Goregirl’s TOP 10 Favourite Horror Films From 1971

I warned the 1971 list would be heavy with Italian films, and indeed it is. Italy is represented in six spots and a few more made the shortlist. More UK films turned up but only one made the top ten. I was hoping to get a chance to check out the Hammer film Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde before compiling the list, but didn’t get the opportunity. There were a few other Hammer films from 1971 but they just weren’t top ten material. Rounding out the top ten is one film each from Belgium, Spain and The United States. 1971 was a killer year! It was tough just picking ten! I seen a lot of films from this year, and almost half of them made the shortlist. Here’s what didn’t make the top ten; The Blood On Satan’s Claw, The Cat O’Nine Tails, Black Belly Of The Tarantula, Vampiros Lesbos, Willard, Countess Dracula, Twins of Evil, Four Flies On Grey Velvet, The House That Dripped Blood, Don’t Deliver Us From Evil, The Werewolf Versus the Vampire Woman, The Toy Box, The Vampire Happening, Twins of Evil, The Mephisto Waltz, Godzilla vs. Hedora, Fright, She Killed in Ecstasy, The Night Evelyn Came Out Of The Grave.

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#10 TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD
Directed By: Amando de Ossorio

The premise of Tombs Of The Blind Dead revolves around a legion of the Templar Knights who were executed and had their eyes pecked out by crows. Amando de Ossorio directs with heaping piles of mood and style. Tombs Of The Blind Dead has a killer atmosphere. The crumbling old Templar Monastery is awesome! The rotted remains of the Templar Knights hidden beneath hooded robes mounting their ghostly horses are a thing of beauty! It is a bit of a shame we don’t get to see the Knights more often though. There is a lesbian love scene, torture, a catfight, a rape and a bit of nudity included for good measure. A great soundtrack and a lively ending seals the deal. To read my full review click here.

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#9 THE FIFTH CORD
Directed By: Luigi Bazzoni

I must admit, my favourite thing about The Fifth Cord is Franco Nero. Here he plays drunken macho journalist Andrea Bild and he is very entertaining! The Fifth Cord also happens to be a damn good film. Beautiful and inventive cinematography, suspenseful murder sequences, a fabulously trashy soundtrack from Ennio Morricone and a wee bit of sex and sleaze. Add Nero, and what’s not to like? To read my full review click here.

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#8 DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS
Directed By: Harry Kümel

Daughters Of Darkness is a sexy, stylish and psychological trip where violence and eroticism reigns supreme. The film has a dream-like quality enhanced by its impressive setting. The hotel in which the film takes place is spectacular and adds a decadent old world charm to the contemporary setting. Delphine Seyrig is outstanding as the sophisticated and nasty Countess Bathory. Intelligent, character driven and beautifully filmed but also nasty, ugly, surprising and deliciously naughty!

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#7 SHORT NIGHT OF GLASS DOLLS
Directed By: Aldo Lado

Aldo Lado’s Short Night OF Glass Dolls is a fascinating Italian thriller. It is quite bloodless, but its engrossing tale and suspense more than make up for it. Our central character’s seemingly lifeless body has been found. While his body appears lifeless his mind is working furiously to retrace his steps. We learn along with the character how he came to find himself in this predicament. Strong character development, creative camera work, an intriguing mystery and a bit of quirkiness, nudity and occult thrown in for good measure.

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#6 LET’S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH
Directed By: John D. Hancock

Let’s Scare Jessica To Death is a subtle but frightening film that gets under your skin. Zohra Lampert is just fantastic as the titular character and her portrayal of a mentally unstable woman is impressive. Jessica’s surreal nightmares are all that more effective because of it. Jessica questions her own sanity and I did too. This haunting, beautiful mystery is a seriously underappreciated gem that ranks high among the American made horror films of the 1970’s.

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#5 THE CASE OF THE SCORPION’S TAIL
Directed By: Sergio Martino

The Case Of The Scorpion’s Tail is an amazing film with all the classic Giallo elements served up with flare and style by one of my favourite masters of the genre. A well laid out plot is complimented by stylish and creative photography, fantastic set pieces, beautiful scenery, an excellent score from Bruno Nicolai and top notch performances from Martino regulars Anita Strindberg and George Hilton. To read my full review click here.

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#4 THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES
Directed By: Robert Fuest

The Abominable Dr. Phibes is without a doubt, one of my favourite Vincent Price films. Price gives a wickedly excellent performance as do the support cast (I particularly enjoyed Virginia North as Vulnavia). Director Robert Fuest creates a very clever, darkly comic, outrageously creative masterpiece. Phibes seeks revenge after his wife dies on the operating table and he’s using the bible for some helpful hints on how to get the job done. It is great fun waiting to see who will get it next, as every death sequence is its own exquisite work of art. Well filmed, well written and hardcore entertaining!

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#3 TWITCH OF THE DEATH NERVE (aka BAY OF BLOOD)
Directed By: Mario Bava

Twitch Of The Death Nerve has a pretty convoluted plot with multiple characters, each with their own agenda. In the end there is a big pile of dead greedy bodies. Bava’s film has some Giallo elements but leans heavier towards the horror and violence. The film keeps a steady pace and there’s a death about every ten minutes. Each death scene is creative and nasty fun. The large gothic mansion on the serene bay is the perfect backdrop. Twitch Of The Death Nerve is well-filmed with the perfect mood and tone. The film is charged with being a major influence for the slasher films of the 80’s. You’ll have to judge for yourself whether that is a good thing or not. I have watched this film multiple times over the years and it never fails to entertain me. To read my full review click here.

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#2 LIZARD IN A WOMAN’S SKIN
Directed By: Lucio Fulci

Lizard In A Woman’s Skin is an early Giallo from Lucio Fulci. Fulci crafts a coherent and engaging mystery with very little of the graphic violence he is best known for. The visuals throughout the film are excellent. The trippy dream sequences are a particular treat as is the amazing chase sequence through a cathedral. The film keeps you guessing and rewards with a great finale and reveal. Lizard In A Woman’s Skin stars the great Florinda Bolkan who gives a strong memorable performance. Anita Strindberg also leaves an impression as the seductive Julia. A mesmerizing and sexy Giallo that thrills and rewards.

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#1 THE STRANGE VICE OF MRS WARDH
Directed By: Sergio Martino

The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh is the perfect example of all the reasons I love Giallo. Sex, sleaze, mystery, thrills, violence and red herrings galore! It features the lovely and charismatic Edwige Fenech, my favourite lady of Giallo. It has amazing location shots in Italy and Spain, kick ass set pieces, and an electric atmosphere. The finale is a trinity of twists that left me mucho satisfied! Exquisite! Bravo Mr. Martino! Bravo! To read my full review click here.

23 Responses to “Goregirl’s TOP 10 Favourite Horror Films From 1971”

  1. I have only seen one movie among your favorites and that is Dr Phibes. I have to say that Vincent Price is my all time favorite horror movie actor, his Dr Phibes movies in particular. I can’t even say which Phibes movie is my favorite, since I love movies that bring out the nerd in me, as both movies do. The only problem I have is Vulnavia, which I think is everyone’s problem with the films. Is she a robot? Is she a “real girl?” How the heck does she survive having acid dripped on her if she’s real? How can she be a robot if she’s smoking a cigarette in one of the scenes? Is she some kind of divine muse as is suggested at the end of the second movie? No other movies come to mind that are so wonderful and so frustrating at the same time. Even Donnie Darko was more forthcoming with answers.

    • I’ve never really given Vulnavia much thought beyond her being very entertaining and hardcore fabulous. Robots could be programmed to smoke couldn’t they? Maybe she is a clone? I guess acid should hurt a clone, but I really don’t know enough about clones or robots to really make a call. Divine muse works for me!

  2. i recently re-watched DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS and it is simply sublime.

  3. I’ve seen Daughters of Darkness- I love to see Countess Bathory getting a little love. She needs more vampire film love.

    I really need to see The Abominable Dr. Phibes and Tombs of the Blind Dead. And the others too, but those two really jump out.

  4. I love dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde, haven’t seen it in ages

    Oh and count me as another that’s only seen Dr. Phibes

    Finally, was Bolkan ever bad in anything? I’ve seen her be great in usually terrible films more than once

    • Gotta see that DR J & Sister Hyde film soon! I’ve seen a ton of Hammer, I don’t know why I haven’t seen this yet.

      I REALLY love my 70’s horror but my taste does tend to lean towards the foreign titles. There should be more recognizable film names along the way.

      Bolkan can make a turd smell like a rose.

      • Bolkan can make a turd smell like a rose

        Dunno about that- I’ve seen Le Orme!

        • Sheesh Jarv! I thought you were going to cite Flavia The Heretic. Le Orme?! Seriously? I’ve heard nothing but good things about that film from fellow Gialli junkies. It clearly wasn’t your intention, but thanks for reminding me about this one! Le Orme’s director (Luigi Bazzoni) has representation on this very list…THE FIFTH CORD!

  5. Surprised and delighted to see a lesser known Fulci film at the #2 spot. It’s probably his most technically coherent film, but also his most mysterious and bizarre.

    I saw the Blue Underground release of Tombs of the Blind Dead a few years ago and I didn’t care for it. Though screencaps of it look enticing, I remember it being terribly slow and ponderous with unimpressive sets and effects. Then again, I watched it with a group of friends so it may be time to revisit it. Horror is a fickle muse; I’m always changing my opinions on these movies, especially once considerable time has passed.

    • Tombs, like a lot of European horror does have a lazy pace and I did make the complaint in my full review that I would have liked more action (particularly more knights). The film was clearly made on a limited budget, but I think they do a marvelous job with the effects. The last version I watched was a badly dubbed copy from one of those dirt cheap compilations and I still found the film positively charming. Watching films with friends can enhance the experience or ruin it, depending on the friends. I must admit, I do a fair amount of defending my choices amoung my circle! Last year I went though my top ten 80’s films for each year and I was shocked by how many films I recalled enjoying that were just garbage. On the other hand there were films that barely made a blip on my radar back in the day that I rewatched and loved! YES! Horror is a fickle muse indeed!

  6. bizarre_eye Says:

    Nice choices GG – I see you managed to resist the urge for an all Italian Top 10!

    Also: Le Orme is fantastic – very dreamy and surreal, definitely worth a look. Plus, I much prefer it to The Fifth Cord.

    • Once I got everything compiled, there were more non-Italian flicks than I thought. I hated leaving Black Belly Of The Tarantula off the list though! And I would have liked to include the French film Don’t Deliver Us From Evil also.

      I look forward to checking out Le Orme! I have to make an effort to check it out before I make my 1975 list.

  7. There’s no question about it. I’m going to have to check out Sergio Martino as you have such affection for his work, goregirl. Dare I say I hadn’t heard of him before but my knowledge of giallo films only really extends to the work of Dario Argento and no further.

    I’m a fan of Blood On Satan’s Claw so would have included it in my top 10 of the decade and Straw Dogs is one of the my favourite films of all time so that would have been my number one.

    Can we call A Clockwork Orange a horror film? If so, that would have to be in there too.

    Another top list though!

    • I didn’t get a chance to rewatch The Blood On Satans Claw but I recall liking that one alot. Unfortunately, it was far too long ago and details are blurry.

      I am a huge fan of Straw Dogs but I am sticking to one rule through these lists, IMDB has to list it in the genre. Straw Dogs is listed as “Drama, thriller”. That said, the films final scenes in the house could certainly be called horror. The minute that bizarre, rusty trap thing found its way into their home I knew someone was going to end up in it! Despite some brutality I wouldn’t call Clockwork Orange a horror film.

  8. girlfight…

    […]Goregirl’s TOP 10 Favourite Horror Films From 1971 « GOREGIRL'S DUNGEON[…]…

  9. […] ones I have seen from this list I have really enjoyed. I have reviewed Amer, Calvaire and included Daughters of Darkness on my list of favourite films of 1971. Although Man Bites Dog is not listed as a horror film, the […]

  10. Michael Smith Says:

    Hi gore girl, I’ve been just getting into Giallo films. I’m having a hard time finding a lot of the titles on-line. I live in a small town so not much hope in a good rental. Any hints on where I can find some of these movies.

    • I own a lot of my Giallo to be honest. I also live in an area that has a killer video store. Try YouTube. You would be surprised at how many full length films they have from the 60s, 70s and 80s including Giallo titles.

      • Michael Smith Says:

        Ha ha ya I actually watched the strange vice of Mrs. Wardh on you tube last night. Thanks for the tip. I also watched the skin I’m in after reading your review. That is one seriously messed up movie. I think I even felt a little more psychologically screwed up then I did at the end of Oldboy.
        YOur websites awesome! love your reviews!!!

  11. Michael Smith Says:

    -OOps *The Skin I live in

  12. Thank you for following my blog!

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