Here are the top 10 horror movies of the 1970s for you to watch this month
Image: Produzioni Atlas Consorziate
The 1970s are widely considered the best years for horror movies. It’s in this decade that both the occult-themed films and slasher flicks were perfected — and some would argue that this is the last time such films were truly scary.
Rotten Tomatoes is known as one of the internet’s best resources for movie reviews. Compiling what both critics and viewers think about a film, the site is sure to offer a pretty solid idea of what to expect when you press play. We’ve compiled Rotten Tomatoes’ top ten highest-ranked horror films of the decade. You'll know exactly what to watch in the weeks leading up to Halloween.
Of course, there are classic ’70s films like Jaws, The Omen, and The Exorcist that didn’t make the Top 10, but you should still add them to your list for October viewing!
'Don’t Look Now' (1973)
The Good: "The imagery is beautiful, to be sure, but also eerie and alienating and discomforting."
The Bad: "Not only do you probably have better things to do, but so, I'm sure, do most of the people connected with the film."
Starring Julie Cristie and Donald Sutherland, Don't Look Now examines what the death of a child can do to a relationship. When a couple who's daughter just died is told that she's trying to warn them of danger from beyond the grave, panic ensues, especially as a serial killer is on the loose.
'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' (1978)
The Good: "Invasion of the Body Snatchers validates the entire concept of remakes."
The Bad: "All the tension and scariness of the original has gone and in its place is a bit of floppy old cabbage."
Donald Sutherland was killing it in the '70s as the star of the remake of the 1950s classic, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, as well as Don't Look Now. This film tells the story of two men (Sutherland and Leonard Nimoy) who discover that an alien race is replacing humans with emotionless duplicates.
'Young Frankenstein' (1974)
The Good: "The Brooks of Young Frankenstein isn't really skewering the conventions of the horror movie - he's paying tribute to them and using them as scafolding for his particular brand of goofy, Borscht Belt burlesque."
The Bad: "Most of the gags were juvenile."
Though Young Frankenstein is on the list of horror films, it's more lighthearted than the rest. The Mel Brooks classic stars Gene Wilder and pokes fun at the Mary Shelley novel by telling the story of a neurosurgeon who's the descendent of the mad scientist who created the namesake monster.
The Good: "Like Jaws, here's one of those rare instances when the movie is better than the book."
The Bad: "There is little suspense or dramatic tension. Everything plays out like bad melodrama or cheap exploitation."
Carrie is one of the most famous adaptations of a Stephen King novel, and the earliest lesson we learned about teasing the weird kid in school. Sissy Spacek plays Carrie, a teenage girl with an abusive mother and mean classmates who learns she has telekinetic powers.
The Good: "Halloween is an absolutely merciless thriller, a movie so violent and scary that, yes, I could compare it to Psycho."
The Bad: "Since there is precious little character or plot development to pass the time between stalking sequences, one tends to wish the killer would get on with it."
You can thank Halloween for just about every classic slasher movie trope that is still used to this day. Directed by John Carpenter, starring Jamie Lee Curtis and featuring the most recognizable score in horror movie history, Halloween deserves its preservation in the United States National FIlm Registry.
The Good: "From stormy start to fiery finish, it's a stylish, compelling, phantasmagoric movie."
The Bad: "All the visual artistry in the world can't compensate for a lousy script."
If any horror movie can be referred to as aesthetically pleasing, it's Suspiria. This brightly colored Italian film, directed by Dario Argento and scored by prog-rock band Goblin, tells the story of a woman who enrolls in a ballet academy, only to find that there is evil to fear in the school — both of this world and the supernatural.
The Good: "What a masterpiece of texture, a feat of artisanal attention, an ingenious assemblage of damp, dust, rock, wood, hair, flesh, metal, ooze."
The Bad: "Nothing more tan a pretentious, incoherent and boring exercise in self-indulgent weirdness."
Master of strange David Lynch's first foray into a feature-length film is a divisive one, but if there is ever a time to dive headfirst into the Lynchian universe of Eraserhead, it's Halloweentime. This experimental, spooky film will leave you scratching your head as Lynch has said that no interpretation of the movie has ever matched his.
'Dawn of the Dead' (1979)
The Good: "This is both a fine straight-up horror and an archly sly comment on consumer society."
The Bad: "Between atrocities, the movie has its funny moments and funny lines. It's just difficult to relish in the humor when you're dripping in so much gore."
Writer and director George A. Romero is been known as the father of the modern zombie film, and Dawn of the Dead, as well as its predecessor Night of the Living Dead prove he's worthy of the title. This claustrophobic movie takes place almost completely within a shopping mall as a group of people attempt to barricade themselves from the zombies roaming just outside. If it sounds familiar to you, look toward Suspiria, as Dario Argento and Goblin did the soundtrack.
'The Wicker Man' (1973)
The Good: "Like many of the best horror/thrillers, The Wicker Man works because it surprises audiences, relying on carefully-nurtured suspense rather than cheap, theatrical shocks."
The Bad: "I have never and will never understand this film's reputation."
Just because The Wicker Man strays from the conventional use of violence and gore doesn't mean it isn't one of the creepiest films you'll ever see. The story of a Christian cop who pays a visit to the pagan island of Summerisle to investigate a missing child case is campy and over-the-top at times but leaves you with an uneasy feeling that sticks with you even after the movie is over.
'The Texas Chain Saw Massacre' (1974)
The Good: "No matter how many filmmakers have attempted to recreate the all-out insanity of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, very few have even come close."
The Bad: "Nauseated and shaken, I walked out of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre after half an hour of its butchery."
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was one of the first films to lead audiences to believe it was based on a true story in an effort to make the movie even scarier. At the time of its release, it had mixed reviews and stirred up plenty of controversies for its seemingly senseless brutality. However, as time went on, Leatherface became one of the most popular movie killers and writer/director went on to direct another classic, Poltergeist.