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The 50 Greatest Horror Films Of The 1970s

A selection of the very best horror films of the 70s.

  • Movies or TV
  • IMDb Rating
  • In Theaters
  • Release Year

1. The Exorcist (1973)

R | 122 min | Horror

When a young girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two Catholic priests to save her life.

Director: William Friedkin | Stars: Ellen Burstyn , Max von Sydow , Linda Blair , Lee J. Cobb

Votes: 440,718 | Gross: $232.91M

2. Jaws (1975)

PG | 124 min | Adventure, Mystery, Thriller

When a killer shark unleashes chaos on a beach community off Cape Cod, it's up to a local sheriff, a marine biologist, and an old seafarer to hunt the beast down.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Roy Scheider , Robert Shaw , Richard Dreyfuss , Lorraine Gary

Votes: 643,275 | Gross: $260.00M

3. Halloween (1978)

R | 91 min | Horror, Thriller

Fifteen years after murdering his sister on Halloween night 1963, Michael Myers escapes from a mental hospital and returns to the small town of Haddonfield, Illinois to kill again.

Director: John Carpenter | Stars: Donald Pleasence , Jamie Lee Curtis , Tony Moran , Nancy Kyes

Votes: 297,465 | Gross: $47.00M

4. Alien (1979)

R | 117 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

The crew of a commercial spacecraft encounters a deadly lifeform after investigating an unknown transmission.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Sigourney Weaver , Tom Skerritt , John Hurt , Veronica Cartwright

Votes: 924,217 | Gross: $78.90M

5. Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Unrated | 127 min | Horror, Thriller

During an escalating zombie epidemic, two Philadelphia SWAT team members, a traffic reporter and his TV executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall.

Director: George A. Romero | Stars: David Emge , Ken Foree , Scott H. Reiniger , Gaylen Ross

Votes: 126,122 | Gross: $5.10M

6. The Wicker Man (1973)

R | 88 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

A puritan Police Sergeant arrives in a Scottish island village in search of a missing girl, who the Pagan locals claim never existed.

Director: Robin Hardy | Stars: Edward Woodward , Christopher Lee , Diane Cilento , Britt Ekland

Votes: 88,600 | Gross: $0.06M

7. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

R | 83 min | Horror

Five friends head out to rural Texas to visit the grave of a grandfather. On the way they stumble across what appears to be a deserted house, only to discover something sinister within. Something armed with a chainsaw.

Director: Tobe Hooper | Stars: Marilyn Burns , Edwin Neal , Allen Danziger , Paul A. Partain

Votes: 177,590 | Gross: $30.86M

8. Carrie (1976)

R | 98 min | Horror, Mystery

Carrie White, a shy, friendless teenage girl who is sheltered by her domineering, religious mother, unleashes her telekinetic powers after being humiliated by her classmates at her senior prom.

Director: Brian De Palma | Stars: Sissy Spacek , Piper Laurie , Amy Irving , John Travolta

Votes: 200,721 | Gross: $33.80M

9. Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)

PG | 107 min | Drama, Horror

Count Dracula moves from Transylvania to Wismar, spreading the Black Plague across the land. Only a woman pure of heart can bring an end to his reign of horror.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Klaus Kinski , Isabelle Adjani , Bruno Ganz , Roland Topor

Votes: 39,167

10. Suspiria (1977)

R | 92 min | Horror

An American newcomer to a prestigious German ballet academy comes to realize that the school is a front for something sinister amid a series of grisly murders.

Director: Dario Argento | Stars: Jessica Harper , Stefania Casini , Flavio Bucci , Miguel Bosé

Votes: 101,804

11. Daughters of Darkness (1971)

R | 87 min | Horror

While passing through a vacation resort, a newlywed couple encounters a mysterious, strikingly beautiful countess and her aide.

Director: Harry Kümel | Stars: Delphine Seyrig , John Karlen , Danielle Ouimet , Andrea Rau

Votes: 6,769

12. Don't Look Now (1973)

R | 110 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

A married couple grieving the recent death of their young daughter are in Venice when they encounter two elderly sisters, one of whom is psychic and brings a warning from beyond.

Director: Nicolas Roeg | Stars: Julie Christie , Donald Sutherland , Hilary Mason , Clelia Matania

Votes: 60,536 | Gross: $0.98M

13. The Omen (1976)

R | 111 min | Horror, Mystery

Mysterious deaths surround an American ambassador. Could the child that he is raising actually be the Antichrist? The Devil's own son?

Director: Richard Donner | Stars: Gregory Peck , Lee Remick , Harvey Stephens , David Warner

Votes: 127,395 | Gross: $4.27M

14. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

PG | 115 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

When strange seeds drift to earth from space, mysterious pods begin to grow and invade San Francisco, replicating the city's residents one body at a time.

Director: Philip Kaufman | Stars: Donald Sutherland , Brooke Adams , Jeff Goldblum , Veronica Cartwright

Votes: 66,778 | Gross: $24.95M

15. The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)

PG-13 | 94 min | Comedy, Horror

Doctor, scientist, organist, and biblical scholar Anton Phibes seeks revenge on the nine doctors he considers responsible for the death of his wife.

Director: Robert Fuest | Stars: Vincent Price , Joseph Cotten , Hugh Griffith , Terry-Thomas

Votes: 16,275 | Gross: $0.55M

16. Martin (1977)

R | 95 min | Drama, Horror

A young man, who believes himself to be a vampire, goes to live with his elderly and hostile cousin in a small Pennsylvania town where he tries to redeem his blood-craving urges.

Director: George A. Romero | Stars: John Amplas , Lincoln Maazel , Christine Forrest , Elyane Nadeau

Votes: 12,238 | Gross: $0.10M

17. The Night Stalker (1972 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 74 min | Horror, Mystery

An abrasive Las Vegas newspaper reporter investigates a series of murders committed by a vampire.

Director: John Llewellyn Moxey | Stars: Darren McGavin , Carol Lynley , Simon Oakland , Ralph Meeker

Votes: 7,061

18. Theater of Blood (1973)

R | 104 min | Comedy, Drama, Horror

A Shakespearean actor takes poetic revenge on the critics who denied him recognition.

Director: Douglas Hickox | Stars: Vincent Price , Diana Rigg , Ian Hendry , Harry Andrews

Votes: 11,943

19. The Brood (1979)

R | 92 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

A man tries to uncover an unconventional psychologist's therapy techniques on his institutionalized wife, amidst a series of brutal murders.

Director: David Cronenberg | Stars: Oliver Reed , Samantha Eggar , Art Hindle , Henry Beckman

Votes: 33,303

20. The Legend of Hell House (1973)

PG | 95 min | Horror

A physicist, his wife and two mediums are hired to investigate the Belasco House, where 27 guests had inexplicably died in 1927, along with most of a team of paranormal investigators that was sent in the early 1950s.

Director: John Hough | Stars: Roddy McDowall , Gayle Hunnicutt , Pamela Franklin , Clive Revill

Votes: 13,743

21. Frankenstein: The True Story (1973 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 185 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

When the brilliant but unorthodox scientist Dr. Victor Frankenstein rejects the artificial man that he has created, the Creature escapes and later swears revenge.

Director: Jack Smight | Stars: James Mason , Leonard Whiting , David McCallum , Jane Seymour

Votes: 1,889

22. Deep Red (1975)

R | 127 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

A jazz pianist and a wisecracking journalist are pulled into a complex web of mystery after the former witnesses the brutal murder of a psychic.

Director: Dario Argento | Stars: David Hemmings , Daria Nicolodi , Gabriele Lavia , Macha Méril

Votes: 41,364

23. Phantom of the Paradise (1974)

PG | 91 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

A disfigured composer sells his soul for the woman he loves so that she will perform his music. However, an evil record tycoon betrays him and steals his music to open his rock palace, The Paradise.

Director: Brian De Palma | Stars: Paul Williams , William Finley , Jessica Harper , Gerrit Graham

Votes: 21,504 | Gross: $0.16M

24. Shivers (1975)

R | 87 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

The residents of a suburban high-rise apartment building are being infected by a strain of parasites that turn them into mindless, sex-crazed fiends out to infect others by the slightest sexual contact.

Director: David Cronenberg | Stars: Paul Hampton , Joe Silver , Lynn Lowry , Allan Kolman

Votes: 23,013

25. The Hills Have Eyes (1977)

R | 90 min | Horror, Thriller

On the way to California, a family has the misfortune to have their car break down in an area closed to the public, and inhabited by violent savages ready to attack.

Director: Wes Craven | Stars: Susan Lanier , Robert Houston , John Steadman , Janus Blythe

Votes: 38,216 | Gross: $25.00M

26. Black Christmas (1974)

R | 98 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

During their Christmas break, a group of sorority girls are stalked by a stranger.

Director: Bob Clark | Stars: Olivia Hussey , Keir Dullea , Margot Kidder , John Saxon

Votes: 45,485 | Gross: $4.05M

27. House of Dark Shadows (1970)

GP | 97 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

Vampire Barnabas Collins is accidentally released from his centuries-long confinement at his family's estate in Maine. He targets his clueless descendants who live there now and pursues Maggie, the incarnation of his lost love.

Director: Dan Curtis | Stars: Jonathan Frid , Grayson Hall , Kathryn Leigh Scott , Roger Davis

Votes: 3,344 | Gross: $4.00M

28. Count Dracula (1977 TV Movie)

TV-PG | 150 min | Drama, Horror

The vampire count leaves his Transylvanian home to wreak havoc across the world.

Director: Philip Saville | Stars: Louis Jourdan , Frank Finlay , Susan Penhaligon , Judi Bowker

Votes: 1,719

29. Dead of Night (1974)

PG | 88 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

A young soldier killed in the Vietnam War inexplicably shows up at his family home on the night of his death.

Director: Bob Clark | Stars: John Marley , Lynn Carlin , Richard Backus , Henderson Forsythe

Votes: 5,811 | Gross: $0.03M

30. Salem's Lot (1979)

PG | 200 min | Horror

A novelist and a young horror fan attempt to save a small New England town which has been invaded by vampires.

Stars: David Soul , James Mason , Lance Kerwin , Bonnie Bedelia

Votes: 26,628

31. Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (1973 TV Movie)

Unrated | 74 min | Horror

A young couple inherits an old mansion inhabited by small demon-like creatures who are determined to make the wife one of their own.

Director: John Newland | Stars: Kim Darby , Jim Hutton , Barbara Anderson , William Demarest

Votes: 4,021

32. Death Line (1972)

Unrated | 87 min | Horror

When a government official disappears in the London tunnels, after several reports of missing people in the same location, Scotland Yard start to take the matter seriously, along with a couple who stumble into a victim by accident.

Director: Gary Sherman | Stars: Donald Pleasence , Norman Rossington , David Ladd , Sharon Gurney

Votes: 5,243

33. Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974)

R | 95 min | Horror

A cop chases two hippies suspected of a series of Manson family-like murders; unbeknownst to him, the real culprits are the living dead, brought to life with a hunger for human flesh by ultrasonic radiation being used for pest control.

Director: Jorge Grau | Stars: Cristina Galbó , Ray Lovelock , Arthur Kennedy , Aldo Massasso

Votes: 9,087

34. A Bay of Blood (1971)

R | 84 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

The murder of a wealthy countess triggers a chain reaction of brutal killings in the surrounding bay area, as several unscrupulous characters try to seize her large estate.

Director: Mario Bava | Stars: Claudine Auger , Luigi Pistilli , Claudio Camaso , Anna Maria Rosati

Votes: 12,209

35. The Blood on Satan's Claw (1971)

R | 97 min | Horror

In 17th-century England, the children of a village slowly convert into a coven of devil worshipers.

Director: Piers Haggard | Stars: Patrick Wymark , Linda Hayden , Barry Andrews , Michele Dotrice

Votes: 7,180

36. From Beyond the Grave (1974)

PG | 97 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

An anthology of four short horror stories revolving around a mysterious antique shop owner and his antique pieces, each of which hides a deadly secret.

Director: Kevin Connor | Stars: Peter Cushing , Ian Bannen , Ian Carmichael , Diana Dors

Votes: 5,110

37. Frightmare (1974)

R | 88 min | Horror

After escaping a death sentence for her hideous crimes, a seemingly rehabilitated woman settles in an isolated farmhouse with her husband, only to ache, once more, for blood, and a crash-course in surgery. Is, indeed, her old self back?

Director: Pete Walker | Stars: Rupert Davies , Sheila Keith , Deborah Fairfax , Paul Greenwood

Votes: 2,579

38. The Last House on the Left (1972)

R | 84 min | Crime, Horror, Thriller

Two teenage girls heading to a rock concert for one's birthday try to score marijuana in the city, where they are kidnapped and brutalized by a gang of psychopathic convicts.

Director: Wes Craven | Stars: Sandra Peabody , Lucy Grantham , David Hess , Fred J. Lincoln

Votes: 39,484 | Gross: $3.10M

39. Phantasm (1979)

R | 89 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

A teenage boy and his friends face off against a mysterious grave robber, known only as the Tall Man, who employs a lethal arsenal of unearthly weapons.

Director: Don Coscarelli | Stars: A. Michael Baldwin , Bill Thornbury , Reggie Bannister , Kathy Lester

Votes: 40,195 | Gross: $11.99M

40. Rabid (1977)

R | 91 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

A young woman develops a taste for human blood after experimental plastic surgery, and her victims turn into blood-thirsty zombies, leading into a city-wide epidemic.

Director: David Cronenberg | Stars: Marilyn Chambers , Frank Moore , Terry Schonblum , Joe Silver

Votes: 20,824

41. Piranha (1978)

R | 94 min | Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi

When flesh-eating piranhas are accidentally released into a summer resort's rivers, the guests become their next meal.

Director: Joe Dante | Stars: Bradford Dillman , Heather Menzies-Urich , Kevin McCarthy , Keenan Wynn

Votes: 23,871 | Gross: $6.00M

42. Tales from the Crypt (1972)

PG | 92 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

Five strangers get lost in a crypt and, after meeting the mysterious Crypt Keeper, receive visions of how they will die.

Director: Freddie Francis | Stars: Joan Collins , Peter Cushing , Ralph Richardson , Geoffrey Bayldon

Votes: 12,553 | Gross: $1.70M

43. The Crazies (1973)

R | 103 min | Action, Horror, Sci-Fi

The military attempts to contain a manmade combat virus that causes death and permanent insanity in those infected, as it overtakes a small Pennsylvania town.

Director: George A. Romero | Stars: Lane Carroll , Will MacMillan , Harold Wayne Jones , Lloyd Hollar

Votes: 14,409 | Gross: $0.15M

44. Asylum (I) (1972)

PG | 88 min | Horror

In order to secure a job at a mental institution, a young psychiatrist must interview four patients inside the asylum.

Director: Roy Ward Baker | Stars: Barbara Parkins , Richard Todd , Sylvia Syms , Peter Cushing

Votes: 7,882

45. Blacula (1972)

PG | 93 min | Fantasy, Horror, Romance

An 18th century African prince, turned into a vampire by Dracula, finds himself in modern day Los Angeles.

Director: William Crain | Stars: William Marshall , Vonetta McGee , Denise Nicholas , Thalmus Rasulala

Votes: 7,593 | Gross: $3.00M

46. Horror Express (1972)

R | 88 min | Adventure, Horror, Sci-Fi

While on the Trans-Siberian Express, an anthropologist and his rival must contain the threat posed by the former's cargo: a prehistoric ape which is the host for a parasitic life-form.

Director: Eugenio Martín | Stars: Christopher Lee , Peter Cushing , Alberto de Mendoza , Telly Savalas

Votes: 12,230

47. Trilogy of Terror (1975 TV Movie)

Unrated | 72 min | Horror, Thriller

Three bizarre horror stories, all of which star Karen Black in four different roles playing four tormented women.

Director: Dan Curtis | Stars: Robert Burton , John Karlen , George Gaynes , Jim Storm

Votes: 8,427

48. God Told Me To (1976)

R | 91 min | Crime, Horror, Sci-Fi

A New York detective investigates a series of murders committed by random New Yorkers who claim that "God told them to."

Director: Larry Cohen | Stars: Tony Lo Bianco , Deborah Raffin , Sandy Dennis , Sylvia Sidney

Votes: 6,321

49. The Vampire Lovers (1970)

R | 91 min | Horror

Seductive vampire Carmilla Karnstein and her family target the beautiful and the rich in a remote area of late eighteenth-century Gemany.

Director: Roy Ward Baker | Stars: Ingrid Pitt , Pippa Steel , Madeline Smith , Peter Cushing

Votes: 7,077

50. The Creeping Flesh (1973)

PG | 92 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

A Victorian-age scientist returns to London with his paleontological bag-of-bones discovery from Papua New Guinea. Unfortunately, when exposed to water, flesh returns to the bones ... See full summary  »

Director: Freddie Francis | Stars: Christopher Lee , Peter Cushing , Lorna Heilbron , George Benson

Votes: 4,306

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