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Horror Films of the 1970s

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The seventies were a decade of groundbreaking horror films: The Exorcist, Carrie, and Halloween were three. This detailed filmography covers these and 225 more. Section One provides an introduction and a brief history of the decade. Beginning with 1970 and proceeding chronologically by year of its release in the United States, Section Two offers an entry for each film. Ea The seventies were a decade of groundbreaking horror films: The Exorcist, Carrie, and Halloween were three. This detailed filmography covers these and 225 more. Section One provides an introduction and a brief history of the decade. Beginning with 1970 and proceeding chronologically by year of its release in the United States, Section Two offers an entry for each film. Each entry includes several categories of information: Critical Reception (sampling both '70s and later reviews), Cast and Credits, P.O.V., (quoting a person pertinent to that film's production), Synopsis (summarizing the film's story), Commentary (analyzing the film from Muir's perspective), Legacy (noting the rank of especially worthy '70s films in the horror pantheon of decades following). Section Three contains a conclusion and these five appendices: horror film cliches of the 1970s, frequently appearing performers, memorable movie ads, recommended films that illustrate how 1970s horror films continue to impact the industry, and the 15 best genre films of the decade as chosen by Muir.


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The seventies were a decade of groundbreaking horror films: The Exorcist, Carrie, and Halloween were three. This detailed filmography covers these and 225 more. Section One provides an introduction and a brief history of the decade. Beginning with 1970 and proceeding chronologically by year of its release in the United States, Section Two offers an entry for each film. Ea The seventies were a decade of groundbreaking horror films: The Exorcist, Carrie, and Halloween were three. This detailed filmography covers these and 225 more. Section One provides an introduction and a brief history of the decade. Beginning with 1970 and proceeding chronologically by year of its release in the United States, Section Two offers an entry for each film. Each entry includes several categories of information: Critical Reception (sampling both '70s and later reviews), Cast and Credits, P.O.V., (quoting a person pertinent to that film's production), Synopsis (summarizing the film's story), Commentary (analyzing the film from Muir's perspective), Legacy (noting the rank of especially worthy '70s films in the horror pantheon of decades following). Section Three contains a conclusion and these five appendices: horror film cliches of the 1970s, frequently appearing performers, memorable movie ads, recommended films that illustrate how 1970s horror films continue to impact the industry, and the 15 best genre films of the decade as chosen by Muir.

30 review for Horror Films of the 1970s

  1. 4 out of 5

    Merzbau

    didn't find as many new movies as i hoped i would but still enjoyable didn't find as many new movies as i hoped i would but still enjoyable

  2. 4 out of 5

    Barry

    This is an excellent resource guide to horror cinema in the 1970's. The 1970's was a great decade for film but in my opinion it was a particularly significant decade for horror cinema. In the 1970's there was an awful lot going on in horror cinema. Hammer studios was extracting the last drop of blood out of classic characters like Dracula and Frankenstein whilst other directors felt the chains come off on what was and was not appropriate to film. There was a new sense of realism to film which saw This is an excellent resource guide to horror cinema in the 1970's. The 1970's was a great decade for film but in my opinion it was a particularly significant decade for horror cinema. In the 1970's there was an awful lot going on in horror cinema. Hammer studios was extracting the last drop of blood out of classic characters like Dracula and Frankenstein whilst other directors felt the chains come off on what was and was not appropriate to film. There was a new sense of realism to film which saw the 'savage cinema' of the decade explode. No longer did audiences need a monster in order to be frightened - the psycho next door could do it. There was an awareness of the ugly violence humans could (and do) inflict on each other. It was a time where you didn't even need a human to scare - this was not only the decade of 'Jaws' but bats, rats, bears, snakes and even rabbits got in on the act. The Devil was not yet a cult icon or an ironic figure. The evil of Satan still had an ability to scare. Classics like 'The Exorcist' and 'The Omen' were brought to a nations consciousness. It was the decade after the decade of questioning everything and people were scared. Horror films fully understood the concerns of their audiences in respect of the environment and humanity meddling. In the US people were reeling after Watergate and films could tap into the idea that the government was not benevolent ('Coma', 'The Crazies' etc.). Vietnam was not a distant memory and films like 'Deliverance' where the characters were placed in an unfamiliar environment with the cards stacked against them knew full well that the audience would identify with the Vietnam defeat. There was no CGI but with more freedom it was a golden era of special effects and gore. It was the decade of splinters in eyeballs! The following decade saw an explosion in the 'stalk and slash' genre but it had it's roots in the 70's with 'Black Christmas' and 'Halloween'. Horror films tackled the issues of gender and race. The Blaxploitation films like 'Blacula' (a film I'd love to see) could be seen as racist today but provided black audiences with cinema they could relate to. The issue of women was significantly more problematic in the 1970's. More latitude for directors meant more nudity and the objectification of women increased. Directors understood that people expected 'tits' in a horror film. I don't have a massive problem with that as I'm aware part of the appeal of horror is to titillate with sex and violence, appealing to our more 'base' senses and desires in a 'safe' environment. However there was a spell in the decade where it seemed every film featured the rape of a character. I'm not sure every director was highlighting the fear and terror of sexual violence and almost certainly some films featured rape as a method to titillate and that is a particularly problematic theme. Many films featured strong female leads ('Alien') or at least films where women got their revenge on their persecutors. Women's place in the home was a theme in 'Jack's Wife' and 'The Stepford Wives' whilst women were depicted as perpetrators of violence and victims in the same film 'Death Game'. Reproductive rights in films like 'It's Alive' and 'Embryo' brought the issue of abortion to the film debate often with confusing messages. The cinema of the decade was definitely confused about the place of women in society. I'm convinced some men in the industry where shitting themselves about the voices of women being heard and then used the camera to project that fear. As can be seen above - there was a lot going on in the 70's. So, onto the book. There are over 200 films reviewed in the book which in an age prior to 'straight to video' shows the demand for horror cinema. Muir's definition of horror is very broad - and the book is better for it. Some films may be better described as thrillers or sci-fi but the wide scope is important. It shows that there were a number of methods to scare in the decade and encapsulates the concerns of the decade. All films were cinema releases with the exception of two TV movies (I really want to see Spielberg's 'Duel' after reading about it here). Most films get full cast and crew information, a plot synopsis and Muir's thoughts on the film. The plot synopsis can drag on in places (but maybe that's because the film does also!). Significant films also have reviewers comments (mostly from or just after the decade), quotes from those who worked on the film and where appropriate discussion of the films legacy. Some films only have 'cast and crew' and film details. I suspect these films were included as the author had seen the film but had not a copy to view and review in the process of writing the book. I think the book would have been greater if these films had been left out of the book as the author tells us little about them. All films are given star ratings out of four in increments of half a star. His star ratings are spot on in my opinion (I think the only film I disagreed with him was 'Zombie Flesh Eaters' which I think is amazing!) Muir's commentary is excellent and is the key strength of the book. As a critic he not only knows his medium and genre he also respects it. He fully understands the social context of the films and this is not just interesting, it's also a really important addition to the reviews. Muir is opinionated and has clear ideas about the films. I rarely disagreed with him, thought many of his reviews were bang on the money but more rewarding for me made me consider some films in a different light. My viewing history has been improved as a result of reading this book. I think this book would appeal to many readers, there is discussion of film technique which would attract students of the medium yet the aforementioned social context element would appeal to those trying to understand 1970's American culture. It appeals to fans of the genre who can dip in and out to find things they may like. In my opinion it works on multiple levels, it's as valuable to media students as to fans who want to find out how gory a certain film may be. I sometimes find horror criticism can fall into two camps - the professional critic and the inane. Some critics of horror claim to be fans but are looking down on the genre. Sure, the classics are praised but the trashy, exploitative, the sex and violence is dismissed as unimportant or low brow. Then there is the second camp which consists of, 'OMG you have to see this, 'actress X' is nude on 5 minutes and has an axe in her head by the end of the scene'. Muir is neither and is in the third camp I like to read. He is intelligent, insightful yet clearly enjoys all aspects of the genre. He realises people pay their money to see the 'unsavoury' elements of the genre and acknowledges it for what it is. This is particularly prevalent in his treatment of 'savage cinema'. In the 70's rape and torture featured prominently, often in 'real life' rather than supernatural encounters. It tapped into the horror that this could really happen. This cinema was exploitative, often difficult to view and certainly not a fun night out. It also had a wide appeal. Dismissed at the time, and still now, dismissed as despicable Muir fully understands the genre without being an apologist for trash. This is demonstrated in comments on three films, 'The Last House on the Left', 'I Spit on Your Grave' and 'Bloodsucking Freaks'. 'The Last House on the Left' is a deeply unsettling film. It focuses on humiliation, torture, rape and murder. It is also a beautifully made film. It has a deep message about the futility of revenge. One feels the need to bathe afterwards but at a deep level feels they have learned something after watching it. As horrible as it is to watch it is a great film and Muir gives this film the credit it deserves. 'I Spit on Your Grave' is a film which is reviled. Banned in the UK for years and a notorious nasty. It is a 'rape and revenge' film but has no overarching message other than the victim gets revenge. It is designed to titillate sexual violence. Muir acknowledges that it is a well made film and strengths whilst refuses to be an apologist for the deliberate eroticism of sexual violence. 'Bloodsucking Freaks' on the other hand is the only film in the book to get zero stars as the film exists solely to depict the humiliation and degradation of women. The film has a reputation as a 'cult classic' now but Muir does not let the film off the hook. In a review of another film he states words to the effect of, 'what's the point of going into the sewer for 90 minutes if there is no light at the end of it'. This one sentence for me sums up Muir's opinion on exploitative cinema and is one I can readily identify with. Many genre fans want the gore and horror and like to examine the darker edges of the human psyche. At the same time it's refreshing to see a reviewer call exploitative shit exactly that and consign it to the dustbin. The only thing preventing this book achieving a maximum of five stars is the scope of the book. The author readily acknowledges that the book focuses on American cinema and foreign films only get mentioned if they were commercially successful in America or had an impact on Horror cinema in the US. In my opinion the book is significantly weaker due to this position. European cinema, in particular Italian cinema is criminally overlooked (I'm incredulous that Bava's 'Bay of Blood' isn't featured). The author clearly adores Hitchcock and there is a wealth of Italian giallo that could be referred to (which I'm sure the author would love if he had seen). I also question the prints he has viewed in respect of foreign cinema. He describes the plot of 'Deep Red' as incomprehensible although the US release had at least 20 minutes cut from it due to getting it to 90 minutes. France, Italy and Spain had many directors pumping out notable films which have been largely ignored. England, in particular films by Hammer and Amicus studios are well represented but there are still significant omissions. It could be argued that the book would need to be double in size to include all the significant horror cinema of the decade. In conclusion, the greatest credit I can give the book is that after reading I am left with a list of films I can't wait to see. It's an excellent resource and intelligently written. Highly recommended.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Horror DNA

    With his dedicated approach to studying horror films by decade, prolific author John Kenneth Muir has created a definitive set of reference books. I encourage readers to check out this ongoing series and offer this tip: read them in chronological order. I started with the 1980s installment and was blown away by the content. When I stepped back into the 1970s, I was a bit surprised to notice the subtle differences in writing style. Don't get me wrong, this is a stellar book, but Muir has grown as With his dedicated approach to studying horror films by decade, prolific author John Kenneth Muir has created a definitive set of reference books. I encourage readers to check out this ongoing series and offer this tip: read them in chronological order. I started with the 1980s installment and was blown away by the content. When I stepped back into the 1970s, I was a bit surprised to notice the subtle differences in writing style. Don't get me wrong, this is a stellar book, but Muir has grown as a writer from one volume to the next and the shortcomings are a bit more apparent. The 1970s model covers 228 films that for the most part receive a thorough breakdown and analysis. One problem, however, is at the time of publication (2007), several of the titles covered were not readily available on home video, and are thereby relegated to merely a cursory mention. Over the next eight years, a good number of the missing entries have been recovered, restored and released. This book would benefit from a second edition that updates certain information, but for now, let me focus instead on the guide in front of me. You can read ZigZag's full review at Horror DNA by clicking here.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Terry Collins

    Having read this magnum opus of the horror movies of the 1970s for literally months now (it's been my go-to book when seeking bite-sized nuggets to digest via the Kindle Fire), I felt sad to finish the final year of 1979 this afternoon. While not a perfect book of film criticism (for one thing, the topic is very VERY broad and a true unifying thesis never fell into focus), it does have some assured and reasoned points to make about the films in question. Muir writes about several films that are Having read this magnum opus of the horror movies of the 1970s for literally months now (it's been my go-to book when seeking bite-sized nuggets to digest via the Kindle Fire), I felt sad to finish the final year of 1979 this afternoon. While not a perfect book of film criticism (for one thing, the topic is very VERY broad and a true unifying thesis never fell into focus), it does have some assured and reasoned points to make about the films in question. Muir writes about several films that are well-known to horror fans, going into depth with some - and other, just offering a basic summary. Why this scatter-shot approach is never explained, but I would have just left out movies I had nothing to say anything about. After all, when Muir is firing on all analytic cylinders, he points out new aspects to horror films I had never considered before - and better yet, he makes me want to go out in search of the ones I've missed. His reading of my all-time favorite Satanist flick RACE WITH THE DEVIL makes me want to race right to my DVD shelf and re-watch it yet again with his insights fresh in my memory, and for any book on movies, that is high praise indeed.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bruce Blanchard

    Not So Much in the Past As You Might Think The 70's were a wild time. We passed the disintegration of the late 1960's and fell into cynicism and the true violence of life. The issues turned nasty and also did the movies. The films of that time showed that much, though you should remember that it's only a movie. Special effects were only growing up and makeup artists had a field day. John Kenneth Muir's Horror Films of the 1970's is a flashback to the times when I grew up. You wanted flesh and bloo Not So Much in the Past As You Might Think The 70's were a wild time. We passed the disintegration of the late 1960's and fell into cynicism and the true violence of life. The issues turned nasty and also did the movies. The films of that time showed that much, though you should remember that it's only a movie. Special effects were only growing up and makeup artists had a field day. John Kenneth Muir's Horror Films of the 1970's is a flashback to the times when I grew up. You wanted flesh and blood/t&a/graphic violence - this is your era. You wanted the foolish in horror films - this was their era. You want to know about the film's being remade today they are found right here. What makes Mr. Muir's reviews worth reading is the level of depth, broken down into years, and supplemented by some cool lists in the Appendix. He takes the films seriously or barbecues them over the coals, with a touch of grace. The cost is high, but I can assure it's well worth it. And P.S., there is no table of contents.

  6. 4 out of 5

    RUSA CODES

    This was selected as an Outstanding Reference Source for 2003. For the complete list, go to http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/rus... This was selected as an Outstanding Reference Source for 2003. For the complete list, go to http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/rus...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ming

    Took a while, but finally finished it! Decent overview of the decade, and uncovered some overlooked flicks I hadn't heard of. Some of the reviews are probably more entertaining than the movies in question. Took a while, but finally finished it! Decent overview of the decade, and uncovered some overlooked flicks I hadn't heard of. Some of the reviews are probably more entertaining than the movies in question.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mitch

    Killer!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Freshley

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Williams

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kin Cosner

  13. 5 out of 5

    BFisher

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ruben Rafayelyan

  15. 4 out of 5

    Robert Evans

  16. 5 out of 5

    Glen Hannah

  17. 4 out of 5

    Elaine Lamkin

  18. 4 out of 5

    Zack Clopton

  19. 4 out of 5

    Angela Reid

  20. 5 out of 5

    Luisa Prieto

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mike D

  22. 5 out of 5

    David

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jamey DuVall

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

  25. 4 out of 5

    Roxanne

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lee

  27. 5 out of 5

    Vienna

  28. 5 out of 5

    BK

  29. 4 out of 5

    Price Partridge

  30. 4 out of 5

    Eric Barry

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