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.
#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.
#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.
#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!
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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!
#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.
#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.
#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.