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The 50 Greatest Horror Movies of the 1970s

1976

The Town That Dreaded Sundown

Verdict: It’s a little mockumentary, a little slasher and a little comedic. Believe it or not, that all comes together to create an extremely interesting picture that will definitely leave you chuckling from time to time, and it will absolutely guaranteed send shivers running down your spine when that lunatic with the burlap sack mask comes creeping from the shadows.

Set in the late 40’s the residents of Texarkana, Texas are left terrorized by a mysterious hooded killer who is stalking victims during the evening and leaving the local police at a loss.

Carrie

Verdict: Carrie is one of the very few Stephen King books that I’m not even remotely near fond of. I think it makes for a dreadfully dull read. But on film, in Brian De Palma’s hands, it becomes an astonishing miracle loaded with iconic imagery and high-tension sequences. This, ladies and gentlemen, is definitely a film that far outshines its source novel.

It’s nearing the end of the school year. High school senior Carrie White is a social outcast, largely due to being unwise to the ways of the world based on her upbringing. Her mother, Margaret White, is a religious fanatic, her extreme views primarily targeted against sex, which she believes is a sin. She even believes natural associated processes such as menstruation are a sin, about which she has refused to mention to Carrie. Mrs. White’s beliefs were taken to that extreme largely because of her own failed marriage and her husband Ralph long ago having run off with another woman. The only adult authority figure who tries to help Carrie with her life is her phys ed teacher, Miss Collins, who is nonetheless warned not to get too close to go against how Mrs. White chooses to raise Carrie, Mrs. White whose beliefs are well known in the community. An impromptu event that happens among Carrie’s phys ed classmates against her leads to her classmates being punished. One of those students…

Squirm

Verdict: Squirm reminds me a little bit of a tame, minimalist rendition of James Gunn’s Slither… but a lot less… messy. There’s an amazing vintage charm to the film, and even though man-eating worms are nowhere near frightening, the film makes for a great sliver of entertainment. The characters are likable and the overall tone of the pic is silly enough to really get wrapped up in.

In Fly Creek, a storm knocks down the power lines, transforming worms in mutant creatures. Mick travels from New York to meet his girlfriend Geri Sanders and stays at her home with her mother Naomi Sanders and her sister Alma Sanders. On the arrival, Mick has a friction with Sheriff Jim Reston and with Geri’s neighbor Roger Grimes that woos her. Soon they find that Fly Creek is infested of carnivorous worms that are devouring the inhabitants, but Sheriff Reston believes it is a prank of Mick.

The Omen

Verdict: Come on now, it’s the evil killer kid flicks that makes all other killer kid flicks look like Disney material. Oh, and Gregory Peck portrays a very focal character. Of course we consider this a top film of the 1970s.

Robert and Katherine Thorn seem to have it all. They are happily married and he is the US Ambassador to Great Britain, but they want nothing more than to have children. When Katharine has a stillborn child, Robert is approached by a priest at the hospital who suggests that they take a healthy newborn whose mother has just died in childbirth. Without telling his wife he agrees. After relocating to London, strange events – and the ominous warnings of a priest – lead him to believe that the child he took from that Italian hospital is evil incarnate.

Who Can Kill a Child?

Verdict: We’ve got to stick with the whole killer kid theme here, because it was big in 1976. Who Can Kill a Child? isn’t remembered as fondly as The Omen, and it isn’t as technically refined, but it is as chilling as an arctic swim. It’s a disturbing film, in all honesty, and it’s a mystery that the flick has all but been forgotten. While the title is eluding me, a few years a foreign film arrived and it’s damn near a shot-for-shot remake, although I don’t recall credit being extended in the direction of Who Can Kill a Child?

A couple of English tourists rent a boat to visit the fictitious island of Almanzora, just off the southern Spanish coast. When they arrive, they find the town deserted of adults, there’s only children who don’t speak but stare at them with eerie smiles. They soon discover that all the children of the island have been possessed by a mysterious force or madness which they can pass from one to another, and which makes them attack and murder their elders, who can’t defend themselves because nobody dares to kill a child…

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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