Hans C. Blumenberg described the 60s as “the most dismal and boring decade in cinema history.” A controversial statement. Yet if we look at the films of the 70s, it’s not so difficult to make large comparisons. 70s cinema upped the game, films became riskier, edgier, more violent…oh…and a lot more sex; not to mention casual blasphemy.
Here is the first part to my list of 70s films which I think are the greatest…
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
A cinematic mindfuck to say the least. To sum up its ‘plot’ is borderline impossible, however the film is set above others as it has a warm heart of gold. It’s sexy, raunchy, filled with innuendos, funny, stupid, pointless, chaotic, wild, and it’s absolutely brilliant. It tells the story of Janet and Brad – their car has broken down, but by chance, they are near the mansion of a mad scientist known only as Dr. Frank N Furter. Suddenly, Brad and Janet are (quite randomly) stripped down to just their underwear and are forced around the mansion to take part in fun and watch some alien transvestites from the planet Transsexual, in the Universe of Transylvania randomly sing and dance. It’s camp by the way.
Very very camp.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Perhaps the most disturbing (horror) film ever made, if not that, a definite landmark fo 70s cinema. Steeped with controversy from the beginning due to its violent content; the movie still remains today to be as shocking, frightening and brutal when it was released in 1974.
It tells the story of five college friends who go up to their grandpa’s house. Rather unfortunately to say the least, they are hunted down by a cannibal family who enjoy terrorising, chopping, murdering, and eating strangers…
Oh, and the cannibal family also like to make benches and random house-hold objects out of human/animal body parts in their spare time as well.
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
When people think of ‘Dawn of the Dead‘, they usually think of a gorey zombie movie which attempts to frighten its audience. Such people have probably never seen the film before, after all, this cult B-movie classic is very very funny.
Four people move into a shopping mall to hide and protect themselves from the increasing amount of zombies that are appearing everywhere. However, these four people soon get too comfortable in the shopping mall and indulge a bit too much. Perhaps one of the best satires ever made next to Dr Strangelove, Dawn of the Dead will have you chuckling as well as thinking.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
“We are the knights who say ‘nii!’ ” exclaims an incredibly tall knight, who is clearly Michael Palin in a bad costume.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail is in my opinion the best Python movie, and indeed, the best comedy movie ever made. I ask myself what the bare essentials are for a comedy to be considered a ‘great comedy’. It’s quite simple. You basically have to make me laugh so much that I cry with laughter and have to pause the DVD player in fear that I may die (rather, unfortunately) of having no oxygen. This movie does it with skillful excellence. The jokes are so random, original and stupid that it’s clear that the writers put thought into the puns as opposed to grabbing the cliche film joke book.
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
I’d quite happily argue this cinematic triumph to be a landmark in movie making, but then again, I’m a massive fan. A Clockwork Orange is Kubrick’s parable on state control and free-will concerning itself about the day-to-day activities of Alex DeLarge, the movie’s 15 year-old anti-hero with a distinctively creepy stare. His day-to-day activities include assault, rape, trespassing, and consuming drug-infested milk. (Pretty average stuff then.)
A Clockwork Orange is a satire so acidic that if it was a liquid it would probably burn a diamond in two (again, I’m a fanboy). Either way, it’s disturbing funny, thought-provoking, mind-blowingly visual, and will leave you thinking (if not slightly confused and disorientated).
N.B. I shall also be doing other decade lists include the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000-2010…