Blacula! Frogs! Tales from the Crypt! Just before the release of The Exorcist—which helped redefine the horror genre—the year 1972 delivered a very different and very eclectic mix of scare flicks. The Signal's David Katznelson recently watched dozens of horror films from fifty years ago so you don't have to. From The Signal:
In 1972, we find the Hammer franchise which, while still active, is no longer the powerful voice of horror coming out of the UK as it had once been. Master of underground splatter films Herschell Gordon Lewis released his final horror film for decades in '72, while Wes Craven1 saw his debut release hit theaters. There were some solid films to come out during this twelve month period of time…and it seemed like if any country was on a roll, it was Spain (just see the below selection); there just were not a lot of classics.
But it was a blast watching the 70+ films that were findable. Starting with the way the films were processed and colorized in the early 70s, with their rich warm colors and hazy edges—that alone lures you in like the tattered comfort of a warn family leather couch. Even many films that were not great enough to be great, or bad enough to be great, had worthwhile moments that made them worth watching. Who doesn't want to see Ray Milland get eaten by frogs in….Frogs? Or watching Orson Wells in Necromancy, slopping his way through his part as cult leader, as he would go on to do for Paul Masson wine commercials, looking to kill in order to resurrect his son (the film features a fantastic score by Fred Karger and Robert Walsh)? Mercury Players fans can also see Joseph Cotton in the sub-par Mario Bava film Baron Blood and Agnes Moorehead in the "really really lame" Dear Dead Delilah.
The class of '72 features an unexpected Indian zombie-ish film Do Gaz Zameen Ke Neeche, where the actors stop the death toll in order to break into choreographed classic-Bollywood dance numbers. And how about the Easy-Rider-Meets-Biker horror of Curse of the Headless Horseman, featuring Warhol Superstar Ultra Violet, which answers the question as to what the fate would have been for Captain America and Billy if they had decided to drop acid at the hippy commune they came across early on the way to Mardi Gras. REALLY BAD FILM, but I could not take my eyes off it…a true hippy time capsule.
Click through for the capsule reviews: "The Horror and Gore Of 1972" (The Signal)