100 Horror Movies From the 70’s
If you are old enough, you might remember growing up and watching some of the old horror movies from the 1970’s. They were groundbreaking in terms of terror, gore, and (in some cases) outright corniness. These early films really pushed the envelope as far as setting up the foundation for the horror movies today. They created the clichés, the atmosphere, and the buckets of blood that were splashed around haphazardly across the screen. If you missed out on that classic decade, here is a list of 100 horror films from the 70’s.
These British horror films are a favorite of any horror fan. Produced by Hammer Films in Britain, they were low budget but used quality British acting talent.
- The Horror of Frankenstein (1971) – This film parodies the Frankenstein story. Follows the story of the arrogant Baron Von Frankenstein, a descendant of the original Baron. He drops out of medical school after knocking up the dean’s daughter and sets up a lab to experiment with dead bodies.
- Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970) – Starring Christopher Lee. A traveler in Europe collects the dead Dracula’s ring, cape, and blood. After drinking the blood mixture, he turns into Dracula who then gets to continue his rampage.
- Dracula AD 1972 (1972) – At the beginning, Dracula and Van Helsing die when the coach they are dueling on crashes. 100 years later, Dracula is resurrected, and it's up to the descendants of Van Helsing to stop him.
- Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb (1972) – Originally a support movie for another production, this flick has an explorer venturing out to discover the cursed tomb of the mummy and bring it back to London. Later his daughter grows up to bear a striking resemblance to the Egyptian queen in the sarcophagus.
- Lust for a Vampire (1971) – A writer falls in love with a young woman at a finishing school. But she is secretly a vampire and does her best to finish him off.
- Countess Dracula (1972) – A Countess in Hungary kills young women and bathes in their blood to keep her eternal beauty. To hide her secret she takes the role of her own daughter which works fine until her actual daughter shows up.
- Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell (1974) – The now insane Dr. Frankenstein is the resident surgeon of an insane asylum. With the help an accomplice, they try to create another monster who wreaks havoc on the inmates.
- Scars of Dracula (1970) – A swarm of bats kill all the women and children in a village. When the bats drip the villager’s blood on his remains, Dracula is (again) brought back to life. After a man disappears near the count’s castle, his brother and fiancée come looking for him.
- Twins of Evil (1972) – Twins sisters, one good and one evil, are sent to live with their puritanical aunt and uncle after the death of their parents. Turns out ol’ Uncle belongs to a secret brotherhood that hunts down witches and satanists.
- Vampire Circus (1972) – When a vampire count is killed, a traveling circus led by the count’s vampire cousin shows up and takes his vengeance out on the town.
Vincent Price Movies
Some consider him to be the grandfather of horror movies. With is creepy voice and penetrating stare, he has become an icon of past creepy films. Even Michael Jackson got him to do a voice over on his Thriller album.
- Cry of the Banshee (1970) – While not the best of his films, it is one of Price’s earliest horror flicks. He plays an evil landlord out to destroy a coven of witches. To get rid of the pesky landlord, the witches summon a banshee to kill him and his family.
- Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971) – One of the best of Price’s horror movies. He plays the disfigured Dr. Phibes who wants to get revenge against the surgeons who failed to save his wife. He goes about setting up elaborate ways for the victims to die using the ten plagues if Egypt as inspiration.
- Theatre of Blood (1973) – Vincent Price pushed his acting chops as he plays a murderous Shakespearian actor who is out to get the critics who gave him bad reviews. He uses scenes from the various stage plays to pull off the murders.
- Dr. Phibes Rises Again (1972) – Price reprises his role as the murderous doctor. Waking up from years of hibernation, the doctor continues his quest to revive his not-quite-but-darn-near dead wife. He retrieves a map to a spring of eternal youth in Egypt but there is competition for the map.
- Mad House (1974) – The perfect role for Price. He plays a famous horror movie actor who suffers a nervous breakdown. As his mind spirals into madness, his fellow cast and crew members start dying similar to the way characters did in his movies.
- Scream and Scream Again (1970) – This obscure Vincent Price movie involved a serial killer and missing body parts. Kind of confusing but worth a watch for any horror fan.
- Once Upon A Midnight Scary (1979) – Okay, this one is not a movie but anyone who likes Vincent Price should see this one. It was an hour-long television special where Price narrates three tales in that great storytelling voice of his: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, The Ghost Belonged to Me, and The House With The Clock in Its Walls.
- An Evening With Edgar Allan Poe (1971) – Again, this was a television special. Price recites three tales by Edgar Allan Poe while dressed up in costumes. The stories are The Black Cat, The Pit and the Pendulum, and the Cask of Amontillado.
Foreign 70s Horror Movies
The U.S. is not the only country to ever produce a horror flick. Foreign countries have proved very adept at capturing the genre’s elements on film. Some are good and some are cheese but they are all entertaining. These films were all produced outside the U.S.
- A Bell From Hell (1973) – A Spanish film where a man is released from an insane asylum. He decides to get revenge against his aunt and her three daughters who had him placed in the asylum so they could get ahold of his inheritance.
- Curse of the Devil (1973) – Another movie from Spain, this one is about a count who destroys a coven of witches only to be cursed. Years later an ancestor of his triggers the curse which turns him into a werewolf.
- The Tenant (1976) – Directed by Roman Polanski, this French movie follows a tenant, played by Polanski, who moves into an apartment where a woman committed suicide. He comes to believe that the neighbors drove the woman to suicide and are now trying to do the same thing to him...
- Necrophagus (1971) – A Spanish horror film that may be a bit difficult to follow because of the flashbacks and weird narrative but still worth a watch. After the death of his wife, a man goes back to his family’s castle to investigate her death. He discovers a cannibalistic monster and creepy relatives.
- Profondo Rosso aka Deep Red (1975) – An Italian thriller, the story revolves around a guy who witnesses the murder of a psychic. He then goes around trying to solve the crime while avoiding becoming Victim #2.
- The Vampire Happening (1971) – This one is more of a tongue-in-cheek movie than real horror. A young woman inherits a castle in Transylvania (where all the vampires seem to live). When she goes there to try to sell the place, she accidentally releases the castle’s vampires. Filmed in Germany.
- All The Colors Of The Dark (1972) – A great gothic Italian flick, a woman has witnessed tragedy all her life. When her baby dies in a car crash, she seeks a way to get rid of the nightmares. Naturally, she ends up participating in a coven’s ritual to solve her problems.
- The Blood Stained Shadow (1978) - An Italian giallo murder mystery film that follows two brothers, one a professor the other a priest, as they try to uncover a series of murders in their hometown. A classic by director Antonio Bido.
- Zombi 2 (1979) – Probably one of the best zombie films of all time and one of the earliest zombies-take-over-the-world films. When a boat shows up in New York harbor carrying a rotting zombie, a woman goes looking for her father on an island where the dead rise.
- Bay of Blood (1971) – Another great Italian horror flick. In this one, another serial killer works his way through the movie hacking and stabbing anybody he can get his hands on. Truly gory for its time and a predecessor to slasher films of the future.
70s Comedy Horror
Not all horror films are intense, turn-all-the-lights-on, gore fests. Some of them are pretty humorous. Some horror films were intended to be funny while others are funny simply because they are so bad.
- Young Frankenstein (1974) – Directed by the great Mel Brooks, this movie was the ultimate spoof of early horror films. Full of great gags and puns, it is one of Brooks’ best films. And for once, the monster has a happy ending.
- Sugar Hill (1974) – A ‘blaxploitation’ movie that involves voodoo and zombies. When a black gang murders the boyfriend of our heroine, Sugar Hill, gets a voodoo queen to raise some zombies to get her revenge. The ghetto language of this genre is what makes this flick truly memorable and funny.
- Blacula (1972) – Another blaxploitation film from that era. In this flick, Dracula is, you guessed it, a black guy in modern day LA. He finds a woman who resembles his long lost love from hundreds of years ago (or something like that) and does his evil best to make her his.
- The Cars That Ate Paris (1974) – This one is intentionally supposed to be somewhat comedic if on a morbid level. The small town of Paris in Australia gets its kicks out of crashing cars and doesn’t care who gets hurt in the process. Directed by the great Peter Weir.
- Invasion of the Blood Farmers (1972) – A film about a set of druids who are preying on the folks of a rural town and using their blood in an attempt to raise their long dead queen (who has been sleeping on the living room table, it seems). This one is suppose to be a serious film but the bad acting, plot, make-up, and everything else just makes it ridiculous.
- Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1979) – What can I say about this film? Yes, it is about giant killer tomatoes rolling down the street and devouring people. It is so over-the-top, so ridiculous, that it became a cult classic and is included in many lists for all-time favorite cult movies.
- Son of Dracula (1973) – This is not the movie with Lon Chaney Jr. This is the musical comedy with Ringo Starr and Keith Moon that is so bad it isn’t even that funny. But it still deserves an honorable mention.
- Trog (1970) – Starring the legendary actress Joan Crawford, this was her last feature film. In it she plays an anthropologist who is studying a ‘trog’ that lives in a cave. All is well until the trog gets loose and starts terrorizing the neighborhood.
- Satan’s Cheerleaders (1977) – Another horror satire. A janitor at a high school is on the lookout for virgins to sacrifice for his cult. So he kidnaps four cheerleaders as his victims.
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) – If you haven’t been to a midnight showing of this movie, you haven’t lived. This musical/horror/comedy/fetish show is the ultimate in cult films.
70s Slasher Films
These films all have something in common: a deranged psychopath chasing a bunch of innocent people with the intent of killing them in some gruesome manner. You’ll usually find the most blood and gore in these films.
- Halloween (1978) – The mask-wearing killer Michael Myers (not the actor) escapes from a mental ward to return to his hometown and terrorize Jamie Lee Curtis. This was one of the most influential horror movies of all time.
- The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) – The original, low-budget version went on to become a classic slasher film and a predecessor of modern day horror movies. It also introduced the horror icon Leatherface and his cannibal white trash family.
- Black Christmas (1974) – There is nothing like a good horror flick to bring on the Christmas spirit. This early slasher is about several girls in a sorority house who get terrorized by creepy phone calls. When the girls start to disappear, it definitely puts a damper on the holiday.
- When a Stranger Calls (1979) – Another movie about a threatening phone call, this original is really creepy and keeps you on the edge. When a man who killed several children after delivering a phone call from inside the house gets back out on the street, he goes after the woman who was babysitting those kids that night.
- The Last House on the Left (1972) – Wes Craven’s first film as a director. Two teenage girls are abducted by an escaped gang from prison who then seek refuge in one of the girl’s homes.
- Eaten Alive (1976) – Another film by Tobe Hooper. And another one about a crazed cannibal. Except this time the loony that owns a hotel throws the leftovers to his pet crocodile.
- I Spit On Your Grave (1978) – Probably one of the most controversial horror movies ever made. In it a woman is assaulted by four good-ol’ boys and decides to get her revenge on them in some pretty gruesome means.
- Magic (1978) – Before he ever played Hannibal Lector, Anthony Hopkins creeped us out by playing a comedian with a ventriloquist dummy. He eventually starts to go insane and thinks the dummy is telling him things to do.
- Martin (1978) – Although this seems to be a vampire flick, it doesn’t have any of the usual elements such as fangs, coffins, and holy water. A teenage boy believes himself to be a vampire who drinks the blood of young girls.
- And Soon The Darkness (1970) – Two girls go on a bike tour of France and meet up with a stranger. When they become separated, one of the girls disappears.
70s Suspense Movies
These are all films that are more suspenseful than terrifying and blood-filled. While they can keep you at the edge of your seat and keep you guessing who the villain is, they do not necessarily contain crazed mutant killers or blood-sucking vampires.
- Sisters (1973) – Directed by Brian De Palma, this tale involves two orphaned twin sisters. After years of being together they are separated. Then a murder occurs after a one-night stand and one of the twins has to uncover the mystery.
- See No Evil (1971) – A good stalker flick where a blind Mia Farrow faces off against a killer in a deserted house.
- Let’s Scare Jessica To Death (1971) – A woman named Jessica is released from a mental hospital. To help her adjust, she and her husband rent a nice cottage in the country. Then she starts seeing things that aren’t there.
- Die Screaming, Marianne (1971) – When their parents divorced, two sisters are split up. But when one inherits a fortune, she finds out that everyone is out to get her.
- The Other (1972) – A thriller about twin boys (it’s always about twins). One good twin and one bad twin are involved in a set of mysterious deaths. The ending though has a good twist.
- The Bird With the Crystal Plumage (1970) – An American tourist and his girlfriend witness a murder on the streets of Rome. After they report it, the killer begins to stalk them.
- The Last Wave (1977) – Directed by Peter Weir, this is a mysterious tale of the end of the world. Pretty much a big tsunami is going to engulf everything. But the plot is top-notch.
- The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970) – A successful businessman undergoes surgery after a car accident. Afterwards, he finds out that his alter ego was somehow released and is making his own decisions. Sort of a take on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
- Delirium (1972) – A man with a deadly sexual habit sets himself up to get caught by the police. But when a copycat killer shows up, it throws the plan off.
- Fear in the Night (1972) – Starring Peter Cushing, this thriller is about a woman who is recovering from a mental breakdown. Before she can get on with her life, she is attacked not once, but twice. And she soon suspects her husband isn’t the man she thinks he is.
- The Stepford Wives (1975) - This movie is nothing like the lame recent remake starring Matthew Broderick and Christopher Walken. The original is creepy and scary, and it has a message.
- Obsession (1976) - Another classic from Brian Depalma, about a kidnapping and rescue attempt gone awry.
70s Monster Movies
They’re big, hairy, scarey, scaley, or even dead. These films are all about monsters either natural or unnatural.
- Jaws (1975) – The movie that made you stay out of the water. A giant great white just can’t get enough of the beachside swimmers and boaters. Meets his end in an explosive way.
- Jaws 2 (1978) – The big shark is back and terrorizing the town’s beaches. When the mayor refuses to believe it, it is up to the police chief (again) to take care of the big fish. A decent sequel at a time when sequels were really bad.
- Blood for Dracula (1974) – The poor Dracula is dying so sets off to Italy to find a virgin. The idea is that if he feeds on virgin blood, he will be revived. Also known as Andy Warhol’s Dracula.
- Flesh for Frankenstein (1974) – The sister film to Blood for Dracula and produced by Andy Warhol. In this flick, Baron Frankenstein creates a female creature for his Monster to mate with.
- King Kong (1976) – Dino De Laurentis’ remake is one of the best Kong versions ever. Very dark and serious, it still paints Kong as a tragic character at the end. Much better than Peter Jackson’s loooong remake.
- Nosferatu: The Vampyre (1979) – This German film was a remake of the classic silent film. Set in nineteenth century Transylvania, it is a retelling of the original Bram Stoker book, Dracula.
- Piranha (1978) – A great movie about genetically altered piranha that escape from a military testing site. The little buggers end up in the local lake waters and rapidly eat anyone who sets a foot (or toe) in the water.
- Willard (1971) – If you like movies about rats, this is THE rat movie for you. A withdrawn young man named Willard befriends a pack of rats and manages to communicate with them. He gets them to perform some pretty creepy stuff until he has a showdown with them.
- Dawn of the Dead (1979) – One of the original zombies-take-over-the-world films and probably one of Romero’s best flicks. In this one, zombies are everyone across the U.S. and a group of survivors take refuge inside a mall.
- The Swarm (1978) – A deadly swarm of killer bees fly up from South America and cover the U.S., killing thousands of people and putting the country into a panic.
70s Sci-Fi Horror
Not all monsters originate in Transylvania. Some of them come from space. These movies are all hybrids of science-fiction and horror as they combine elements of both.
- Alien (1979) – This is THE sci-fi horror movie to watch and the beginning of the Alien franchise. An unstoppable alien gains entry into a ship by bursting from the chest of one of its victims.
- Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) – The remake of this 1956 original is much better. Basically, an alien invasion takes place where aliens that look like people are born from pods.
- The Clonus Horror (1979) – A clone living on a remote desert outpost with other clones, begins to question the real reason for their existence. Turns out they are all replacement parts for the real people.
- The Asphyx (1973) – This film is about a scientist who discovers that a demon called an asphyx shows up right before someone dies. If you can manage to capture the demon, then in theory, you can never die.
- Thirst (1979) – A modern day vampire cult uses a high-tech facility to drain the blood from drugged victims. They discover a woman who they believe to be the descendent of one of their founders and try to get her to join their club.
- The Boys From Brazil (1978) – A former Nazi scientist and his group want to clone Adolf Hitler and create the next Reich. A Nazi hunter must track down the scientist before he can complete his plan.
- The Island of Dr. Moreau (1978) – A doctor on an island is conducting experiments to turn animals into men. Maybe not one of the best versions of this story, it still has Burt Lancaster and Michael York.
- Track of the Moonbeast (1976) – This is what happens when a meteor smacks a guy in the head. Now every time the moon rises, he turns into a lizard-like monster that runs around killing people.
- Phantasm (1979) – A truly creepy film about a mysterious undertaker of a funeral home. It turns out that the man, with help from his flying balls of death, is transforming dead bodies into killer dwarves through a dimensional portal in the mausoleum.
- Horror Express (1973) – A scientist finds a frozen specimen in Manchuria that he believes is man’s missing link. He puts it on a train to transport it home but the monster, who is actually an alien, thaws and starts wreaking havoc on the train.
70s Mutant Movies
They’re creepy and ugly. These mutants might have been human at one time but act anything nothing like a human. They are definitely some of the more grotesque creatures to look at in horror filmdom.
- Rabid (1977) – One of David Cronenberg’s ealiest films, it involves a woman injured in a motorcycle accident. She undergoes an experimental surgery that leaves her rabid and craving blood. When she bites others, they get infected, too.
- The Brood (1978) – Another Cronenberg flick. A woman who cannot have children the traditional way develops tumors on her body. The tumors soon develop and grow into mutant children.
- The Crazies (1973) – A group of townspeople get infected after they drink water that has been poisoned from a crashed military helicopter. When the town goes crazy, the government steps in to control the problem.
- It’s Alive (1974) – This is what happens when your wife gives birth to a mutant baby with teeth and claws. The little tyke, who is not going to win any baby pageants, goes on a killing spree.
- It Lives Again (1978) – After you have had one mutant killer baby, what do you do? You have several more. This sequel has a group of mutant babies running around slashing people with their claws and teeth.
- The Omega Man (1971) – Before Will Smith did his bit in I Am Legend, Charlton Heston portrayed the last man on earth (or at least the United States. But instead of vampirish ghouls, he has to contend with albino mutants.
- Prophecy (1979) – This flick involves a mutant bear that, after drinking mercury-poisoned waters (and thus becomes a mutant bear) goes through the countryside eating people.
- Shivers (1975) – Another Cronenberg flick that deals with people in an apartment complex that are being taken over by internal parasites. A scientist kills a woman and replaces her organs with a parasite.
- Eraserhead (1977) – A dark and surreal tale by David Lynch, it follows a guy with a big head of hair in a depressing industrial landscape. His life, already complicated, is made worse when he and his girlfriend give birth to a premature alien baby. The movie is more than about the baby but hey, that alone is pretty weird.
- The Hills Have Eyes (1977) – The ultimate family mutant cannibal film. A group of mutant killers roam a desert region and prey on any motorists that happen to drive through the area.
70s Supernatural Horror Movies
This is the largest category of horror films and there are too many good ones to name them all. All of these films involve some aspect of the supernatural from ghosts to haunted houses to evil spirits from the underworld.
- The Exorcist (1973) – The classic tale of demonic possession and one of the most disturbing horror movies ever. When a young girl gets possessed by the devil, two priests must intervene to save her.
- The Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977) – The young girl Regan is still plagued by demon possession. A priest goes to Africa to research the demon’s origins. The sequel disappointed many fans but the original was such as hard act to follow.
- Legend of Hell House (1973) – Probably one of the best haunted house movies ever made, this flick centers on a house inhabited by the spirit of its former owner. A research team arrives to investigate the house and creepiness occurs.
- The Wicker Man (1973) – A classic movie that puts Christopher Lee as the head of a group of pagans. When a young girl goes missing, an investigator arrives to find out what happened but ends up being the victim.
- Burnt Offerings (1976) – A couple, their aunt, and their young son rent a house for the summer for vacation. But it turns out the house feeds off of people as a mean to rejuvenate itself.
- Don’t Look Now (1973) – When the young daughter of a couple drowns, the couple run off to Italy to work through their loss. While there, they run into two sisters who claim to have psychic contact with their dead daughter.
- Carrie (1976) – One of the best horror films of that decade. It revolves around a insecure with psychic powers who is taunted by the other kids in her school. When a cruel prank is pulled on her at prom, she unleashes her powers. Based on a Stephen King novel.
- The Omen (1976) – Young Damien seems like a nice quiet boy. But mysterious deaths happen wherever he goes. It turns out the young boy is actually the Anti-Christ reborn. Talk about brats from hell.
- Amityville Horror (1979) – Based loosely on true events, a couple move into a house that turns out to be possessed. After the family moves in they discover that a year ago a grisly mass murder took place in the house.
- Audrey Rose (1977) – A couple become alarmed when a man (played by Anthony Hopkins) they believe is a child molester begins stalking their young daughter. But then the man admits to them that he believes their daughter is the reincarnation of his own dead daughter. They don’t believe him until the girl starts having strange nightmares.