Top 10 Scariest Horror Movies From The 70’s

Top 10 Scariest Horror Movies From The 70’s

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The 1970’s was perhaps the best and most
fruitful decade for horror cinema, making it the perfect breeding ground for some of
the greatest franchises that have endured the test of time. There are so, so many excellent horrors from
the 70’s from some of the greatest auteurs, making this list incredibly difficult to write. However, I did my best, and made it as personal
as possible, otherwise this list would have been near impossible. So today on Top 10 Beyond the Screen, we’re
going to be counting down our list of the Top 10 Scariest Horror Movies From The 70’s. Lets jump in. 10 Halloween (1978)
Yep, we ain’t messing around with this list, folks. We’re starting strong. Many credit John Carpenter with the creation
of the slasher subgenre, yet, they weren’t new by the time 1978’s Halloween came along. However, Carpenter did improve on the genre,
making it more viscerally terrifying to feast upon. Halloween, of course, follows Michael Meyers,
an unrelenting force of evil that escapes from a mental hospital and returns to the
small town of Haddonfield, Illinois to kill again. What makes Halloween so damn good, yet terrifying,
is because Michael is an equally unknowable and unstoppable force. How do you kill something that seemingly can’t
be killed? How do you catch something that can only be
found when it wants to be found? He is evil incarnate, endlessly hunting for
his next victim, and thankfully Carpenter blessed us with his perfect opposition. Laurie Strode, played by Jaime Lee Curtis,
one of cinema’s greatest final girls. Watching Halloween feels like you’re watching
the creation of something timeless, something that you know will rule for generations to
come. 9 The Omen (1976)
The Omen always makes it onto one of our lists, whether it be cursed films, accidents on set,
tragic events, The Omen is ever present. Released back in 1976, this classic horror
is right up there with The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby. Starring Gregory Peck, the film follows and
American ambassador who believes his child could be the antichrist after mysterious deaths
begin to surround the family. It’s a true thrill ride from start to finish,
from the nanny hanging herself at Damien’s birthday party, to the priest speared by a
church spire. The film is glorious in its execution, and
each kill is as inventive as the next. The film is tense from the get-go, and having
a child play the primary antagonist makes it that much more sinister. 8 Dawn of the Dead (1978) 
Dawn of the Dead is often regarded as the greatest zombie movie ever made, with it constantly
pitted up again it’s predecessor, Night of the Living Dead. The films follows an ever-growing epidemic
of zombies that have risen from the dead, with two SWAT team members, a traffic reporter,
and his television executive girlfriend all seeking refuge in a secluded shopping mall. Now, Dawn of the Dead is a horror sequel in
every sense, coming out of the gates bigger and bloodier than before, and that’s exactly
what George Romero did. The film is unnerving because it departs from
the confines of a home, for the sprawling reaches of a shopping mall, the empty space,
and grand structure filling us with nothing but dread as we patiently wait for the zombies
to infiltrate. However, this film is not just a horror, it
is also a character drama as the group of strangers are forced to survive an apocalyptic
world together. 7 The Exorcist (1973)
Because, of course, we all knew it would be here, I just imagine you were all expecting
it a little higher up. But, guys, the 70’s were the golden-era
for horror, and this list was incredibly difficult to narrow down, so take it for what it is. To many, The Exorcist is the scariest movie
ever made, with its release resulting in many audience members walking out, passing out
or throwing up. Now, this could easily be chalked up to the
decade in which the film arrived. Because, as we know, The Exorcist follows
the demonic possession of a young girl, and the exorcism that ensues to rid her of the
demon. For newcomers to the film, it can be a slowburn,
yes, but the final exorcism on regan is stuff that nightmares are made of, and will linger
with even the most hardened of horror fans. It’s vile, and seemingly ungodly to watch,
but that’s what makes The Exorcist a timeless classic; it’s groundbreaking effects, and
utter shock value. The imagine of a young regan impaling herself
with a crucifix, crawling down the stairs backwards, and of course rotating her head
180 degrees. The Exorcist is an enduring horror movie,
and example of the heights the horror genre can reach. 6 Suspiria (1977)
Dario Argento’s 1977 movie Suspiria is one of the greatest pieces of cinema in history. It’s a masterpiece in technicolor and the
ultimate incarnation of the Giallo. Suspiria follows a young American ballet dancer
abroad at a prestigious German dance academy where she uncovers a sinister coven of witches. This film is beautiful, but also wildly violent
with an incredible progressive rock score. It’s visually stunning, yet also immersive,
making you feel like you’re on the same journey as the young protagonist. Now, Deep Red already confirmed it, but Suspiria
cemented Dario’s Argento’s place as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, and
the king of horror. 5 The Wicker Man (1973)
The Wicker Man is director Robin Hardy’s magnum opus, and is perhaps one of the most
exceptional films ever made. It’s a film that sneaks up on you, it’s
subtle, eerie, and requires expert patience. Yet, when it takes you to its finish line,
you are left with a sickening knot in your stomach, gasping at what just unfolded in
front of your eyes. The Wicker Man follows a police sergeant sent
to a Scottish island village in search of a missing girl who the townsfolk claim never
existed. Now, much of the film doesn’t play out like
a traditional horror, but instead it eerier and jovial. It isn’t until the riddle is solved that
we as a viewer are rendered helpless alongside our hero, and must watch on in horror at the
grim fate that unfolds. 4 Carrie (1976)
Ah yes, one of my favorite movies of all time, Carrie. In 1976, Brian De Palma blessed is with one
of the greatest adaptations of a Stephen King book, the horror masterpiece that is Carrie. Sissy Spacek takes on the titular role, and
plays a sheltered and tormented daughter to a religious abusive mother. However, Carrie soon discovers that she’s
a telepath and unleashes hell upon the town that has wronged her. You can’t help but feel a tender ache for
Carrie throughout the entire movie. She’s an uninformed girl who was sheltered
from reality, making her an easy target for the High School bullies, thus resulting in
one of the most iconic scenes in cinematic history. A glowing Carrie, a top the stage at prom,
just crowned prom queen, and then, cue the pig’s blood. What makes this film an all time great is
that it makes you root for a beaten down girl, only to then fear her when she rises from
the ashes and snaps, murdering everyone in her path. 3 Alien (1979)
Ridley Scott’s gothic horror is a perfect sci-fi movie, and an equally perfect horror
movie. Alien sends us into space after a merchant
vessel perceives an unknown transmission as a distress call, however, upon landing the
sources moon, one of the crew members is attacked by a mysterious lifeform whose life cycle
has merely just begun. The Xenomorph, It’s a perfect organism,
matched only by its hostility. It is the perfect monster in a perfect movie. It’s perfection is thanks to a stellar cast
led by Sigourney Weaver, and of course Dan O’Bannon’s expertly paced screenplay. Every element in the film works because it
is doing nothing but pushes us further into the fear. With the presence of each alien cutting us
like a knife, making the entire experience ache with unease. But the pain is worth it in every way. 2 Black Christmas (1974)
Bob Clark has made two christmas movies, the wondrous 1983 film A Christmas Story, that
came just a short time after he decided to make christmas terrifying with 1974’s Black
Christmas. Marketed as one of the first slasher movies,
Black Christmas is subtle yet effective in its tension. It stars Olivia Hussey and Margot Kidder as
two sisters in a sorority house over Christmas, who begin receiving terrifying calls from
a raspy-voiced predator that begins to unravel a muder mystery within the home. The deaths are classy, and not overplayed,
with the film opting to indulge in some holiday trappings along the way. Including a group of Christmas Carolers drowning
out the sounds of Kidder’s murder. Now, what makes this film truly incredible
is that it respects its victims, unlike many slashers. It refuses to over-sexualize it’s characters,
never punishing them for their sexuality. In fact, the final girl of the movie is not
only sexually active, but is also struggling with her decision to have an abortion. Black Christmas is one of the most dignified
slashers of all time, in turn making it one of the greatest horrors of all time. 1 Jaws (1975)
Now, I’m sure a lot of you will be upset with Jaws reigning supreme on our list, but
quite honestly, it deserves it, and I would put it at the number one spot everyday of
the week. Released back in 1975, Jaws is credited with
inventing the summer blockbuster, with the film being a giant in the horror genre, but
also a giant in cinema as well. It is constantly credited as being one of
the greatest films of all time, let alone of the 70’s. Jaws, of course, follows a killer shark that
unleashes itself upon a beach community, forcing the local sheriff, a marine biologist, and
an old seafarer to hunt down the killer beast. It’s a bonafide classic, and an enduring
film in cinematic history, that, no matter how many years pass it by, never loses its
effect. Now, the magic behind Jaws could very well
have been down to one little mishap. “Bruce” the mechanical shark used in the
movie notoriously had a lot of issues, with Spielberg being forced to reevaluate the script
and use the shark sparingly – a move that paid off in full, with the rare appearance
of the shark absolutely haunting to watch, and left audience members gasping out in horror. Well, there we have it! Do you guys agree with our list? Were there any horror movies that we missed? Also, let us know if you would like to see
this become a series, because there are so, so much horror films from the 80’s that
are waiting for us to discuss. And on that note, if you haven’t already,
be sure to give this video a big thumbs up, subscribe, and turn on notifications so you
never miss another Beyond the Screen vid. And until next time, see ya later.


  1. Having been a teenager who grew up in 70’s I can’t explain what it was like to see The Exorcist in the theater. There weren’t any movies like that up to that point. People didn’t have the exposure to horror and well made scary movies. So when you’re in a dark theater and the best possession based Satan filled movie ever starts, you’re a part of it. There’s no way anyone who can download movies so easily could understand what the world was like back then and having no exposure to mass media.

  2. Hi Lucy. I'm still a newbie and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this channel.
    Suspiria is one of my favorite horror movies. Thanks for adding it to the list. Very underrated movie.
    Keep up the great work, ladies!!

  3. The Medusa Touch 1978, not as gory as most on this list,bur scary in different way. Richard Burton plays l wife a man in a coma that, through flashbacks, shows how he,using his mind, caused various deaths including his unfaithful wife and her lover, a plane crashing in to a block of flats, and ends ends with him mentally attacking a nuclear power plant.

  4. Lucy, I was born in 1972 in FL. So trick or treating was a very scary time as around 1979. What seemed to be HUge kids with long hair dressed as Leatherface or Jason and their bellbottomed girlfriends dressed as hippies would wait till we were almost done and home…then snatch our pillowcases of candy. My older brother went with me in 1980, and brought his stiletto switchblade, almost making his own "slasher-film"!!!! No one was harmed except for some then browned blue jeans, and we never got robbed again. That little Gremlin car full of teens exited stage left to never be seen in our hood again!

  5. @Lucy McPhee awesome list a movies do you have a list for the 1980s. Hope you're having a great month I like your voice and accent God bless you always

  6. Another Peck classic. The Boys from Brazil. The movie about WHAT IF Hitler had been Cloned and raised differently. Exploring the whole Nature vs Nurture theory.

  7. Alien and The Exorcist were the two scariest Movies of the 70’s, In my opinion. There’s a reason these two films had people running out the theater in terror!

  8. I think I'm a sick puppy . Lol. I saw the Exorcist when it came out at the show. When her head turned, I was the only one that laughed! ?

  9. The Exorcist is the best horror movie ever made its more than just a movie .and the Omen is one of my favorite .too .

  10. Is Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy 1972 considered horror? I think there should be space on the bottom of list for that one. There will have to be multiple parts for top 80's horror. Be well☕

  11. The movie "The Wizard of Gore" was pulled after only a few showings at the theater and I have found no other references made as to what happened. I saw it. It was definitely a horror film. Have y'all heard of it? Just wondering…. Sharon(circa 1971 or 2)

  12. The Exorcist was made in 1973 the same year I was born. Coincidence? Yeah, probably but hey another channel with Lucy! Yay!

  13. This was the "Buckets-of-Blood" era. Try the 60's, when there was more creativity, and less blood and guts. (Tell me that Psycho WASN'T scary, despite the lack of blood and guts!)

  14. Good list, but I would have put 'Alien' first. 'Jaws' was a really good movie, but being a lifelong fan of horror movies, from the early sixties on, most of the seventies movies, though enjoyable, didn't really scare me. I mean, I'm the a**hole who laughed at 'The Exorcist' when Regan's head spun around and she threw up pea soup. 'Alien' was the only film I had seen in years that made me want to look away; the only one that had me on the edge of my seat. It is eerie, and darkly disturbing, and completely plausible in some distant future.

  15. ‘The Exorcist’ should be #1 (in the very least deserves a place above ‘The Wicker Man’, a slow paced overrated film saved by its shocking ending. Oh, and ‘Black Christmas’ at #2? Seriously?).
    In my opinion, ‘The Exorcist’ is the scariest film of all time and still shocking to this day despite the rise of shock and gore in the genre. Still scares the crap of me to this day. A true classic.

  16. Weren't you supposed to be talking about horror movies from the 70's? Sorry the Nuns I had to deal with in school were scary than these movies.

    You missed the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre in 1974!

  17. The original Wicker Man is just softcore porn playing the part of a suspense movie.

    I want to read the book because both movies made of Carrie are boring as hell.

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