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The 50 Greatest Horror Movies of the 1970s

1973

The Crazies

Verdict: Small town terror like we rarely see, George A. Romero’s chilling story spent decades flying under the radar until Breck Eisner crafted an amazing remake back in 2010. Thankfully, that remake opened a lot of eyes to Romero’s original pic.

A biological weapon gone awry is only the start of problems in the little town of Evan’s City, Pennsylvania. Bouts of insanity in the populace are leading to murder and rioting, until the US Army turns up – and things really start going to hell.

The Exorcist

Verdict: Unquestionably one of the most terrifying films history has ever produced, the possession of poor little Regan will paralyze you with fear, and well… leave your head spinning at the astoundingly racy acts committed by a 12-year old no longer in control of her physical being. Seriously… the crucifix scene… good God!

A visiting actress in Washington, D.C., notices dramatic and dangerous changes in the behavior and physical make-up of her 12-year-old daughter. Meanwhile, a young priest at nearby Georgetown University begins to doubt his faith while dealing with his mother’s terminal sickness. And, book-ending the story, a frail, elderly priest recognizes the necessity for a show-down with an old demonic enemy.

Don’t Look in the Basement

Verdict: A gloriously exploitative examination of the horrors that one might find in a sanitarium (we’ve actual seen genuine and heart breaking footage of medical facilities that served as torturous prisons as opposed to rehabilitating facilities), Don’t Look in the Basement is low budget but wickedly effective. Effective enough, in fact, to birth a pretty solid sequel 42 years later.

Nurse Charlotte Beale arrives at the isolated Stephens Sanitarium to work, only to learn that Dr. Stephens was murdered by one of the patients and his successor, Dr. Geraldine Masters, is not very eager to take on new staff. Charlotte finds her job maddeningly hard as the patients torment and harass her at every turn, and she soon learns why Dr. Masters is so eager to keep outsiders out.

The Legend of Hell House

Verdict: Based on a mind numbingly shocking story from the late, great Richard Matheson, The Legend of Hell House is everything a horror fan could ask for. It’s atmospheric, dynamic, well-acted and boasts a great twist to close the show. And, for the record, this might just be the amazing Roddy McDowall’s finest professional showing.

A team consisting of a physicist, his wife, a young female psychic and the only survivor of the previous visit are sent to the notorious Hell House to prove/disprove survival after death. Previous visitors have either been killed or gone mad, and it is up to the team to survive a full week in isolation, and solve the mystery of the Hell House.

The Wicker Man

Verdict: The Wicker Man delivers one of the greatest surprise endings in history. It also features tons of nudity, disturbingly realistic cult dealings and a relatively brief but awesome performance from Christopher Lee.

On Sunday, April 29, 1973, Sergeant Neil Howie with the West Highland Constabulary flies solo to Summerisle off the coast of Scotland. He is there to follow up on a letter addressed specifically to him from an anonymous source on Summerisle reporting that a twelve year old girl who lives on the island, Rowan Morrison, the daughter of May Morrison, has long been missing. The correspondence includes a photograph of Rowan. Upon his arrival on Summerisle, Howie finds that the locals are a seemingly simple minded lot who provide little information beyond the fact that they know of no Rowan Morrison and do not know the girl in the photo. Mrs. Morrison admits to having a daughter, seven year old Myrtle, but no Rowan. As Howie speaks to more and more people, he begins to believe that Rowan does or did live on the island, but that the locals are hiding their knowledge of her. He also begins to see that the locals all have pagan beliefs, their “religion” which centers on procreation as the…

Continue the list on the next page.

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About The Overseer (2283 Articles)
Author of Say No to Drugs, writer for Blumhouse, Dread Central, Horror Novel Reviews and Addicted to Horror Movies.

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