Horror movies have been around for a long time. To some they might be barely above snuff films, not worth paying attention to. When actually a lot of horror movies reflect the social problems of the time. Below are a seven horror movies from the 70s everyone should absolutely watch. They changed the way horror movies were made and pioneered the genre into what it is today.
1. The Stepford Wives
“The Stepford Wives” is nowhere near as bloody as other films on this list it is one of the darkest, if not the darkest. The 1975 film follows young mother Joanna after her family leaves the city for the more quaint and quiet suburb of Stepford. The women in the community lack any sort of identity, instead they are the perfect housewife but barely a fully formed human. After her friends Bobbie and Charmaine change she realizes the horrific truth behind the seemingly perfect neighborhood. “The Stepford Wives” ends with Joanna being murdered by a robot the men of Stepford created to take her place to become the “perfect” wife. This film came out during the time when women were just beginning to explore life beyond the home and showed the immense backlash many women faced from the hands of the men who claimed they loved them. In this horror movie there isn’t a crazed killer or a creature from the great beyond. The true monsters of this movie are the men who view their wives as expendable.
2. The Exorcist
If you ask any passive movie goer to name a horror movie the chances they’ll say “The Exorcist” is very high. This is an infamous film that still to this day leaves audiences completely unsettled. The 1973 film follows single mother Chris battling for the soul of her 12-year-old daughters soul. Regan is seemingly possessed by a demon who causes her body to deform to the point of being completely grotesque. While it ends with Regan’s soul getting saved the demon managed to kill two priests in the process. “The Exorcist” is the first horror film to be nominated for Best Picture, and it took home the award for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Is this a science fiction film? Yes. Is this a horror movie? Absolutely. Ridley Scott’s “Alien” broke barriers in both genres and has gone down as one of the most iconic movie series of all time. The film follows a crew of a commercial starship that received an unknown distress call. While exploring the ship they discover alien eggs, with one explodes and a creature attaches to one of the crew members face. Senior officer Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) adamantly discourages him to be allowed back on the ship but is overruled by another crew member. After the creature seemingly dies on its own the team begins getting back to normal when to their horror a small alien bursts out of the chest of the injured man, running off. From there the rapidly growing creature begins killing everyone off until Ripley manages to launch the alien into space. The lone survivor she returns back to stasis while heading back to earth.
While it wasn’t the first film in the slasher genre this horror movie certainly put it on the map. John Carpenter’s “Halloween” follows crazed killer Michael Myers on Halloween night while he picks off a group of unsuspected teenagers one by one. The 1978 film has spawned countless sequels and turned the babysitter killer Michael Myers into one of the most iconic horror movie monsters of all times. Beyond the fact that this movie revolves around the holiday Halloween it dives into some of the innate fears people had then and now. While remakes tried to create reason beyond his blood lust the original film leaves it up in the air. “Halloween” opens with a six-year-old Myers murdering his older sister, his parents finding him outside with a bloodied knife in hand looking at the camera completely expressionless. This idea that evil can just happen, it doesn’t have to be created and it can be completely without reason terrified audiences. The film also paved the way for future movie killers but most importantly for the concept of final girls. Laurie Strode is often credited as the final girl, a young woman who manages to survive if not defeat the movie monster. While a few of the “Halloween” films that came after are enjoyable, the one where it all started is a film that will go down in history as one of the most important horror movies of all time.
There are few things in this world more horrific than going through puberty as a young girl. That’s exactly the sentiment behind the 1976 horror movie “Carrie”. Based off of a Stephen King book of the same name the film covers the loneliness, wickedness and struggles of making the transition from young girl to young woman. While most young girls lack the ability to move things with their mind this film follows outsider Carrie White as she maneuvers the bullies at her school, her abusive mother and discovering she has telekinetic powers. Everything comes to blows during the iconic prom scene where a bucket of pig blood is dumped on Carrie, causing her to finally snap and murdering nearly everyone at the dance. This film had a lasting impression on the horror community.It paved the way for future shows and movies that use the supernatural to explore the mundane yet difficult years of adolescence. “Carrie” also brought up the idea of how sheltering children can sometimes do more harm than good.
6. Last House On The Left
Arguably the most brutal film on this list “Last House On The Left” broke ground in the horror genre for icon Wes Craven. This film also spawned legions of similar rape revenge type films as well as a remake in the early 2000’s. In a way “Last House On The Left” tells the story in two main parts.The film begins with a teenage girl and her friend going into the city for a concert against her parents better judgement. They come across a group of individuals who lure them in at the prospect of selling them marijuana but instead the group beats, rapes, and eventually kills them. From there the film follows the parents of one of the girls after they discover her fate. They decide to take matters into their own hands and seek revenge on the group. This is a brutal film if simply for the fact that it’s something that could actually happen, the monsters aren’t supernatural or pseudoscience. The monsters of this film are people.
7. The Rocky Horror Picture Show
This isn’t your traditional scary movie. “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is a musical horror comedy film. It follows a young, recently engaged couple who seek help from a mysterious mansion after their car breaks down. Once inside mayhem ensues. In this film Tim Curry absolutely shines as Dr. Frank-N-Furter, Curry went on to embody Pennywise in the mini-series adaptation of “It”. At the time of its release the movie met with harsh criticism but has since become not only a cult classic but a favorite of the LGBTQ+ community. This film incorporates the fun of classic B horror movies along with the absurdity of musicals. “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” isn’t really meant to be understood, it’s meant to be experienced.