Goregirl’s TOP 10 Favourite Horror Films From 1973
These favourite lists represent me therefore I am obligated to make a revision to this top 10 for 1973. While working on my 1974 list I became aware I had The Wicker Man listed in the wrong year. The Wicker Man is listed as 1973 on IMDB and ranks high amoung my favourite horror films of all time. I was forced to remove The Crazies from my Top 10 for the year to include The Wicker Man. That also changes some of the comments I made below. There are four North American horror films on the list and four from the UK now. That was a major faux pas, but please don’t judge me too harshly!
It was inevitable more familiar titles would begin popping up on these lists. Not only do I have a few mainstream choices but a couple of them are award winning films! The film in the number one position was nominated for a shitload of Academy Awards for which it took home two and the film in the second position was nominated for a shitload of Bafta Awards and took home one. North American horror films are finally beginning to have a presence and hold five positions on the list! The UK continues to rock the early part of the decade with three films but the mighty Italians only have two entries for the year. There are numerous films from 1973 still on my “to see” list including, Juan López Moctezuma’s The Mansion of Madness (also directed the awesome Alucarda), Juraj Herz’s Morgiana (also directed the delightfully odd The Cremator), Jean Rollin’s Rose Of Iron, Joe D’Amato’s Death Smiled At Murder, Antonio Margheriti’s Seven Deaths In The Cat’s Eye, Amando de Ossorio’s The Night of the Sorcerers, Claudio Guerín and Juan Antonio Bardem’s A Bell From Hell and José Luis Merino’s The Hanging Woman.
Here’s what made the shortlist: The Crazies, Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things, Don’t Look In The Basement, The Creeping Flesh, Flesh For Frankenstein, A Candle For The Devil, Ssssssss, The Satanic Rites Of Dracula, Invasion Of The Bee Girls, The Baby, Scream Blacula Scream, Cannibal Girls, Psychomania, Schlock, Return Of The Blind Dead, The Asphyx, And Now The Screaming Starts, Horror Hospital, Horror Rises From The Tomb, The Pyx, The Killing Kind, Requiem for a Vampire, Crypt Of The Living Dead, Hunchback of the Morgue.
#10 BABA YAGA
Directed By: Corrado Farina
Baba Yaga is a kinky, sexy surreal collection of erotic and fetish inspired dreams of executions, Nazi soldiers and dark holes with no bottom. Reality becomes intertwined with dreams and the lines between what is real and not become blurred. The film oozes with the anti-establishment sentiment, sexual awakening and pop culture sensibility of the decade. Baba Yaga is a stylish, surreal, strange, sexy and beautiful 70’s pop art time capsule and a grand nod to the awesome comic art of Guido Crepax. To read the full review click here.
Directed By: Brian De Palma
Siamese twins are an intriguing theme for a horror film. Sisters focuses on medicated, mentally unstable twin Danielle. The films greatest strength is its character oriented story and an outstanding performance from Margot Kidder. Kidder is adorable, charming and nuts. I love the mood and the flow and the finale is the final reward. This early entry from Brian De Palma is one of my personal favourites from the director, and while the violence is spare it scores with intensity and suspense.
#8 GANJA AND HESS
Directed By: Bill Gunn
You do not want to come to Ganja and Hess for anything remotely resembling traditional vampire lore. The word vampire is never uttered. This is really a film about addiction. An addiction to blood that comes with some powerfully trippy visions. Director Bill Gunn takes an artistic approach to horror and creates a very stylistic film with some most unique and dreamy visuals and an extremely effective use of tribal beats. Duane Jones and Marlene Clark give great performance and the sexual chemistry between the two is electric. Ganja and Hess is a dark and foreboding trip with a highly potent and satisfying ending. To read the full review click here.
Directed By: Sergio Martino
The good old balaclava! Headwear of thieves and serial killers alike! Such a simple and yet creepy way to mask your bad guy. Torso has a balaclaved baddie, amazing scenery of the Italian countryside, and plenty of skin and violence! What’s not to like? The final chase scene between the surviving female and the murderer is exciting and suspenseful, and is worth the price of admission alone. Gritty, sexy, suspenseful, violent and a great horror meets porno soundtrack! This is Martino’s fifth top ten entry in the first four years of the decade. Yep. Martino rocks! To read the full review click here.
#6 THEATER OF BLOOD
Directed By: Douglas Hickox
Vincent Price plays the part of a ham Shakespearian actor who seeks revenge against his critics and dispenses of them in a variety of ingenious ways. Theater of Blood is funny and clever with great performances all around, but it’s the Price factor that really makes this one shine. Vincent Price is at his outrageous best and gives a performance that is pure gold! Theater of Blood is gruesome fun of the highest order!
#5 LEMORA: A CHILD’S TALE OF THE SUPERNATURAL
Directed By: Richard Blackburn
Lemora: A Child’s Tale Of The Supernatural is a unique vampire film brimming with style, chills and intelligence. Its haunting story about loss of innocence has a hypnotic dream-like, fairytale vibe that is very appealing. The performances from Leslie Gild as Lemora and especially Cheryl Smith as the innocent Lila are pitch perfect. Lemora is a well-made, beautiful and mesmerizing film and a seriously underappreciated American gem.
#4 THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE
Directed By: John Hough
The Legend Of Hell House is one of the best haunted house films I’ve ever seen! The setting is fantastic and the atmosphere is chilling. the amazing thing about this film is the incredible atmosphere and scares are provided without the use of special effects. The director cleverly uses lighting and shadows to convey the mood and give the house life. The entire cast are excellent, particularly the lovely Pamela Franklin and Roddy McDowall who plays it dead serious. If you enjoy haunted house flicks, they truly don’t get much better than this!
#3 THE WICKER MAN
Directed By: Robin Hardy
Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Man is one of the most original horror films ever made! The steadily building sense of dread is impressive and the finale is unforgettable. Most of the film takes place in the daylight and the sets, costumes and general look of the film is superb. Lee of course is excellent as Lord Summerisle but I have to commend Edward Woodward who is awesome in the role of the uptight Sergeant Howie. Howie’s faith is challenged more than once while investigating the town of pagans. The dancing, singing and costume wearing all sounds a little jubilant for a horror film, but these elements really add a special twisted creepiness. The Wicker Man, without a doubt, is one of the most unique horror films out there. It is a surreal treat that is clever, funny and macabre.
#2 DON’T LOOK NOW
Directed By: Nicolas Roeg
Don’t Look Now is a brilliantly written psychological thriller with outstanding performances from Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie. Gorgeously filmed with an astounding tension and mood. The foreign streets of Venice become a terrifying and disorienting place for the grieving Baxter’s. The supernatural vibe adds the horror to the story and provides a clever tool for moving along the story. It’s sad, haunting, beautiful and frightening. It is no surprise the film was nominated for several Bafta awards, and sadly it is also no surprise the film picked up only one for cinematography. There is just not enough love for the horror genre at these award shows.
#1 THE EXORCIST
Directed By: William Friedkin
The Exorcist is one of the first R-rated horror films I ever seen and holds an extra special place in my heart. I love me a possession flick, and there are so few that are actually good. It not only succeeds with impressive effects, (that demon makeup kicks my ass!), it actually has a great story and outstanding performances! As much as I respect Friedkin’s inclusion of a 10-year old fucking herself with a crucifix (and I Do respect that), the films outrageous moments seem much more believable thanks in a large part to the amazing Ellen Burstyn who plays Chris MacNeil. Burstyn plays a tough talking, liberated actress and single mom who smokes and swears and seems very much in control of her own destiny. Her reactions and dialog are natural and fluid and completely believable. A lesser actress in the role could have crushed this film. Kudos also to Max Von Sydow who plays father Merrin, Jason Miller who plays Father Karras and of course little Linda Blair who plays the possessed Regan. Mainstream or not, The Exorcist has balls, intensity and outstanding performances that make me want to yell Fuck me Jesus! The Exorcist was nominated for a whopping TEN academy awards! It took away best sound and best adapted screenplay.