Horror 1960 - 1979

Psycho Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 classic Psycho started the decade with a bang, starting a rollercoaster ride which, over the next twenty years, would firmly establish horror as a genre worthy of serious consideration and respect.

The 1960s closed with two all time greats, George Romero's low budget masterpiece, Night of the Living Dead (1968), the first of many zombie flicks he would go on to produce, and Rosemary's Baby (1968), Roman Polanski's terrifying adaptation of Ira Levin's equally terrifying novel. Rosemary's Baby earned Polanski his first career Oscar nomination for adapting the screenplay, and a first Oscar victory for Ruth Gordon for her classic turn as the lovable, goofy, and ultimately horrible Minnie Castevet.

As the 1970s Hollywood revolution took off like a bullet, a couple of young directors, Wes Craven and Tobe Hooper rode to the wave to create two low budget exploitation classics, The Last House on the Left (1972) and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), sandwiched around Billy Friedkin's production of what many regard as the true horror masterpiece, The Exorcist (1973), which earned a remarkable ten Oscar nominations, winning two, and shattering box office records all across the country.

From there, the genre cruised. Blood and gore flowed freely in the theater aisles. Two now-legendary directors stopped by to play in the pool for a bit (Jaws (1975) and Carrie (1976)) and the Italian maestro Dario Argento made a splash with Suspiria (1976). Romero returned to close out the natural progression of the 1970s in gory style with Dawn of the Dead (1978), and John Carpenter introduced us to the masked killer stalking young bait with Halloween (1978). Ridley Scott's Alien (1979) closed the decade out in space, with two Oscar nominations and a statue for best visual effects.

The 1960s and 1970s horror world offered us anything we desired. Blood and gore, psychological terror, slashers, monsters, expoitation, rape and revenge, zombies and cannibals and zombie cannibals. Most importantly of all, the generation simply produced some really amazing movies in the genre, movies that stand up well against classics of other periods and genre. Movies that earned themselves a seat at the table along side the Godfathers and Chinatowns and Taxi Drivers of the time. Movies that will never be forgotten which established a foundation upon which the 1980s horror genre would build, and ultimately collapse on to and bury.