Horror Movie News and Reviews

6 Hidden Horror Gems from the 1970s

Tonight’s Movie Pick Now Streaming on Netflix

You’ve seen The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Dawn of the Dead so many times that you could probably quote both entire movies. And I can only imagine how many times you people have watched The Exorcist or Halloween – because I know for me, those numbers got way too high to count a long time ago. The 1970s was an awesome time for horror. But there is so much more to the decade than just the aforementioned films! Here are six more films from the 1970s that I believe deserve much more credit. Check it out.

I Drink Your Blood (1970)

A cult of rabid pseudo-hippies inflict terror on a small American town. Gory, disgusting, violent. It’s a raw piece of 1970s grindhouse that may be too much for many viewers these days. There are no redeeming values here in this film. It’s exploitation, through and through. Anyone with a sick sense of humor and a fondness for grainy violence and demented plotlines will surely get a kick out of this film. I Drink Your Blood is one of those rare movies that should have ended up being horrible – but instead, it’s a surreal joyride for those sick enough to enjoy that kind of stuff.

The Legend of Hell House (1973)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sJhdMwOtRU

The Legend of Hell House is a film based off of Richard Matheson’s 1971 novel, Hell House. Matheson’s novel was inspired by Shirley Jackson’s immortal 1959 novel, The Haunting of Hill House, and it just goes to show that a good story simply will not die. Though there are defining characteristics that set both stories apart, the main correlation is the exploration of a supposedly haunted house by a group of different people who take part in an experiment to prove or disprove the claims that the house is haunted.

Matheson also helped pen the screenplay, which then makes the argument for which version was superior a little more complicated. The Legend of Hell House is an interesting work of horror cinema for that reason alone – but that’s not the only one. It’s a classic haunted house movie which is able to conjure up more legitimate scares than the much more well-known The Amityville Horror, released later this decade. Oh, and it’s currently streaming on Netflix, too!

Tombs of the Blind Dead (1972)

A Spanish film, Tombs of the Blind Dead features some of the creepiest looking zombies to date. They’re much more decomposed than that of Romero’s, and the supernatural element to them adds even more appeal for those seeking something different from your typical zombie film. There’s an English dubbed version that’s quite easily attainable, so if you’re not a fan of subtitles, please don’t despair.

Though I will not, in any way, say that this is the best zombie film to come out of the 1970s, I will say that it deserves a watch to break up the monotony as to what zombie films have become in recent times. It’s not the greatest; I wouldn’t go that far. However, it’s solid as all Hell. Give it a watch. It’s worth your time.

Deranged (1974)

Much more faithful to the story of Ed Gein than The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Deranged is a highly unsettling, highly strange film starring Roberts Blossom. The film was also known as Deranged: The Confessions of a Necrophile, which may have been a little misleading. There is no indication that Gein ever was a necrophile, and there isn’t a real aspect of necrophilia in the way that it is traditionally known in the movie. However, “necrophilia” can also be defined without the sexual aspect – according to Dictionary.com, it is also defined as “an abnormal fondness for being in the presence of dead bodies.” In other news, if my mother knew that I was taking time out of my day to google the definition of “necrophilia”, she would probably be incredibly disappointed in me. I’m sorry, mom. You did the best you could.

Regardless, it’s an excellent film. There’s a solitary church organ which provides the haunting soundtrack, and it makes for a very spooky atmosphere. Even stranger is the instances of a faux-documentary which permeates the film. There’s a reporter that is present throughout, narrating the events as they unfold. Deranged is certainly a strange film, and while it’s nowhere near as gory as one would expect, the aesthetics of the film are unsettling enough to make your skin crawl right off.

Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things (1972)

Dead Things was directed by none other than Bob Clark – the same Bob Clark who gave us A Christmas Story in 1983. The allure of horror, it seems, is strong enough to get just about everybody involved. In fact, Bob Clark had an uncredited role in the movie above, Deranged. So that’s not one, but two strikes again your wholesome image, Clark! But don’t worry; I’m not judging. In fact, I think it’s quite admirable.

This 1970s zombie flick is about six theater actors who dig up a corpse in an attempt to reanimate the body. It’s got a strong element of black comedy and actually ends up becoming quite tense despite the low budget and, once again, lack of gore. It just goes to show that you don’t necessarily need lots of blood and guts for an effective movie. There’s a certain charm about this film that has been seldom captured ever since: much like The Evil Dead almost a decade later, you can really feel an indie vibe. There’s a sense of a filmmaker attempting to make something scary while having the time of his life and using limited resources. It’s a great movie for that fact alone.

Once more on the topic of Bob Clark: he also directed Black Christmas two years later. However, that film seems a little too well-known to put on the list. It gets an honorable mention, and a shout for being one of my favorite horror films, but it’s not exactly a hidden gem.

Tourist Trap (1979)

This is not only one of the best out of the decade, but also one of the strangest. I’ve seen a lot written about the film, and I would certainly be able to write even more, but I think it’s best if you go into it without knowing much. Too much research or knowledge about the film beforehand could potentially spoil the weirder scenes – just trust me on this one. It’s excellent.