Verdict: 1979 was one of the more memorable years for the genre. As you’ll see in out picks here, more than a single genuinely frightening picture was released. As I see it, however, Alien is the most frightening picture to be released in the ‘70s. In fact, I still consider it one of the most terrifying films that history has given us. It’s obvious I’m not alone in that thought, as we’re about to see the eighth picture (that’s counting crossover works) to put the creature on display.
A commercial crew aboard the deep space towing vessel, Nostromo is on its way home when they pick up an SOS warning from a distant moon. What they don’t know is that the SOS warning is not like any other ordinary warning call. Picking up the signal, the crew realizes that they are not alone on the spaceship when an alien stowaway is on the cargo ship.
The Amityville Horror
Verdict: What do you know, it’s another pic so eerie you’ll piss-your-pants with no shame (told you ’79 was a special year)! Seriously, The Amityville Horror is one of the most frightening haunted house films out there. The Amityville Horror was nominated for an Oscar, unfortunately it was for the score (which is amazing, I confess) and not for James Brolin’s performance. Brolin gave us the perfect descent into madness – it was believable, it was scary, and it felt unnervingly convincing. The man deserved the trophy.
Based on a true story that was claimed by writer Jay Anson, The Amityville Horror is about a large house on the coast of Long Island where newlyweds George and Kathy Lutz and their three children move into the house that they hope will be their dream house which ends up in terror. Despite full disclosure by the real estate agent of the house’s history, George and Kathy buy the house. George says, “Houses don’t have memories,” but they turn to their family priest Father Delaney who believes the house is haunted and performs an exorcism on the house. But the evil spirit in the house causes him to become blind and makes him very sick. With the help of another priest Father Bolen and a police detective, George and Kathy face the fears of the house, but not knowing the spirit is planning to possess George and then the children…
Verdict: By now you’re probably realizing that David Cronenberg practically owned the 1970s. He was prolific, and his work showcased constant ingenuity. The Brood does a great job of bringing science fiction and horror together. This is about as close to flawless unison as it gets.
A man’s wife is under the care of an eccentric and unconventional psychologist who uses innovative and theatrical techniques to breach the psychological blocks in his patients. When their daughter comes back from a visit with her mother and is covered with bruises and welts, the father attempts to bar his wife from seeing the daughter but faces resistance from the secretive psychologist. Meanwhile, the wife’s mother and father are attacked by strangely deformed children, and the man begins to suspect a connection with the psychologist’s methods.
Verdict: The Phantasm franchise has been a red hot topic over the last year thanks to the release of the final franchise installment, some beautiful restoration work and a kick ass boxed set of the full franchise. This is where it all started with a mortuary, a tall man and a whole lot of insane elements that make no sense, but feel perfectly played.
Mike, a young teenage boy who has just lost his parents, afraid to lose his brother follow him to a funeral, where Mike witnesses the Tall Man lifting a coffin on his own. Mike decides to investigate, and discovers that the Tall Man, protected by his flying spheres, is shrinking dead bodies down to half their normal size and reanimating them as slaves. It is then up to Mike, his brother, and Reggie the ice cream man to stop the Tall man.
Verdict: And we’ve made it to the end, and we’ve saved one of the really underrated films for last. On the surface Tourist Trap looks like another uninspired slasher. 20 minutes in and you’ll realize this isn’t even close to a standard slasher. It’s not really a slasher at all, to be honest. But it is a great movie with a great antagonist and a mighty satisfying even close to a standard slasher. It’s not really a slasher at all, to be honest. But it is a great movie with a great antagonist and a mighty satisfying finale. Don’t let it go neglected.
When his car has a flat tire, Woody seeks a gas station in an empty road. He finds a deserted place and is attacked by mannequins in a room and dies. Meanwhile his girlfriend Eileen waits for him in the car. However their friends Jerry, Molly and Becky arrive and they decide to look for him. They find a paradisiacal waterfall but their car breaks down. While Jerry tries to fix the car, the girls bath in a lake. Out of the blue, an old man arrives and he introduces himself as Mr. Slausen, who owns the place. He brings Molly, Becky and Eileen to his house and tells that he would help Jerry. They find a waxwork museum with armed cowboys. Eileen decides to leave the house to find a telephone, but she is attacked and strangled by a masked stranger. Who might be the killer and how will he girls flee from the spot?