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The 50 Greatest Horror Movies of the 1970s

1978

Are You in the House Alone?

Verdict: Walter Grauman was one of the few filmmakers that really set the home invasion idea in motion. It’s not the first flick to utilize such an angle, but he did turn an urban legend into an absolute nightmare. It’s not a joy to watch while alone at night, and that’s an enormous compliment.

Teenage girl is plagued by harassing phone calls. Her fear mounts when she’s babysitting at a neighbor’s home one evening and the caller rings her at that number.

Dawn of the Dead

Verdict: George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead still holds a position as one of the greatest zombie films ever made. The commentary differs greatly from Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, but the focus on commercial consumerism is terrific and it’s one of the rare films about the undead that taps every emotion in the body bank.

Following the events of Night of the Living Dead (1968), we follow the exploits of four survivors of the expanding zombie apocalypse as they take refuge in an abandoned shopping mall following a horrific SWAT evacuation of an apartment complex. Taking stock of their surroundings, they arm themselves, lock down the mall, and destroy the zombies inside so they can eke out a living–at least for a while. Tensions begin to build as months go on, and they come to realize that they’ve fallen prey to consumerism. Soon afterward, they have even heavier problems to worry about, as a large gang of bikers discovers the mall and invades it, ruining the survivors’ best-laid plans and forcing them to fight off both lethal bandits and flesh-eating zombies.  

Halloween

Verdict: John Carpenter is generally considered the founding father of the slasher film, even though he’s openly admitted to wanting to make a film very much like Bob Clark’s Black Christmas. Well, Halloween doesn’t share too many stylistic similarities to Black Christmas, but the vibe is there, and ultimately, the picture delivers a staggering number of scares. When it comes to perfect film, it doesn’t get much closer than this.

The year is 1963, the night: Halloween. Police are called to 43 Lampkin Ln. only to discover that 15 year old Judith Myers has been stabbed to death, by her 6 year-old brother, Michael. After being institutionalized for 15 years, Myers breaks out on the night before Halloween. No one knows, nor wants to find out, what will happen on October 31st 1978 besides Myers’ psychiatrist, Dr. Loomis. He knows Michael is coming back to Haddonfield, but by the time the town realizes it, it’ll be too late for many people.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Verdict: The general consensus is that Philip Kaufman’s remake of Don Siegel’s 1956 chiller, Invasion of the Body Snatchers is radically superior to the original. I don’t agree with that for even the slightest moment. However, Kaufman’s remake is definitely an excellent example of what a remake can potentially be. There are some differences in this film as opposed to the original, but we also see some of the iconic scenes wonderfully replicated in this highly entertaining remake.

The first remake of the paranoid infiltration classic moves the setting for the invasion from a small town to the city of San Fransisco and starts as Matthew Bennell notices that several of his friends are complaining that their close relatives are in some way different. When questioned later they themselves seem changed as they deny everything or make lame excuses. As the invaders increase in number they become more open and Bennell, who has by now witnessed an attempted “replacement” realises that he and his friends must escape or suffer the same fate. But who can he trust to help him and who has already been snatched?

Piranha

Verdict: I think a lot of uninformed fans think of Joe Dante’s Piranha as a cheap, exploitative B-movie. And I guess, to a degree, it is. But here’s the kicker: it ended up being a well-made picture with an excellent pace and a perfect pair of opposites that attract, and ultimately save the day… or do they?

When flesh-eating piranhas are accidentally released into a summer resort’s rivers, the guests become their next meal.

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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