ByJancy Richardson, writer at
To avoid fainting, keep repeating 'It's only a movie...It's only a movie...'
Jancy Richardson

I love the blood, guts and gore of the 70's horror movies, but you know what really sets them apart from modern movies? The music.

Horror auteurs like Dario Argento and Umberto Lenzi knew that a good set of tunes could really set the mood...and shred the senses.

Some of these movies were BANNED on release...but they're so worth listening to. Check out my 70's horror playlist...

1. The Bird With the Crystal Plumage (1970)

One of the first movies to kick off the Giallo horror wave, director Dario Argento enlisted the help of Western legend Ennio Morricone to create the perfect soundtrack to his Hitchcockian thriller. There's something of the halcyon sounds of 60's psych-pop to the title track - combined, of course, with some creepy lyric-less meandering and tingly effects.


2. Short Night of the Glass Dolls (1971)

Another Giallo movie from another Italian director: Aldo Lado's La Corta notte delle bambole di vetro drew again on the might of Ennio Morricone. This is the title track from the movie, and has obvious references to classic 50's movie music, as well as a more operatic, Italian bent.


3. The Exorcist (1973)

Director William Friedkin picked some pre-existent music for his hellraisin' masterpiece, using Mike Oldfield's 'Tubular Bells' as well as the lesser known George Crumb's 'Black Angels' suite. I warn you: this is NOT a pleasant listen, but it's certainly atmospheric. Mind you, if you're a fan of The Exorcist, 'pleasant' is probably not the first quality you look for in your entertainment.


4. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

There was never an official soundtrack released for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but director Tobe Hooper picked each song used by hand. Every artist featured was a Texan musician, lending some personality and authenticity to the tale of Southern murder.


5. Spasmo (1974)

Morricone pops up again in Umberto Lenzi's Spasmo, bringing his signature filmic sensibilities, but bringing much more of the screeching, atonal, experimental sounds that are more classically associated with Giallo. Warning: this track is nearly 20 minutes long, but it gives a great overview of the different techniques used in giallo music. By the end, you may understand why the track is called 'Stress Infinito'!


6. Suspiria (1977)

Widely considered to be Argento's masterpiece, it's the synth-screaming, wibbly wobbly prog-rock awesomeness of horror-god band Goblin that makes this movie as creepy and damn-near-impossible to watch alone as it is. Goblin did an equally excellent set for Argento's Inferno (1980), which is a must. For what it's worth, this is one of my favorite albums of all time.


7. Halloween (1978)

Genius John Carpenter managed to compose the ultra-creepy music for Halloween, as well as direct the movie to creepy perfection. I still get shivers every time the theme plays, but it's totally worth listening to the rest of the soundtrack if you're interested in all things musically macabre.


8. Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

Yeah, OK, so we're in the 80's now, but the Cannibal genre really rode on the bloodied coat-tails of the 1970's horror boom. Cannibal Holocaust is one of the most notorious banned movies of all time - expect gore. Riz Ortolani's soundtrack makes Deodato's grisly mockumentary the most shocking movie for your eyes, but a pretty enjoyable one for your ears...


9. Cannibal Ferox (1981)

Umberto Lenzi's Cannibal Ferox was brought to ferocious life by the incredible soundtrack from Roberto Donati. Veering between hellish jungle fever and funky NYC slap bass, this is a record to keep you listening. Donati's work - described by Eli Roth as 'really tribal, pounding stuff' - is guaranteed to appeal to the die hard horror fan. You're gonna love it.



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