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The 50 Greatest Horror Movies of the 1970s

1975

Jaws

Verdict: Still the finest aquatic horror film in existence, Steven Spielberg turned H2O into a thing of nightmares. The shark is terrifying, Quint is amazing, and recounting the acquisition of scars while a blood thirsty monster circles the boat is just priceless. I’m still frightened by the ocean, for the record.

It’s a hot summer on Amity Island, a small community whose main business is its beaches. When new Sheriff Martin Brody discovers the remains of a shark attack victim, his first inclination is to close the beaches to swimmers. This doesn’t sit well with Mayor Larry Vaughn and several of the local businessmen. Brody backs down to his regret as that weekend a young boy is killed by the predator. The dead boy’s mother puts out a bounty on the shark and Amity is soon swamped with amateur hunters and fisherman hoping to cash in on the reward. A local fisherman with much experience hunting sharks, Quint, offers to hunt down the creature for a hefty fee. Soon Quint, Brody and Matt Hooper from the Oceanographic Institute are at sea hunting the Great White shark. As Brody succinctly surmises after their first encounter with the creature, they’re going to need a bigger boat.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Verdict: The horror fans musical masterpiece, everything about The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a blast. The numbers are witty and catchy, Tim Curry’s work is jaw-dropping and the set pieces are nothing short of sublime.

It’s the weird and wonderful as newly engaged couple Brad and Janet encounter a problem when their car halts in the rain. They both look for contact, only to find themselves at the castle of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a transvestite. A place to stay is offered, but will Brad and Janet want to remain there? Especially when a large group of Transylvanians dance to the ‘Time Warp’, Dr. Frank-N-Furter builds his own man and a whole host of participation for the audience to enjoy.

Shivers

Verdict: Scientific terror has never been so mind numbingly magnetic, and that’s evidenced by the hyper-charged sex drives of the residents of an apartment complex infected by something essentially unidentifiable. But, that’s David Cronenberg’s modus operandi: create outlandish, tongue stealing morbid terror.

A scientist living in an apartment complex kills a girl and uses acid to destroy her internal organs, and then kills himself. While investigating, a doctor discovers that the scientist was doing experiments on the use of genetically engineered parasites as organ transplants. Soon, other people in the complex begin showing signs of carrying the parasites, spreading the things through wanton orgiastic abandon, and the complex begins suffering an attrition problem.

Trilogy of Terror

Verdict: Trilogy of Terror isn’t my favorite anthology out there, but it’s got a few superb segments and it really gives Karen Black a chance to shine in a number of ways; she’s fantastic as the focal character of each segment!

Three stories interwoven together. The first, about a college student infatuated with his teacher. The second, a paranoid tale of two sisters – one good, the other evil, and the third about an African tribal doll that comes to life and terrorizes a woman in her apartment.

The Ghoul

Verdict: The Ghoul is most certainly not a unanimous favorite among fans. In fact, it’s something of a forgotten film in general, but I get a big kick out of it. Peter Cushing is great, and while the concept isn’t exactly unexplored, it is eerie and it is enjoyable.

Peter Cushing stars as a former priest who harbors a dark and horrible secret in his attic. The locked room serves as a prison cell for his crazed, cannibalistic adult son, who acquired his savage tastes in India during his father’s missionary work there. Cushing fears that his son will escape to prey upon the effete guests at his rural English estate during a cross-country auto race.

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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