A History of Horror
1970 - 1980.


The Birth of the Slasher.


The start of the decade saw Hammer films releasing yet more entries to their Dracula, Frankenstein and Mummy series of movies, which later proved to be their undoing as their popularity finally gave way to the more groundbreaking new styles of horror films, that where to emerge later on in the decade. This era was also made notable for the introduction of a new style of horror film, the "Slasher"...


The Exorcist 1970 saw Hammer releasing "Countess Dracula", based on the true story of Countess Elizabeth Bathory "I, Monster", starring Cushing and Lee again and "The Vampire Lovers" and "Lust for a Vampire", which where two romantic vampire flicks. However, their popularity began to wane with the release of "The Scars of Dracula" and "The Horror of Frankenstein", which were considered to be the worst films that Hammer ever made.

Hammer went onto release another Mummy film in 1971, with "Blood From The Mummy’s Tomb", along with the black comedy "Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde" and the Jack the Ripper inspired picture entitled "Hands of the Ripper". These where followed the next year by the appalling "Dracula : AD 1972", which was their attempt to update the story to present day 1972. Most notably in this year, Director Wes Craven teamed up with producer Sean Cunningham for the low-budget exploitation pic "Last House on the Left", which was made notable only by the fact that it was the picture that introduced the catchphrase "just keep telling yourself, it's only a movie...it's only a movie..."

The Texas Chainsaw MassacreHowever, 1973 saw the release of the most notorious horror picture of all time, namely "The Exorcist" by director William Freidkin, based on the novel by William Peter Blatty. The controversy it created amongst the religious community ensured its success at the box office, with it becoming the most successful commercial horror movie of all time.

In 1974, another groundbreaking horror film was released to much controversy, this being "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" by director Tobe Hooper. Regarded as being quite shocking for its day and even being banned from general release in the UK up till 1999, the film became the prototype for the many slasher pics that were to soon follow. It's notoriety results in its main character, Leatherface, becoming a modern day classic horror character.

CarrieMeanwhile, Mel Brooks released his light-hearted horror spoof in this year entitled "The Young Frankenstein" starring Gene Wilder. This being a lampoon of the Universal horror films of the 1930's and 40's.

1975 and mainstream director Steven Spielberg ventured into the horror world, with the film "Jaws" about a giant shark terrorising a coastal town. The following year in 1976 saw the first adaptation of a Steven King novel. This being "Carrie", starring Sissy Spaceck. More king adaptations would soon follow!

Dawn of the DeadIn 1977, whilst everyone else is watching "Star Wars", Dracula's pet dog and one of the counts servants were resurrected in "Zoltan-Hound of Dracula", who then set out try to find one of Dracula's current descendants so they can turn him into a vampire, and the worst sequel in existence appeared in this year, namely John Boormans "Exorcist 2 : The Heretic", which detracted terribly from the first film and had the most unfathomable plot.

The following year in 1978 saw the release of "Jaws 2", with another giant shark menacing a coastal town, and a cheap and cheerfull Jaws rip-off by Joe Dante also appeared this year entitled "Piranha", as genetically mutated killer fish go on the rampage at a mountain riverside tourist resort.

HalloweenIn 1979, zombie director George Romero released "Dawn of the Dead", a sort-of sequel to his earlier "Night of the Living Dead". The film was even more graphically excessive and violent than the first and proved to be hugely successful. Most importantly, this is the year that John Carpenter released the film "Halloween", one of the first slasher pics to emerge following "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre". It went on to become the most successful independent horror movie of all time, making Jamie Lee Curtis a star and the films killer, Michael Myers, another modern day horror character. It is also the film that Donald Pleasance provided us with his most memorable performance as the enigmatic Dr Loomis.

Vampires returned to the big screen this year in "Salem's Lot", starring David Soul, which was another Steven King novel adaptation and Sci-Fi/Horror made a big comeback with the hugely successful "Alien" which was directed by Ridley Scott and starred Sigourney Weaver, becoming an instant classic amongst both Sci-Fi and Horror film fans alike. We were also introduced to a character called the "Tall Man" in this year in the low-budget "Phantasm", which proved to be a huge cult hit in the USA.

1900 - 1930 Silent Fear.
1930 - 1940 Classic Creations.
1940 - 1950 Chills and Chuckles...
1950 - 1960 Sci-fi, B-Movies and Hammer Horror.
1960 - 1970 Psycho's and Zombies.
1970 - 1980 The Birth of the Slasher.
1980 - 1990 Modern Horror Begins.
1990 - 2000 Scream until you like it.