After covering the best horror movies of the 1960s, it’s apropos to see the impact that the 1970s had on the genre. Where the ‘60s opened the door to horror Movies that shocked, the ‘70s kicked the door down! Perhaps the biggest decade for the genre, the decade of disco produced some of the most iconic films of all-time. From “The Exorcist” to “Halloween,” the impact and influence that the ‘70s had on horror is immeasurable. The titles listed below are often considered a must-watch for fans of the macabre.  

The best horror movies of the ‘70s that are a must-watch

“The Last House on the Left” (1972): Wes Craven provided high-quality horror movies for decades, and it all started with “The Last House on the Left.” This film felt so real, and it was so disturbing, that many viewers thought it was a genuine snuff film.

Even Craven himself said that it was so “assaulting” and “uncomfortable,” that he couldn’t revisit it. For years, the film was banned in many countries including the U.K.

“The Exorcist” (1973): To say that this film was surrounded by controversy would be a gross understatement. Director William Friedkin went to tortuous lengths to make sure the movie felt very real, and it does! Often regarded as one of the best horror movies of all-time, the short documentary below shows the cultural impact that the picture had.

“Don’t Look Now” (1973): Donald Sutherland stars in this gripping film that starts off powerful, focusing on grief. This allows the supernatural thriller to sneak up on the audience, leaving them on the edge of their seat.   

“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (1974): Although touted as a true story, it is not.

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But it does feel real, and that makes it terrifying. For all the controversy that it caused at the time, there is very little on-screen violence or blood. Like Alfred Hitchcock, the director counted on one of the most horrifying things of all—the audiences imagination.

“Black Christmas” (1974): Before Bob Clarke made audiences laugh with “A Christmas Story,” he terrified them with this horrifying thriller. This film is also referred to as one of the first slasher movies.

“Jaws” (1975): In the movie that put Steven Spielberg on the map, this is often regarded one of the best movies of all-time (out of any genre). Part of the brilliance of this film is that the shark is shown in glimpses. This was partly on accident; the mechanical shark kept breaking down.

“Carrie” (1976): This is the first film adaptation based on Stephen King's work, and it remains as one of the most popular. 

“The Omen” (1976): Though it doesn’t feel as real as “The Exorcist,” this well-acted film is a welcomed addition to the “Devil” subgenre of horror.

 

“The Hills Have Eyes” (1977): Craven followed up “The Last House on the Left” with this horror gem. But unlike his first film, this movie is much easier to watch.

 “Halloween” (1978): Another film produced in the ‘70s that’s regarded as one of the best horror movies of all-time. This John Carpenter classic continues to instill fear in new generations. The late Roger Ebert described this film as a “terrifying experience.”

 “Dawn of the Dead” (1978): George A. Romero’s second installment in the zombie “Dead” series, following “The Night of the Living Dead,” is often regarded as his best work.

 “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1978): If there was ever a movie made to argue that remakes can be better than the original, this is it. The film is a crescendo of suspense leading to the legendary final scene.

 “Phantasm” (1979): This cult classic spawned four additional movies over the span of 30 plus years; starring the original cast. The late Angus Scrimm portrayed the Tall Man, who is as iconic to horror fans as Freddy or Jason.

“Alien” (1979): Blending the genres of sci-fi and horror masterfully, this slow-build story is absolutely suspenseful and terrifying.

 From “The Last House on the Left” to “Alien,” the 1970s produced some of the best horror movies of all-time.