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Top 15 favorite horror movies of the 70’s – Black Saint – part 2

The Black Saint has been very busy as of late. What with dealing with gale force winds buffeting my mausoleum & some uncommonly warm weather for February, I was in a bit of a tizzy for awhile. Then I had to figure out whether I wanted to eat or pay the mortgage on the mausoleum. I decided on food. I figure my acolytes will all chip in on the whole mortgage brouhaha. They better if they know what’s good for them, I am their lord & master after all. Just leave your contributions in front of the door dear acolytes. I’ll take care of the rest.

If I remember correctly, I left you off with 1974 & “Shriek Of The Mutilated” so let’s move onto the year 1975 which had a treasure trove of great horror movies to watch & freak out to. Films such as “Beyond The Door” (An “Exorcist” ripoff for sure but I still remember the commercial really clearly & it had a pretty scary ending as well), “Picnic At Hanging Rock”, The amazingly awful “Giant Spider Invasion”, “The Stepford Wives” & of course “Jaws”. But none of these made my list though all of them have their sundry charms. Nope, I like my horror a bit off the beaten path. I like stuff that isn’t bantered about when discussing horror films, films that a lot of people haven’t seen & if they have…didn’t like.

So with that being said, my first choice for 1975 is “Bug” (aka: “The Bug). Directed by Jeannot Szwarc. Starring Bradford Dillman, Joanne Miles & Patty Mccormack. “Bug” was the last film that the great William Castle produced & it was based on the novel “The Hephaestus Plague” by Thomas Page. He also co wrote the script with Mr. Page. The story concerns an earthquake that leaves a large crack in the ground nearby the town of Riverside, Ca. from out of this crack crawl some very large & slow c**kroaches that have lived deep under the Earth’s surface for millions of years as it turns out. The bugs are very large without any eyes to guide them & have a very high rate of metabolism.

They move very slowly because of the difference in pressure above ground as compared to where they came from. Basically they’re being slowly crushed by our atmosphere. They also have on every different aspect to their being: they can generate fire when they rub their rear antennae together! How cool is that? They can make fire with their asses! So now we have giant, slow moving, fire generating c**kroaches on the loose.

Some of the bugs make it to town by hitching rides underneath cars or riding in their tailpipes. Of course, once they arrive in town they get into people’s homes or more specifically, peoples hair & set them ablaze. I thought it was terrifying then but now I wonder how these giant roaches managed to get into unsuspecting women’s hair & set the on fire without the women feeling something large crawling on their heads? That’s one of the joys of a silly film like this. Bradford Dillman plays Professor James Parmentir who upon discovering the roaches decides to experiment with them a bit. He mates them with your everyday c**kroach to see what the results will be. All the while, the fire starting bugs are setting the entire town of riverside on fire…slowly. Unfortunately, Parmentir’s wife falls victim to the fiery menace & Parmentir falls victim to madness because of this. He sets up a small lab in a house nearby the spot where the insects first emerged.

The next iteration of bug is far more dangerous than the first. They are extremely intelligent, going so far as to learn English(!) although they don’t speak, Eat meat & seem to operate as one entity rather than just a bunch of bugs. Everything they do is planned out & done in near unison. They also begin to develop a taste for human flesh. Unperturbed by all this, Parmentir breeds a 3rd variation of bugs & these have all the characteristics of their forefathers but they can fly as well. So now we have large bugs that can fly, eat meat, spell out words, think with a hive mentality & set you on fire. How cool is that? The only real special effects “Bug” offers are the bugs themselves & they are super creepy. They look like fossils with their hard shell covering them & their slow gait. I guess the movie frightened me terribly because in the neighborhood (emphasis on hood) where I grew up, seeing roaches was a daily experience. You turned on a light & there would be a couple of roaches skittering away every time.

What, I imagined, if these f*ckers climbed up in to my bed & set it on fire? It sounds silly now but it was a legitimate concern for me way back when. Who’s to say it couldn’t happen? The film is directed in a workmanlike fashion by Szwarc (who cut his teeth on “Night Gallery” episodes & would eventually take the helm of “Jaws 2”). The script really didn’t matter to me. It was enough to see giant roaches on the big screen lighting cars, buildings & people on fire for me. Those f*cking bugs even kill a kitty cat. The horror…..oh the horror. “Bug” still holds up fairly well today but is a lot slower moving than I remember. But it’s still an effective little shocker that holds a place near & dear to me. Give it a shot if you have a chance.

“The Devils Rain”/
Directed by Robert Fuest. Starring William Shatner, Ernest Borgnine, Eddie Albert, Keenan Wynn,Tom Skerritt, Ida Lupino & John Travolta. What a cast! I mean, WHAT A FUCKING CAST!! It’s like someone decided to have a scene chewing contest & got some of Hollywood’s best to have at each other with a cheesy script leading the way. Just having the name William Shatner on the poster practically assures a uniquely sublime experience. The inclusion of all of the others just make it all the more exciting. The story involves the Preston family & an ancient book that they have in their possession that somebody wants back. That somebody being Jonathan Corbis (Borgnine) who is in fact an emissary of Satan that placed a curse on the Preston family centuries ago.

A curse that would not be lifted until he gets the book back. The book is in fact a ledger of all who have sworn themselves to Satan & without the book, Corbis cannot lead his flock to the kingdom of Satan. That’s gotta be a bummer for all these devil loving f*cks. But two of the Preston family (Shatner & Skerritt) are determined to keep the book out of Corbis’ hands & find themselves in the fight of their lives. A battle against Satan himself! So where can I continue? I could talk a bit more about the acting, the script, the fact that avowed satanist Anton Lavey was a “Technical Advisor” on the film & got the endorsement of the church of Satan, Or I could talk about why everyone flocked to this movie when it was released…those crazy mixed up “Melting” scenes.

Yeah, I said Melting scenes. It seems that whenever the good guys get the upper hand “The Devils Rain” begins to fall & when it does, those in Satan’s thrall begin to melt into multi colored blobs of goo. This was the only reason anyone went to see this movie…really. The trailers emphasized the gooeyness of it all & it worked. It filled seats in the theater for sure. But we also got a pretty nifty little thriller with some decent acting actually. There are some great scenes in the movie that work well to further the story & get us actively involved in the goings on. There is a wonderful scene between Shatner & Borgnine challenging each other to a wager for the book that just drips with tension. And there is a surprise ending that doesn’t really make sense but is disturbing nevertheless. Most, if not all of you who are reading this have probably already seen this movie but for those of you that haven’t, watch it & tell me what you think. For those of you who have already seen it…see it again & have some fun.

Honorable mention: “Race With The Devil“. Jack Starett’s utterly ridiculous combination of a chase movie & a Satanic worship movie all mushed together. It’s not the least bit scary for it’s first 80 minutes or so but that slow motion ending scared the bejeezus out of me & still does. That’s right, I said it scared me & it still does. Plus any movie starring Peter Fonda & Warren Oates has to have something going for it, right?

1976 had quite a few memorable horror films released. There was “Assault On Precinct 13″, “Burnt Offerings”, “Deep Red”, “God Told Me to”, “Food Of The Gods”, “The Haunting Of Julia’ and many more. I’m going to focus on three of them with one honorable mention. My first favorite of the year is Brian DePalma’s “Carrie”, one of the few major studio films on my list. We all know the story of Carrie White & her religious fanatic mother, so I don’t think I have to rehash it here. I want to talk about the effect “Carrie” had on an unsuspecting movie audience when they settled into their seats to watch it. To put it succinctly, “Carrie” bludgeoned every one in the theater, each & every time. It still smacks the sh*t out of me every time I see it, and I’ve seen it at least 30 times. The opening sequence where poor Carrie has her first menstrual period in the shower & the other girls throw tampons at her exhorting her to “Plug It Up”!! was devastating to everyone in the audience because I believe we’ve all been there one way or another. Faced with an embarrassing situation in front of your pees & being mocked by them because of it. When she returns home & we meet her mother, Margaret, well then we realize that life at home isn’t much better for poor Carrie either & we feel her pain. It’s a very uneasy tone that DePalma sets early in the film that just gets more & more uneasy as the movie continues. And then there’s that f*cking terrifying Jesus statue with the glowing eyes looking into the camera mournfully, how could we not be terrified?

And this is all in the first five minutes or so. Then we get to the ending with one of the greatest “Jump Scares” in motion picture history. I recall seeing it for the first time with an audience & thinking the end was near when we got to the dream sequence & the pile of ashes that used to be Carrie’s home with a sign stuck into it reading “Carrie White Burns In Hell”. But DePalma & company had one more big surprise waiting for us. One that made the entire audience jump 3 feet into the air collectively. What a rush it was! “Carrie” is ultimately a story of an outsider who just could never fit in due to the constraints of her mother & the evil that all of us have deep in our hearts. We just don’t always let the evil be seen while everyone Carrie encountered had ulterior motivation for speaking to her. And in the end all of them pay for their betrayals with the ultimate price, their lives. It’s just sad that poor Carrie had to die as well. She is the one true innocent in the film & she pays a heady price for it. Still one of the scariest movies ever & DePalma’s masterpiece.

“Martin”/ Directed by George A. Romero. Starring John Amplas, Lincoln Maazel & Tom Savini. Most if not all of you would say that Romero’s masterwork is “Dawn Of The Dead”. Perhaps a few of you might go back to his “Night Of The Living Dead”. You’re all allowed your opinions but if you ask me it all begins & ends with “Martin”. “Martin” is the story of young Martin (no last name), a boy who believes himself to be a vampire & his distant relative Cuda who Martin is going to be living with. Cuda immediately refers to Martin as Nosferatu because Cuda believes that Martin is a vampire & he is ready & more than willing to destroy him should people “Start dying” in town. Romero has called “Martin” a movie about “All of the monsters in the world, proposing that they are simply exaggerations of a strain present in all of us”. That pretty much hits the nail on the head for me. Is “Martin” really a vampire? He doesn’t have fangs, rather he uses a straight razor to create a small cut across a persons arm or leg where he can suck blood quietly. Actually, he drugs them first so they can feel no pain either. Pretty considerate vampire. But again, is he a vampire or is he just feeding into legends that have been told to him through the years?

We never really find out the answer. “Martin” isn’t an especially scary movie although it is unnerving at times. The atmosphere is as thick as Pea soup as well. Pittsburgh is presented as a sort of “End of the road” destination that everyone is trying to leave & the cinematography is properly depressing. All of the actors excel in their roles but he movie belongs to Amplas & Maazel. They are the proverbial straws that stir the drink & they make the movie engrossing. The suddeness of the ending to “Martin” is still shocking & unexpected. Even more so because it was unnecessary & sad for Martin. He pays the ultimate price for the one victim he didn’t kill. “Martin” is on my list not for the scares but for the emotional core that Romero mines from his characters. “Martin” is a brilliant drama with elements of horror. It’s not a horror film no matter what they call it. It’s a sad story that resonated with me long after I first saw it. And if you listen closely to the radio playing over the end credits all the way to the end you’ll hear a surprise that changes the previous 90 minutes just a bit.

“Squirm”/ Directed by Jeff Lieberman. Starring Don Scardino, Patricia Pearcy & R.A. Dow. The ultimate creepy crawly movie! “Squirm” tells the tale of the town of Fly Creek & the trouble they encounter when a freak electrical storm strikes the ground which really agitates the local worm population. Yeah, that’s what I said….agitated worms. Sound silly? Fuck yeah it’s silly but it’s also uber-scary & skin crawlingly effective. The setup is as simple as I just described it & the beauty of the film is that that’s all it needs. Simple, scary & tons of slimy fun, “Squirm” has scenes of literally hundreds of worms pouring out of closets, covering the floors of various houses they take over & what makes it more effective…close ups of the worms & their pincers. Truly unsettling to see on a big screen. All of the actors are gung ho to be smothered in a combination of real worms & spaghetti & even though there was spaghetti in the mix, the worms were definitely up in the actors faces. I was so disgusted by what was going on up on the screen that I had to turn my head away on several occasions. At the same time I laughed out loud during most of the film as well. It’s a really well made thriller that manages to repulse & entertain at the same time. I watch it all the time with people who come over to visit my wife or kids & just freak them the f*ck out every single time. Essential viewing.

Honorable Mention: “The Omen”. An “End Of Days” film that doesn’t have any big special effect sequences. Just Gregory Peck & Lee Remick slowly realizing that their adopted child is actually the Antichrist & must be destroyed before he can bring the apocalypse to mankind. A terrifically scary & intelligent film that had some great kills in it as well. Studio films usually didn’t pour on the grue but this one did with gusto. And it features one of the scariest endings in film history. I love it but after it’s initial success, a slew of sequels followed that did nothing but dilute the impact of the original. Stick to the first one & leave it at that.

1977 was a year that featured one of the best horror films ever made (“Suspiria“) & one of the worst ever conceived (“Exorcist 2: The Heretic“). In between, there were a bunch of fair to middling horror releases but there are a few that have stuck with me over the years. I’m going to start with William Shatner again. “Kingdom Of The Spiders”/ Directed by John “Bud” Cardos. Starring William Shatner, Tiffany Bolling & Woody Strode. We go from worms to spiders! Say what you will about Shatner but he kicks major ass in this movie, which tells the story of a town under siege by spiders that have become extremely aggressive & are killing the people of Verde Valley, AZ. Why are they so angry? Because the use of insecticide by the town has killed off the creatures that the spiders live off of. So they band together, much like ants do & attack livestock first…then humans. Shatner plays “Rack” Hansen, a veterinarian who is puzzled by the widespread deaths of livestock all over the town. He sends samples to a lab & the cause of death in each & every case is determined to be spider venom. Dr. Diana Ashley (Bolling) comes to the town to investigate further & together they find a giant hill full of angry spiders.

So they do what they believe is logical: They burn the hill to the ground, but this just pisses off a whole lot of arachnids & they are itching to fight back. “Kingdom Of The Spiders” plays a lot like “Jaws”, there are the mysterious deaths, the realization of what’s behind them, the decision to close down the town that’s met with denial from the mayor because of an upcoming town fair, etc..etc.. What makes it different & I daresay even better than “Jaws” & films of this ilk is that they used real spiders during filming. Sure, there are a couple of plastic ones thrown around a bit but by & large all of the 8 legged freaks are real & the actors (especially Shatner) are covered in them. It’s not a very big budgeted film but it looks good & is very suspenseful. It also has one doozy (if cheap looking) ending. It uses a lot of library music for it’s soundtrack as well (Especially from “The Twilight Zone”) but that really doesn’t distract from the experience much. It’s a scary movie even if you don’t mind spiders but if you do…holy sh*t. This movie is going to f*ck you up royally. I feel that this movie has been criminally overlooked over the years but it’s a real winner & i hope this might get some of you off of your asses to find it & give it a try. It’s most definitely worth it.

“The Sentinel”/ Directed by Michael Winner. Starring Christina Raines, Chris Sarandon & Burgess Meredith. Such an underrated film! “The Sentinel” is the story of a young model named Allison who seems to have it all. She’s a rising star in the modeling world, her fiancee is a hot-shot lawyer & she’s moving into a really nice apartment in the heart of NYC for what seems to be an impossibly cheap rent. But there are some skeletons in her closet as well as those surrounding her. She attempted suicide once after seeing her father involved in an orgy. In addition to that, her fiancee is under investigation for murdering his first wife. This movie had a killer cast in it: Martin Balsam, John Carradine, Jose Ferrer, Ava Gardner, Eli Wallach, Beverly D’Angelo, Sylvia Miles, Jerry Orbach & my favorite actor: Christopher Walken.

For all of this talent to appear in a horror film it had to be one hell of a script & although it gets a little muddled in the middle it is a really engrossing story. It seems that Allison has moved into a building that is sitting on top of the portal to hell & the mysterious tenant who lives up on the top floor who never leaves his window is the guardian who makes sure the portal stays closed & Allison is being groomed to take his place. There was a lot of controversy during filming of this movie because real human freaks were used in the climax as the denizens of hell but it didn’t stop the film from being released. There is a constant tension running through the film, you know something is wrong but you just can’t put your finger on it. All of the actors (especially Meredith) give excellent performances here. There are scenes that had to be a little odd to act in, such as D’Angelo’s masturbation scene (which is not the least bit sexy…it’s actually a bit repellent. But that’s why it works.) And there is no sparing us the gore when it’s time to bleed a bit either. It was pretty rare to see a major studio (Universal) release a horror movie that was so unrepentant in it’s depiction of violence & sex. But it all works out really well. “The Sentinel’ deserves a special edition re-release with some behind the scenes action or maybe some interviews with the principles. It’s just as scary & unnerving now as it was 35 years ago. Stop reading & go buy it now!

Honorable Mention: “Bloodsucking Freaks”, directed by Joel M. Reed. When I first heard of this atrocity, I thought I was going to see some sort of cannibal movie or something like that. No such luck. What I got was a cheap, filthy & perverse movie with no redeeming quality to it at all….I LOVE IT! It’s just a sick & ultra violent piece of trash. But we all need a little sickness & perversity in the films we watch sometimes don’t we? I do & this movie fits the bill perfectly. Do not see it if you’re adverse to hero sandwiches made with penises by the way. I’m just saying…

1978/ “Magic”/ Directed by Richard Attenborough. Starring Anthony Hopkins, Ann Margaret, Ed Lautner & Burgess Meredith. Another forgotten film that deserves to be discovered by a new generation of Horror fans. “Magic” is the story of a very good ventriloquist, Corky (Hopkins) who along with his ever present dummy, Fats, has become an extremely popular club act & manages to attract the notice of a agent who thinks that Corky can be the most popular ventriloquist in the world. The agent, Ben Greene (Meredith) starts by putting Corky & his act in Vegas where they become extremely popular. So popular that NBC wants to give them a TV pilot. But upon learning that he has to take a full physical & psychological exam before they can move on, Corky balks & runs away to a secluded bed & breakfast run by a woman (Margaret) he once had a huge crush on. You see, Corky talks to Fats & Fats talks back. Or does he? Is it all in Corky’s mind or is Fats really alive? And either way, why is Fats always telling Corky to kill those who get too close to them? The first thing that I remember about this movie is the supremely scary TV commercial for it. In it, Fats looked directly into the camera & recited a poem: “Abracadabra, I sit on his knee. Presto, chango & now he is me. Hocus Pocus, we take her to bed. Magic is fun…we’re dead”. Then Fats eyes slowly roll up into his head. It is still one of the scariest commercials I’ve ever seen. And Fats is the creepiest ventriloquist’s dummy ever to be seen on the big screen, period.

“Magic” is not a fast paced movie. It’s a deliberately slow, almost plodding film. But I think that’s why it worked so well then & still does today. As soon as Hopkins makes his first appearance you know he’s nuts so that dog about “is it him or the dummy”? really doesn’t hunt. But he is a marvel to watch anyway. I really felt for his character. I felt his elation at his success & his disappointment when he realized it could never work out for him in the end. And Burgess Meredith was sadly denied an Oscar nom as his agent, Ben Greene. Meredith wasn’t playing one of the seemingly endless “Quirky” roles he was known so well for. Here he is an old school agent that takes absolutely no guff from anyone or in the case of Fats…anything. here is a scene in the film where Ben challenges Corky to sit still & keep Fats quiet for one minute once he realizes that Corky might be a little sick in the head. Sixty lousy seconds & he’ll leave him alone. The tension between the two of them sitting across from each other is almost unbearable to go through. It’s in this scene where Meredith really shows why he was such a great character actor. He brings the best out of Hopkins in this scene as well. “Magic” is more of a psychological thriller than an out & out horror film I guess but it scared the wits out of me then & still does now. The only fault I had with it then & now is it’s ending. I think they could’ve punched it up a bit but the film still works. A truly unsettling experience.

“The Manitou”/ Directed by William Girdler. Starring Tony Curtis, Susan Strasberg, Michael Ansara & Burgess Meredith (AGAIN)!! If you guys don’t know I’ll tell you now..”The Manitou” is my favorite film of all time. Not just my favorite horror film but my favorite film, period. Why? Susan Strasberg palys a woman who is chosen by an evil Indian medicine man as the vessel for his reincarnation. Once he is successfully brought back into this world he will proceed to take it over, such is his power. But how does he decide to come back?

You’d think someone so powerful would realize that if he was going to pick a human female to bring him back he’d return as a fetus in her belly, right? Makes sense to me but nooooo, not this guy. He comes back as a lump on her NECK! No belly action for this guy. He’s gonna come back where everyone can see something is wrong. But to make it worse, as she gets x-rays to her neck to see what’s in there, the radiation from the x-rays hurt him & when he finally emerges (from her neck) he’s a dwarf. That’s right….a f*cking dwarf is going to take over our world. An evil Indian medicine man dwarf at that. Ain’t that some sh*t? ”

The Manitou” really frightened me as a teenager when I saw it, as it was supposed to, but now I just think it’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. I truly love to watch it & can honestly say I’ve seen it at least 200 times over the years. Tony Curtis is way over the top as Harry Erskine, a faux Psychic who preys on rich old women who wears really tight pants and Burgess Meredith is back to playing his quirky roles as Dr. Snow & all of he others are just as adept at chewing on scenery like it was made from bubble gum. At the time of it’s release, it was the biggest budgeted film that Girdler had to work with ($3 million) & he did work some minor miracles with the money.

Some of the effects were pretty cool for the time & as I’ve said before, “Men In Black” owes “The Manitou” a great debt as it’s central image was lifted outright from “The Manitou”. It gets totally nuts at the end as they all end up in outer space(!) getting asteroids tossed at them & being confronted by “The Old One” who’s really ready to kick ass & take names. Granted, Girdler really goes over the top at the end of this movie but it’s so much fun to watch that you don’t mind for a second. It’s sad that this was his last film. He died in a helicopter crash while scouting locations for his next film to be called “The Elementals”. I’ve seen all of his films & you can see the maturation in his work through the years culminating with “The Manitou”. I daresay that “The Elemantals” would’ve been a work of genius if he had a chance to make it. This is the one film we should all have in our collections people. It might scare you some if you haven’t seen it yet. If you have, you’ll laugh out loud at a lot of it while marveling at some of the really cool effects. I love this movie so much that in my last will & testament it is my wish that it is playing in the background at my wake. Seriously.

Honorable mention: “The Boys From Brazil”, “Halloween” & “Invasion Of The Body Snatchers“. All brilliant & just as effective today as they were 30+ years ago.

Which brings me to 1979, last year of the decade & a year filled with fantastic horror films, but only 2 made my favorites list along with a few honorable mentions. I’ll start with “Zombie”, Directed by Lucio Fulci. Starring Tisa Farrow, Ian McColluch & Richard Johnson. This film has one of the most infamous scenes in horror film history: The scene where a hapless woman is pulled by her hair through a window but gets a shard of wood through her eye as she’s slowly being pulled through. It is always included in montages of great gore scenes & for good reason. When “Zombie” lurched across screens in America it was the scene everyone spoke of & deservedly so.

But there are so many other great scenes in this movie: The Zombie Vs. Shark scene, The closing scene on the Brooklyn Bridge, The final battle on the island, I could go on & on but I want to make note of what really makes this a favorite of mine, It’s music. The “Zombie” music by Fabio Frizzi & Giorgio Tucci is absolutely spine chilling & I get nervous whenever I hear it. It’s the sort of music you’d hear during a march I suppose. Only zombies are marching…right towards us & as the poster so proudly proclaimed: “We are going to eat you”! It’s the sort of tune I could imagine playing during the apocalypse. That alone is enough for me to call it a favorite. The fact that it’s an absolutely unrelenting, in your face, blood soaked nightmare is just the gravy.

Tourist Trap”/ Written & Directed by David Schmoeller. Starring Chuck Connors, Tanya Roberts & Jocelyn Jones. This film is a true nightmare. A group of friends are looking for a friend of theirs who has gone missing. His trail leads them to Slausen’s Lost Oasis, a decrepit tourist trap. There they meet Mr. Slausen (Connors), Who invites them into his shop while their car gets repaired (It broke down oddly nearby the shop). While there, Slausen tells them of his deceased wife & warns them not to visit the shack behind the shop because his demented brother, Davey lives there & he doesn’t take kindly to visitors…

Of course one of the knuckleheads decides to take a looksee & is menaced by animated mannequins & a masked man who strangles her telekinetically with her own scarf. “Tourist Trap” is sort of the bastard child of “Carrie” & “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”. It puts a group of people in a very odd, out of the way place full of very bizarre mannequins to be systematically murdered by the masked stranger who has the power of telekinesis. It really doesn’t make a lot of sense at all. Firstly, the villain (Slausen) is everywhere he shouldn’t be. Always. Whatever plan his victims hatch up, he’s always one step in front of them. As if he was privy to their plans.

The fact that he has the power of telekinesis seems an odd choice as well. It doesn’t seem to fit him actually, as if the filmmakers came up with the idea at the last minute for lack of a better idea. In addition, the victims in the film aren’t teenagers…they’re adults. In my mind that would make them a bit smarter than the usual dumb ass teens you find in films of this type. I would have expected them not to make the same mistakes that teens would, but they do anyway. But put all these disparate parts together & you have a really scary movie. Where nothing makes sense & because of that everyone is slowly losing their minds. It really devolves from what is seemingly is going to be a standard slasher film into a wide awake nightmare. Pino Donaggio’s score helps to underscore the nightmarish quality of the film as well. The ending is bone chilling as well…I mean really f*cking scary. It’s a freeze frame shot that still resonates with me to this day. A great & sadly overlooked film, “Tourist Trap” deserves to be rediscovered by fans of bizarre, unsettling horror. See it immediately!

Honorable Mention: “The Brood”, “Phantasm” (The closest thing to a nightmare ever committed to celluloid) & “Prophecy”.

So there you have it people, my favorite horror films of the 70’s. I hope that you try to watch some of the ones you haven’t seen yet as I feel they’re all worthy of your attention & if you’ve seen them all already then consider yourself a member of The Black Saint’s inner circle! I don’t have too many members (actually I’m the only one, it’s a tiny circle) so you’d be welcome with open sore covered arms…Until next time my friends & acolytes alike. The Black Saint has now left the building…

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