after the initial build-up some of the scenes are so sadistic and so raw, you can't help but stare as the mania unfolds. This movie is definitely a landmark for any horror movie buff.
Uh, also, near the end the chase scene between Leatherface and one of the girls is beyond insane. As far as I recall he chases her around for an obscenely long amount of time and you wonder how the hell she keeps on running. Bless her gazelle-like qualities.
Pssst... for all you fashion readers, the outfits the girls wear in the movie are unreal. The red shorts and the lace up halters, such treats and gems. Uffffffff!
2. Susperia - 1977
Yet again, a super simple plot, but creepy nightmare that comes to life where you simply cannot look away. Susperia is an Italian masterpiece that revolves around an American student that travels to Germany to attend an exclusive ballet school. Once she gets there, students start to disappear, murders occur, and there's just gruesome violence all around.
Filmed in insanely bright technicolour, and a soundtrack that won't ever stop pounding directly at you LOUDLY, you can't help but feel a sense of nervousness that resonates with you long after the movie is over. Seriously though - the colours are so in-your-face and murders so vivid, this is truly a orgy of visuals.
3. I Drink your Blood - 1970
A group of hippies go nuts on an teeny tiny sleepy town and a young boy decides to get revenge - with menacing results.
This movie is such a B classic. I saw it at a exploitation movie festival a few months ago and couldn't stop grinning. It was so goofy and over-the top, it was genuinely beyond awesome. Made for audiences going to drive-ins for exploitation flicks, the movie is sleazy and ridiculous, but it doesn't stop you from having fun and enjoying the ride. The movie definitely has some tense moments, but it's also hilarious; it's definitely a retro classic. I couldn't do a list of 1970s horrors without doing at a least one cheesy but memorable gorefest like I Drink your Blood. I mean seriously, hippies gone rabid and foaming at the mouth? Excuse me? What's not to love?
4. Dawn of the Dead - 1978
Ah, George A. Romero. The godfather of all zombie movies. This is one of those rare instances where the sequel is actually better than the original. One interesting thing to note about this zombie delight is Romero's super obvious jab at consumerism; a shopping mall filled with mindless zombies stumbling about. I think that's pretty rad - a horror movie with some social commentary and underlying themes that were evident in the '70s and even today.
Unlike some of the other movies on this list, this movie isn't a typical "Oh my God, something is going to pop out from around the corner and spook you" sort of thing, you actually become invested in main characters. Becoming emotionally attached and not wanting them to get gobbled up is what keeps you anxious throughout.
Sure, the zombies look a bit goofy with the blue facepaint, but Romero is a legend and this movie is a zombie staple that paved the way for many others to come.
5. House (Hausu) - 1977
Right, so. This is one of those indescribable experiences that you're just kind of in awe in while it's happening, and left even more confused about what the hell you just watched afterwards. You don't know why you like it, or why you're grinning, but you definitely know it's something you need to see again. And again. And again. I had the treat of watching this little Japanese psychedelic explosion a few months ago in theatres, and it made absolutely no sense. Who cares though, I've never seen a movie like this before ever and I definitely wasn't anywhere close to bored.
A bunch of schoolgirls head to an aunt's house in the country and slowly get hacked off one by one. Sounds simple enough, but throw in a demonic cat, a bunch of awkward animation, and scenes that don't make any sense all together, and you've got yourself an experience. It's a horror, it's a comedy, it's a fantasy all packaged up in this absurd cult classic that everyone needs to experience at least once.
Outraged that I missed something? Or too busy thinking, "Hey, Marta, you're right on the money", let me know what some of your favourite old-school horrors may be.