You might think a 70s horror movie list would pale in comparison to the sheer terror unleashed by the decade itself, from shag carpet to conversion vans to lava lamps to, god help us, doorway beads. But re-acquaint yourself with these groovy ghoulies, and you’ll find that they’re doubly frightening — stark horror loaded up with all the 70s kitsch you can stomach. Good luck sleeping tonight with all that orange and avocado gore running through your dreams!
The Exorcist (1973)
An innocent girl becomes possessed by an ancient demonic force and 70s horror movie audiences are never quite the same again. The first installment of The Exorcist series stars Linda Blair as 12-year old Regan McNeil, a rebellious and precocious suburban kid who gets possessed by the devil. One of he most shocking and frightening movies of all time, The Exorcist is 70s horror at its best.
The Wicker Man (1973)
A 70s horror movie list wouldn’t be complete without a 70s cult classic like The Wicker Man starring Edward Woodward as an English policeman investigating the disappearance of several girls in Scotland. What follows is a mix between 70s horror, 70s comedy and 70s drama.
Tobe Hooper’s classic 70s horror movie Halloween starring Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode and Donald Pleasence as Dr. Sam Loomis is a true American nightmare, taking place in the suburbs of Haddonfield on a crisp October night. On one fine evening, Michael Myers brutally stabs his older sister to set off a series of murderous events that has yet to abate, 60 years or more after the fact.
Though unconventional by horror standards, Jaws may very well be THE scary movie of the entire decade. This 70s thriller stars Roy Scheider as police chief Martin Brody, who must battle the man-eating great white shark that has invaded Amity island’s beaches during the town’s annual Fourth of July celebrations.
The Amityville Horror (1979)
Based on the chilling true story of The Amityville Haunting, a family moves into their new home and is terrorized by paranormal activity. Parts of this 70s horror flick are as eerie today as they were when it was first released, and Amityville set the standard for the modern haunted house movie.
Ridley Scott’s 70s sci-fi horror film about a terrifying extraterrestrial creature that stalks and kills the crew of a spaceship. The first two acts contain some of the most suspenseful sequences in all of movie history, but it is during the third act when this 70s classic becomes one of Hollywood’s scariest movies. These scenes have had a lasting impact on the entire genre, and its influence can still be seen in today’s horror films.
Salem’s Lot (1979)
A 70s horror-drama miniseries adapted from Stephen King’s vampire novel of the same name (actually, “Jerusalem’s Lot”). The story centers on a small town being taken over by vampires, and the battle between good (a writer who moves to Salem’s Lot in order to write a book about it) and evil that ensues.
Brian De Palma’s 70s horror film about a tormented telekinetic teen. It is based on Stephen King’s 1974 book of the same name and tells the story about Carrie White, who suffers constant abuse from her religious fanatic mother Sarah. . When she gets to high school, her classmates use their knowledge against her while in the same time, she agrees to go to the prom with a popular boy.
When the bullying gets out of control and Carrie snaps by using her power for revenge, nothing can save the kids and the town from destruction.
The Omen (1976)
Six-year old Damien has a pretty rough 70s childhood with the whole being doomed to be Satan’s son for one thing. No wonder he is such an evil person later in life. This film, based on the novel by David Seltzer, stars Gregory Peck and Lee Remick as his parents who take him from England to New York, unaware of the fact that he is secretly the Antichrist.
(Like 70s Horror Movie? Then you might like our article on 1980s Vampire Movies, click here.)