Halloween 1978
Friday Fright Fest,  Jeff Merchant,  Our Writers,  TV & Film

Friday Fright Fest | Best Flicks of the 1970s

Welcome one and all to Friday Fright Fest. As always, I am your tour guide, Jeff, and today we’re going to take a trip back in time to tour the 1970s. The 70s gave us some of the absolute best horror films in history. Their impact and scare factor can still be felt some 50 years later with two of the films on this list are still talked about to this day. Without further ado, the time machine is open to you all and it’s time to dive right in.

TW: For discussions of brutal scenes of murder and rape

#5. Halloween | 1978

Fifteen years after murdering his sister on Halloween night 1963, Michael Myers escapes from a mental hospital and returns to the small town of Haddonfield, Illinois to kill again.

Halloween by John Carpenter is one of the most culturally important horror films of the 1970s

Possibly the most influential of all slasher films, John Carpenter’s Halloween is the reason why this particular subgenre of horror even exists in the first place. Although it wasn’t the first of its kind, it certainly was the game-changer for almost every other slasher flick that followed this low-budget indie horror only ended up imitating the formula that this classic originated.

Carpenter creates an uncanny mood during the title sequence only which has nothing but a jack-o-lantern on the black screen, accompanied by the now iconic score, and follows it up with an expertly shot prologue which instantly brings the audience into the story. The script is equally impressive for the character of Michael Myers is handled with extreme care, and the writers leave no stone unturned to show him as an unstoppable force of evil.

#4. Snuff | 1975

A so-called “snuff” film involving the exploits of a cult leader leading a gang of bikers in a series of supposedly real killings on film.

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Credit must be given to the people behind Snuff. They took a very poorly made biker-drug war movie, tacked a phoney real murder of one of the actresses and the rest is history. Much has been written about the Finleys and the history of this movie. Enjoy the first 85 or so minutes and look at it for what it is a low-rent action/gore film then prepare yourself for the mock snuff murder with finger chopping and intestine ripping! Watch it for the historical value only. For quality look elsewhere!

#3. Last House on the Left | 1972

Two teenage girls heading to a rock concert for one’s birthday try to score marijuana in the city, where they are kidnapped and brutalized by a gang of psychopathic convicts.

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Last House is a visceral experience and one that will never leave your subconscious, and that goes for anyone who has seen the film. There are images here that are about as primal as you can go without feeling like you are in a Neanderthal-like state. Wes Craven has tapped into something that few if any have ever been able to duplicate.

The story centres around two carefree women who are going to a concert in the city. They are looking to score some weed and they meet Junior, who promises them some and he takes them to meet the rest of the gang. What ensues over the next 45 minutes is nothing short of the dehumanization of the two girls. They are forced to beat each other, touch each other and then they are raped and murdered horrifically. There is not much more to say if you do not want to ruin it for those that haven’t seen it yet.

#2. Deliverance | 1972

Intent on seeing the Cahulawassee River before it’s dammed and turned into a lake, outdoor fanatic Lewis Medlock takes his friends on a canoeing trip they’ll never forget into the dangerous American back-country.

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Deliverance is the fascinating, haunting and sometimes even disturbing tale by James Dickey, turned into a brilliant movie by John Boorman. It’s about four businessmen, driven by manhood and macho behaviour, who’re spending a canoeing weekend high up in the mountains. Up there, they’re faced with every darkest side of man and every worst form of human misery…poverty, buggery and even physical harassment!

These four men intended to travel down the river for adventure and excitement but their trip soon changes into an odyssey through a violent and lurking mountain-land, completely estranged from all forms of civilisation. All these elements actually make Deliverance one of the most nightmarish films I’ve ever seen. Just about everything that happens to these men, you pray that you’ll never find yourself to be in a similar situation.

Pure talking cinema, Deliverance is a very important movie as well. John Boorman’s best was – and still is – a very influential film and it contains several memorable scenes that have already been featured in numberless other movies. All the actors deliver perfect acting performances. Especially Jon Voight. A must-see motion picture!!

#1. The Exorcist | 1973

When a teenage girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her daughter.

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This known story concerns a mother (Ellen Burstyn) and her daughter (Linda Blair), the latter is possessed and two Fathers, Karras (Jason Miller) and Merrin (Max Von Sidow) attempt to free Regan MacNeil from possession by the devil. Meanwhile, a Police Inspector (Lee J. Cobb) is investigating the weird events. And the priests suffer incredible risks trying to unravel the mystery of a demon living inside Regan.

This is a fairly suspenseful and horrifying story, based on a supposedly true story. The movie begins well and grows more and more until the scary and eerie finale. Top-notch picture, thanks to fine acting, tight pacing, well-mounted edition and skilful special effects with magnificent make-up by Dick Smith. The script is awesome, the acting excellent and the direction by William Friedkin has plenty of good pace and conviction. This is film-making gold and a true masterpiece.

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