10 Essential Horror Movies: The 1970s

The best in horror from 1970-1979

The 1970s was an incredible decade for horror, introducing audiences to films that are still beloved today. With a few artistic exceptions, the majority of films in this era were made in color and allowed audiences to experience horror in an entirely new way. This was also the decade where many of our favorite slasher films got their start, including “Halloween” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” However, it wasn’t all knife (or chainsaw) wielding masked killers. Supernatural horror with creepy kids was huge during this decade, introducing fans to cult favorites “The Exorcist” and “The Omen.” The 1970s was a decade horror will always remember fondly and if you’re looking to binge a film or two, you can’t go wrong with these picks. Take a peek at 10 essential horror movies from the 1970s in the gallery below and let us know your thoughts on these films in the comments section on social media.

“Halloween” (1978)

Directed and scored by John Carpenter, this film fueled audiences’ need for jump scare inducing teen slasher films.

“Carrie” (1976)

Based on the book by Stephen King, the story follows a high school outsider with telekinetic powers who seeks vengeance on teenage bullies.

“Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1978)

Both a remake and stand-alone sequel to the 1956 film of the same name, this sci-fi horror film explores what happens when human beings begin getting replaced by alien duplicates.

“Suspiria” (1977)

This film shows the story of a dancer who joins a ballet academy in Germany, only to discover the school is a front for a murderous supernatural conspiracy.

“Dawn of the Dead” (1979)

Made by the same director who gave audiences “Night of the Living Dead,” this film shows audiences the larger impact of the zombie apocalypse, complete with terrible special effects makeup.

“Eraserhead” (1977)

Weird and disturbing, this film horrified audiences with its portrayal of a man caring for a deformed child in a desolate wasteland.

“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (1974)

Taking inspiration from real life serial killer Ed Gein, this classic follows a group of friends who accidentally come in contact with a family of cannibals—notably, Leatherface.

“The Wicker Man” (1973)

Before the 2006 remake staring Nicholas Cage, the original showed audiences the darkside of Pagan cults. Highly recommended for fans of 2019’s “Midsommar.”

“The Exorcist” (1973)

Based on the novel of the same name by William Peter Blatty, this film follows a young girl who becomes possessed by a demon after using a ouija board and can only be saved by an exorcism performed by two priests.

“The Omen” (1976)

Five time Academy Award nominated actor Gregory Peck stars in “The Omen,” a film that follows a family’s misfortune after a demonic child enters their possession.