Karen: You know we're all about the 70s here at BAB, and in honor of Halloween, I'm going to take a look at some of my favorite horror films of the 70s.
No conversation about 70s horror would be complete without referencing the many films that came out of Hammer Studios. Although the studio's output was definitely on the downside by the time the 70s rolled around, their style -probably best summed up as blood and boobs - had set a tone for things to come. Dracula AD 1972 is one of the cheesiest films you might ever see, with a hilarious depiction of hip London kids. But Christopher Lee still manages to be a terrifying Dracula, and Peter Cushing turns in another winning performance as his nemesis. 1974's Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter is a very offbeat film, but one that I enjoy. The good captain and his assistant work to free a village from the grip of a vampiric menace. The beautiful Caroline Munro is also featured in both of these films, for those who might be interested. Both are also available from Netflix too.
Nazis? Zombies? Two great bad guys that go great together! How about Nazi zombies? As a plus, they're amphibious Nazi zombies! OK, sounds pretty goofy, but the movie Shock Waves (1977) manages to make it entertaining. There's also the aforementioned Peter Cushing in a small role, and horror film veteran John Carradine as a cranky old ship captain. There's also a guy who looks a lot like Will Ferrell and acts just as stupid as him. Despite the inherent ridiculousness of the plot, it manages to be genuinely spooky in some spots. Worth a view from YouTube at the very least:
Speaking of 70s zombies, how about one of the best zombie films ever? I'm talking (of course) about the original Dawn of the Dead (1978). The world is in the grips of a zombie plague; society is breaking down, and four people escape to the imagined safety of a shopping mall. But then, things go terribly awry...this is a must-see film, a horror classic. Sure, the zombie makeup is pretty lame - they look like a bunch of smurfs, they're so blue. But the story is so good, I think you can get past it. The feeling of dread that permeates the whole movie is hard to shake.
There was also a lot of great horror to be found on TV in the 70s. Back in those days, there were movies of the week, where you could find such fare as Gargoyles, The Night Stalker, Trilogy of Terror, Crowhaven Farm, and a sweet little miniseries called Salem's Lot (1979). Based on the Steven King novel, this adaptation was well-acted, suspenseful, and had a number of jump out of your chair moments.
I highly recommend any of these movies if you love the 70s the way we do here at BAB! And a heads-up: the excellent zombie comic The Walking Dead has been turned into a TV series by the folks at AMC. It will premiere on Halloween night. From what little I've seen so far, it looks like they're doing a good job on it. Here's a clip:
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