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Great horror movies from the 1970s to watch as you get ready for Halloween

Matt Hollinshead, mhollinshead@daily-times.com

Bwahaha!

The next decade of Halloween scares is upon us. But that's not to say today's horror movies are without significant influence.

It's time to rehash the last half-century of great horror flicks, starting with some 1970s greats:

The Exorcist (1973)

A 12-year-old girl is possessed by a malevolent entity — levitating, speaking in Latin and in tongues, later turning her head completely backwards.

Based on the 1971 novel by William Peter Blatty, the film derives its power and influence by pitting good against evil.

There are a series of unsettling plot points that bring shock value and still resonate nearly half a century later.

The elements of demonic possession and the supernatural are chilling.

And claims that it’s one of the scariest movies ever made are valid.

Jaws (1975)

The movie adaptation of Peter Benchley’s 1974 novel brought the subconscious fear of great white sharks and other big sharks to the big screen. 

Originally inspired by the infamous 1916 rampage where a great white shark attacked swimmers in and around the New Jersey shoreline, the premise became more “real” to viewers.

The opening scene with a young woman being attacked by the shark at dusk also made people think twice about going too far off from the shore, let alone going for a swim at night.

Halloween (1978)

It set the bar high for modern slasher films: The mysterious, seemingly unstoppable Michael Myers, who can bust through a locked door to get you. The visceral, uneasy feeling that he’s lurking in the shadows.

The pace, the eerie piano music, Michael Myers repeatedly watching you in unlikely places like in front of a school, where viewers get a gradually better (albeit, painfully slow) look at the mad man behind the mask as the film continues on.

The gradual tension and build up to finding out who Michael Myers is makes the film a timeless classic.

Alien (1979)

This sci-fi horror flick redefines what an “alien” is by introducing the xenomorph, whose biological life cycle involves using a human host for conception.

The full development is frighteningly rapid — growing from just under 30 centimeters to close to 7 feet in a matter of hours.

It’s fast, menacing and can easily impale you with its giant tail. Its face alone is scary, with saliva dripping incessantly from its mouth.

It starts with space travelers facing the unknowns of a seemingly desolate planet, but the fear of unknown life forces set in and the plot becomes a story of survival.

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 and on Twitter at @MattH_717.

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