Guest Post: Trip Out on These 1973 Horror Movies with Author Gary Scott Beatty

While Eighties nostalgia may be all the rage lately thanks to shows like “Stranger Things” and “GLOW” on Netflix, I’m still a big fan of the Seventies, particularly when it comes to horror movies.  Wounds author Gary Scott Beatty is also, and he recently sent over a list of his top picks for when he feels like tripping out…

Graphic novel Wounds is now available on Amazon and Comixology; be sure to grab a copy after checking out Gary’s list below.

I personally find trippy horror from the ‘60s and ’70s fascinating and creepy. Normal settings with a hint of strange, the unusual as commonplace, is what later inspired directors like “Twin Peaks”‘ David Lynch and writers like Stephen King and, in comics, Grant Morrison.

For some reason, that trippy style scares the hell out of me more thoroughly than any amount of high budget special effects. It’s our world — but stranger. The trick is to not let style obliterate plot.

It’s also interesting how well the creepy elder god, H.P. Lovecraft style goes with hippie culture and how well the trippy style serves that Lovecraft eeriness.

One year alone – 1973 – gave us The Exorcist, Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein, and many others not filmed like a dreamy acid trip. Here below are three of my picks for well done, trippy horror from ’73.

The Wicker Man
If you can stand sitting through some silly songs, you may enjoy The Wicker Man. Edward Woodward (“The Equalizer”) investigates a child’s disappearance on a pagan Scottish island. In typical hippie fashion, we root for the heathens.

I found arguments for the old gods interesting and convincing. Woodward’s upstanding police sergeant, traditionally the hero in movies, is so obviously out of his element on the island you can guess the doom to come.

Britt Ekland and Christopher Lee co-star. Directed by Robin Hardy from a book by Anthony Shaffer.

Messiah of Evil
Point Dune and the legend of the Blood Moon in Messiah of Evil are the perfect melding of hippie and Lovecraft. Actress Marianna Hill is a woman searching for her missing artist father. She and three other young visitors to a seaside town are pulled into the town’s deadly curse.

The daughter’s first-person narration, her father’s written journal, and the inevitable asylum confinement are traditional Lovecraft tropes. The swingin’ youngsters are Michael Greer (doing his best Donald Sutherland impression), Anitra Ford, and Joy Bang in the infamous movie theater scene, where evil people populate the theater one by one behind her as she sits eating popcorn.

Horror journeymen Elisha Cook, Jr., and Royal Dano ham it up wonderfully as guest stars. Written and directed (always a good sign) by Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz.

Lisa and the Devil
One of my favorite Mario Bava movies is his Lisa and the Devil. The slow burn is not to everyone’s taste, and wouldn’t be mine either, if not that this creepy film is so gorgeous and interesting to look at.

Telly Savalas and Elke Sommer lend this Bava effort some respectability for American audiences (his intent, I assume). There is also a version of this movie butchered for Stateside release that is not worth seeing, titled The House of Exorcism. Steer clear.

Sommer is Lisa, a tourist lost in a timeworn city, who ends up, by chance or design, at a mansion where time appears to loop. There are no hippies in this one, just people trapped by their own sinful natures.

Dream sequence after dream sequence invites the conclusion that this may all be a nightmare, until the ending, a satisfying solution in my opinion. Your mileage may vary.

So, no need to score and drop a tab of acid. These trippy movies from ’73 will disorient, confuse, enlighten, and ultimately entertain you. Let me know some of your favorites below!


For more from Gary Scott Beatty, visit him on Twitter and Facebook.

Wounds Synopsis:
Wounds throws us into a world where nothing is beyond doubt, except a father’s concern for his wife and daughter. If you enjoy that “What th-?” factor in graphic novels, you’ll enjoy Wounds.

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Debi Moore

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