Goregirl’s TOP 10 Favourite Horror Films From 1970

Last Year I did my top 10 favourite horror films from each year of the 1980’s and this year I’m taking on the 1970’s! My picks for this first year of the decade are a pretty international group from Germany, Czech Republic, U.S.A., Italy and UK. The list is particularly heavy with Italian and Uk films. It will be no surprise to anyone who visits this blog regularly to see three Italian titles. I am a huge fan of Italian horror, and besides American titles, it is the most covered country on this blog. The UK isn’t far behind with the third largest amount of reviews in the archives. Plus the Uk has the Hammer advantage. If you are unfamiliar with the studio, they pumped out a ton of entertaining gothic horror from the 50’s to the 70’s. The studio is best known for ample cleavage and the epic pairing of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. I suspect there will be many titles from these two parts of the globe all through the decade. I’ve already started 1971 which is completely saturated with Italian titles I love. 1971 is going to be a brutal one to rank! My goal is to do one year of the 70’s each week until they are done. I had seen only 25 films from 1970, and 18 of those made the shortlist. Here’s what didn’t make the top 10: The Tattooed Swordswoman, Mark Of The Devil, The Wizard of Gore, Count Yorga, Vampire, And Soon the Darkness, Goodbye Gemini and Taste The Blood of Dracula.

Directed By: David E. Durston

I Drink Your Blood isn’t going to be for everyone. It starts with a naked satanic ritual, a rape, and revenge in the form of meat pies that turn people rabid. Soon everyone is foaming at the mouth and violent. The pace is frantic and once everyone begins foaming at the mouth it is a crazy parade of weirdness, graphic gore, and sleaziness. Certainly there are gorier entries made since, but in 1970 this one must have been a shocker. I Drink Your Blood is pretty pointless and I could have lived without the animal violence. There’s some cheesy acting too, although it is kinda amusing. That said, I still found this sloppy little piece of exploitation an enjoyable romp.

Directed By: Mario Bava

Hatchet For The Honeymoon is not my favourite Bava film, but it does have style. There are really nice looking visuals and a great atmosphere. The ending however is annoyingly predictable but there is a great twist mid-film that should surprise. I really enjoyed Stephen Forsyth as main character John Harrington also Laura Betti is excellent as his bitchy wife Mildred. It’s light on the red stuff, but nonetheless has some great memorable scenes. It’s not perfect, but it is definitely entertaining.

Directed By: Gordon Hessler

Scream and Scream Again has a convoluted plot revolving around a serial killer and a mad scientist. It also features the mighty trio of Peter Cushing, Vincent Price and Christopher Lee! You’ll love the visuals in the credit sequence and there are a few other violent goodies to look forward to also! And what mad scientist doesn’t have a big vat of acid on hand? Tons and tons of fun! To read my guest contributor AustinChef’s review click here.

Directed By: Roy Ward Baker

Scars of Dracula is one of two Hammer Dracula films starring Christopher Lee that made the shortlist. I must admit, I prefer the 60’s entries Dracula Prince of Darkness and Dracula Has Risen From The Grave. Regardless, I still really enjoy Scars Of Dracula. Christopher Lee has more screen time and dialog and there is considerably more graphic violence than other Hammer films. I quite enjoyed how extra nasty Lee’s Dracula is in this one! Kudos also to Patrick Troughton who plays Dracula’s servant Klove and the lovely Jenny Hanley who plays the films central female character Sarah. This is Hammer’s Dracula at his most evil! While not the best of the studio’s vampire flicks it is still damn entertaining.

Directed By: Sergio Bergonzelli

In The Folds Of The Flesh is a little oddity from the 70’s that is certainly not your average Italian thriller. In fact, it is more of a delightfully demented, R-Rated soap opera. It has one of the most convoluted plots I’ve come upon that explores among other topics, incest, insanity and murder and as if that’s not enough they throw in some World War 2 flashbacks! If you enjoy Giallo that doesn’t follow the rules and has plenty of melodrama, crazy plot twists, and eccentric characters then In The Folds Of The Flesh is a must see! To read my full review click here.

Directed By: Roy Ward Baker

The Vampire Lovers is a bewitching tale that relies on more than just its beautiful cast. Ingrid Pitt is an outstanding vampire! Pitt’s sexy and confident performance ranks high among my favourite film vampires of all time. The film has a solid story, great set pieces and an excellent atmosphere. And yes, Ingrid Pitt seduces several young beautiful women. Don’t expect any exploitative 70’s sexuality here, this production is kept classy. The Vampire Lovers is an excellent contribution to the sub-genre with an amazing iconic turn from the great Ingrid Pitt.

Directed By: Freddie Francis

Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny & Girly puts the “functional” back into dysfunction. This completely insane family works together like a well-oiled machine. Sonny and Girly bring home unsuspecting guests to play a game that doesn’t end well if the rules aren’t followed. The film is brilliantly directed by ex-Hammer Studio’s man Freddie Francis. Its delightfully dark humor and outrageously fascinating characters are a shitload of fun! Vanessa Howard is a particular treat as Girly. “Nasty Nanny is no good! Chop her up for fire wood! When she’s dead, boil her head, make it into gingerbread!”

Directed By: Dario Argento

This highly influential early Giallo is visually stunning. There are countless images that would impress even the most cynical. I could literally watch a Dario Argento film without the sound and enjoy it. One of the most appealing aspects of The Bird With The Crystal Plumage is its voyeurism. The viewer is made to feel complicit in the crimes they’re watching. It also has a tightly written story with an excellent climax/reveal. To read my full review click here.

Directed By: Werner Herzog

Even Dwarfs Started Small takes place in an institution where its dwarf population has rebelled against those who imprison them. This is a film that demands your attention as there is much said but not spoken. It’s equal parts thought-provoking, strange, funny, frightening and violent. The exhilaration of rebellion and the eventual chaos evoked an array of unexpected emotions from me. Even Dwarfs Started Small is one of the most unique films I’ve ever seen and its images have been firmly engraved on my brain.

Directed By: Jaromil Jires

Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders is a Czech film that explores the surreal, haunting, horrifying and sexual world that lies between child and adulthood. It’s a visually dazzling, unsettling, beautiful and symbolic trip! It’s presented like a fairytale and is thicker with fantasy than horror, but the horrors do indeed exist in Valerie’s world. Jaroslava Schallerová is mesmerizing as the film’s title character Valerie. Complimenting it all is an awesome and continually changing soundtrack. I expect to get a bit of flack for having this at number one, but this is without a doubt the most unique and amazing film on this list, even if it is light on classic horror elements.

13 Responses to “Goregirl’s TOP 10 Favourite Horror Films From 1970”

  1. bizarre_eye Says:

    The 1970s were, no question, my favourite decade for horror. Impressive choices GG – I don’t think I’d be able to choose just 10!

    I Drink Your Blood is a personal favourite, plus I’m glad you enjoyed In the Folds of the Flesh enough to include it, too. 😉

  2. The 70’s is very near and dear to my heart and I quite look forward to compiling these lists. I’ve already started 1971 which alone might make my head explode! I have three films I want to rank #1 and I haven’t even made it halfway though the 1971 list! And my top 10 for the year might be entirely Italian!

  3. Great list. The only I’ve seen apart from the Argento is MUMSY, NANNY, SONNY & GIRLY, which annoyed me to no end. Sure, it has Vanessa Howard, it’s well-shot, well-made, weird, dangerous and fairly unique, but it really needs some bold editing. I was almost put to sleep by the never ending games, both physical and psychological; the novelty of it wore thin after the first few scenes.

    But there are many others on the list I’ve been meaning to see. Thanks for compiling it!

    • Mark – It struck me after my first viewing that Mumsy was pretty similiar to the superior Spider Baby, which was made a couple years previous in 68. It loses a little bit of ground for that, but I was never bored with the antics, they were all just very amusing to me.

      Dan – I was suprised at the lack of better known titles from this particular year. As I go through each year I assume more will pop up. Guaranteed to include The Exorcist, Dawn Of The Dead and early Cronenberg somewhere along the line! I’m obsessed with the 70’s and I know the films well, but test my knowledge of current film and I’d fail miserably!

  4. What an eclectic mix of horror films. Your knowledge of the genre and sheer range of films continued to amaze!

    Where have I seen that girl pictured in I Drink Your Blood? Is she in Shivers? Of these I now want to check out Mumsy and The Vampire Lovers.

  5. I have seen none of these films and must now watch them all. They all sound great so I better start tracking them down! I’m with Dan, who is that girl in I Drink Your Blood? It’s also plaguing my memory!

    • Will and Dan that is Lynn Lowry and yes, she was the nurse in Shivers, she is also in The Crazies and The Cat People.

  6. Werner effin’ Herzog

  7. Tried watching Valerie, but it was the Facets release–wonky subtitles and poor picture quality. Trying to get my hands on the Second Run Region 0, which I understand has a better picture.

    • I believe my first viewing of Valerie might have been the Facet release also. I rewatched it at a friends place recently who had a DVD version of Valerie with bloody lips on the cover I had never seen before. My friend has both North American and a region 2 dvd player though. I really should have this in my personal collection, I’m going to be on the look out for a better quality North American version myself.

  8. @goregirl: Yeah, I’m interested to find out what you have in store. I recently did put together a best horror top 30 for the years 67 to 79. It started out as a top 10 of the 70s then began to grow, and then I decided I wanted to include Rosemary’s Baby which was made in ’68, then watched Witchfinder General – loved it – and wanted to include that and that came out in ’68 too…so it just grew and grew. But I won’t hide the fact most of my choices are largely well-known films and I do favour more supernatural drama/mystery/it’s-what-you-don’t-see type stuff than graphic gore.

  9. bizarre_eye Says:

    Nothing wrong with a purely Italian Top 10! Although, for 1971 I’d probably have to also include the fantastic Abominable Dr Phibes and Tombs of the Blind Dead.

  10. I was writing down your favourite films of the ’60’s that you rated a 5/5 and 4.5/5. Which films from 1970 onwards did you give a 5/5 to or 4.5/5 to, or are all the top 10 lists for the years to come all 5/5?

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