Thursday, September 22, 2005

Movies in the 1970s

Got into a conversation about movies made in the 1970s. The times were achangin' as they said. The old studios were done. And so were the codes they had abided by. Some of the great films released during the decade were The Godfather 1 and 2, Chinatown, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, All the President's Men, The Last Picture Show, Network, and several others.
I started thinking about the s/f genres. There had to be great films in that arena too. There were. So I picked one solid s/f film from each year and here's my list:
1970: The first year of the decade and I crapped out. The most well-received s/f film of the year was Beneath the Planet of the Apes. What a dismal way to begin. There wasn't many other choices either -- Colossus: The Forbin Project, THX-1138, When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, The Scars of Dracula, or Vincent Price's Cry of the Banshee. Terrific decade, lousy year for s/f films.
1971: Clockwork Orange -- whether you like the film or don't, to write in the genre you have to know it. That and name another movie where the viewer feels pity for a totally despicable (but fascinating) character like Alex?
1972: Deliverance -- Women shake their heads when guys mention this terrifying film. Women have been raped and abused in countless movies for years. Make one movie where a man gets raped and guys go buggy. Women don't understand. I'm not going to debate the reasoning. I'll lose. Still, watch the reaction when you say to a guy, "I want you to squeal like a pig."
1973: The Exorcist -- This film is still on most horror film lists as the scariest movie ever made. I've never much cared for it. Didn't give me the rush I want from a horror film. My brother went to church the day after he saw it. A very influential film. Period.
1974: Young Frankenstein -- There's two words that sum up this movie for me (and put a smile on my face). "Abby Normal."
1975: Jaws -- The first summer blockbuster. An edge-of-your-seat, rollercoaster ride. Spielberg's first hit. It's cool. And yeah, we need a bigger boat.
1976: Taxi Driver -- Think this movie shouldn't be on this list. Wrong. This is a view of Hell on Earth and Travis Bickle is our guide. Riveting.
1977: A tie. Okay, Star Wars is one of the most popular movies ever made. It was a cultural event. I saw it in the theatres more than once. I own the DVD. It is a really fun damn movie. But on the downside, special effects have replaced character development and cool dialogue in movies and it's Stars Wars' fault. Also released in '77 was Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Adult scifi of the best kind.
1978: Another tie -- the ultimate zombie movie and the first slasher fim and both are terrific. Dawn of the Dead and Halloween. (Note: some might argue that Psycho is the first slasher film and Hitchcock's legacy is definite and without question but the John Carpenter movie started the trend that still continues today.)
1979: Alien -- The haunted house scenario in outer space and one of my favorite horror films. It's totally cool. Just one thing -- Ripley, leave the cat!
Anyway, it's late. I'm exhausted. Check out these films if you haven't seen them or if you haven't seen them in a while.


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Grubber said...

Well okay, this is actually a comment from a real person, sorry to break the chain.;-)

Good list of movies there! One other I would add, as a personal favourite(competing with Clockwork Orange,) is Omega Man from 1971.

Probably the first adult sci fi movie I saw as a kid, which probably explains why it is a favourite to this day.

Have loved end of the world movies ever since then. Yes, also fan of the Planet of the Apes series.