In honor of reaching the pivotal milestone of making 40 trips around the sun, I look back on the macabre tales that demonstrates why the 1970s—the deccenium of my birth—was the greatest decade for film in horror, and the subsequent strange and unusual subgenres.
The 1970s was a decade known for many things. Marginalized groups continued to fight for equality and protestors continued their anti-war movement stemmed from the 1960s. President Richard Nixon was reelected and then resigned following the infamous Watergate scandal, and the great divide between liberalism and conservatism continued expansion.
Environmentalism became mainstream, and modern computing and gaming was born. Let's not forget about the saturation of macrame. So. Much. Macrame. And what was up the seemingly abundant amount of cults and serial killers?
The 1970s also gave us the greatest era of music in my humble opinion. Disco and funk was on the rise, and punk continued to thrive. Rock music took center stage in America, as well as the subgenres of glam, hard, progressive and heavy metal.
Ok, so what in the hell does any of this have to do with horror films? Perhaps as a result of the pivotal shifts occurring in American culture—Americans experimented with expressions of personal liberation through art of all forms. And, perhaps because art often imitates life, this might explain why the horror films created during this decade that historians refer to as a "pivot of change" were foreboding and rich in atmosphere, visually enticing and repelling, and expressed taboo-themes intentionally designed to force viewers to confront the uncomfortable—changing the course of horror films and unleashing subgenres within the category never-before seen.
Whether you're wanting to stroll down nostalgia lane, or looking to discover something you've missed seeing—the following are some of the great horror films to come out of the 1970s, rounded up for your viewing pleasure (and yes, I've seen them all). Not all the films listed are American films, but still convey the sign of the pop-cultural times that would later gain immense cult following in the States.
The Early to Mid 70s
The Year of My Birth: 1977
The Late 70s
What are some of your favorite horror, science fiction, or strange and unusual films from the 1970s? Share them in the comments below!