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.

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#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.

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#9 SISTERS
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.

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#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.

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#7 TORSO
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.

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#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!

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#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.

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#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!

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#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.

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#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.

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#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.

19 Responses to “Goregirl’s TOP 10 Favourite Horror Films From 1973”

  1. Oh, MAN! I LOVE Don’t Look Now! What a trip that movie was, really need to watch it again. They just don’t make ’em like that anymore and it’s nice to go back to a time in the world when Donald Sutherland didn’t take any shit role that was tossed his way.

    And I need to see The Exorcist again. Been way too long.

    • goregirl Says:

      INDEED!! Sutherland is a brilliant actor!! One of my personal favourites in fact. KLUTE, MASH, BODY SNATCHERS, and of course DON”T LOOK NOW…all just top notch! Sadly, the last thing I recall seeing him in was the horrible An American Haunting. Sheesh! It even had Sissy Spacek in it, who I also really like. Spacek and Sutherland could be a great screen duo, in a good film anyway. Sutherland needs a comeback role!!

  2. You’ve got some great ones for this year, and a couple I’m going to have to look up. I can’t wait to see what you pick for 1974 (the year I was born). Theatre of Blood is one of my all time favorite Vincent Price movies. I get a kick out of the fact that he was a Shakespearean trained actor who never got the chance to do any Shakespeare, which is something I think he calls upon in this role. I’m sure that the irony was not lost on him. Another of my all time favorites is Hell House. Roddy McDowell seemed to be one of those actors that brought a little something extra to whatever he did. If you get the chance, you should really read Richard Matheson’s book of the same name. The movie’s not bad, but like all movies, it does leave a lot out.

    • goregirl Says:

      Richard Matheson! I hadn’t read a book in ages and I finally just read I AM LEGEND! WOW! What a book, no wonder people like it so much! I will definitely be picking up HELL HOUSE soon! The Legend Of Hell House was a favourite film growing up, but I hadn’t seen it in a few years. I rewatched it just last week and was really impressed with many things about this film, but especially what they are able to acheive with no special effects. Alas, movies rarely live up to the book they were based upon. I hope reading the book doesn’t spoil the movie for me completely.

      Vincent Price rocks! Seems like this role was tailor made for the man.

  3. Ganja and Hess is one of the most fun weird movies I’ve ever seen. I loved it. Your description is spot-on.

    • goregirl Says:

      I’m so glad someone else appreciates Ganja and Hess! Apparently the distributor cut the hell out of this movie and renamed it to cash in on the popularity of “blaxploitation”. There’s some awkward editing at times, but that is due to the reconstuction. What a bloody shame! Such a great film that might have been ever greater had some jackass left well enough alone!

  4. There could only be one winner. The Exorcist is probably my choice for greatest film ever made if only because of its powerful influence on me when I was younger. My mother created the mystique by not allowing the film in the house! She always said she did a Ouiji board after seeing the film and “something happened”! It was the 70s – she was probably smoking something at the time; I’m positive she was a groupie back in those days!

    When I did eventually see it, I couldn’t watch it again for years it scared it so much. And then, when I did watch it again, I only ever watched it with someone. It was only in the last couple of years I’ve been able to watch it alone. Friedkin’s direction, his use of editing and sound, his cinematography and shooting style as well as set design, make the whole thing feel so real. Blatty’s screenplay is also fantastic as are the performances of the cast. One of the greatest films ever…full stop!

    What a wonderful year 73 was – Don’t Look Now is another favourite of mine. I like Sisters too but I think it works better in the first half than the second. The Crazies is messed up as is Theatre of Blood. The Legend of Hell House is great. I’m going to have to check out the rest.

    • goregirl Says:

      Nothing wrong with hip parents! My parents were probably a little too liberal with what they let me watch as a kid. For this I thank them daily!There was no question what film was going on top! It is generally a very good thing when the author of a book is actually involved in the writing of a screenplay! No surprise it won for that category.

      There were a lot of great choices for the year. The top 5 are all 5/5 in my book! If I could recommend one film for you to check out other than what you mentioned seeing, I would highly recommend LEMORA. If you can see past the lower budget, it is quite the interesting and unique horror film.

  5. I just found your page a few weeks ago and love it; it has to be one of the best pages out there for this type of blog. Your top 10 horror films from each year are fantastic! Allot of these have ended up on my netflix queue! Thanks!

  6. That’s a great list. This is like a definitive list of great horror films considering you’ve got The Crazies and The Exorcist and Don’t Look Now.

    I agree with the lack of love for horror although a lot of critics change their views in the long-term. In the UK critics now worship Peeping Tom and Don’t Look Now – Sight and Sound magazine even had the script as a freebie for one of their issues.

    The most recent lack of love is this year’s Oscars. Inception didn’t walk away with any of the major prizes but will be the most remembered film of 2010.

    Also… consider yourself lucky that you missed 1973’s Messiah of Evil. The movie was so bad it put me off my chips. When I say bad, I mean terrible acting, terrible special effects and it’s not scary in the least bit (although the albino chap eating rats is a bit creepy).

    • goregirl Says:

      Some amazing films came out this year! But I made a serious error with this list actually!! I left a very important film off this 1973 list that I had listed as “1974”. I will be making a revision to this list later today. There’s still some very important and influential 70’s flicks to come though. I would say my number one film for 1974 was responsible for a pretty major shift in the world of horror.

      Don’t even get me started on award shows. I hate them all. Admittedly, I do attend a friends Oscar Party every year and that is quite enough. The Oscars are slightly more interesting fueled with liquor.

      How can Messiah Of Evil be bad? It’s got such a great cover!

  7. bizarre_eye Says:

    Great chocies GG.

    I’m surprised and pleased to see Lemora get a mention, as it’s a film any self-respecting horror fan should see. As I hinted at in a previous comment; I am shocked The Wicker Man didn’t feature – that would have got my top spot.

    Good to see some love for Torso, Don’t Look Now, and Sisters too. I’m eagerly awaiting your 1974 picks now. 😉

  8. The Wicker Man, now there’s a major spoiler on the DVD cover 🙂

    Nobody mention the Nic Cage remake either.

  9. bizarre_eye Says:

    Very glad to see The Wicker Man represented now! Whilst I do like The Crazies, it’s never been top 10 material for me.

    I must have missed it before, but I’m glad A Candle for the Devil made your shortlist as it’s a favourite of mine (and would probably have made my top 10).

  10. What a great year. Nothing more needs saying about that one.

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