Midnight Warriors: My Essential 70’s Cult Films

I grew up in the 80’s so I’ve always been quite fond of that genre of film but when The Awesome The Mike posed a discussion on 70’s cult films to us bloggers, I jumped on the chance to explore that era. 

When I thought of ideas of what I should put on this list, I realized that there are so many cult hits in the 70’s that were so influential to the world of film. So here’s my Top 10 Cult 70’s Cult Films…

El Topo (1970)

Writer/director/composer Alejandro Jodorowsky takes on the role of El Topo, a gunfighter traveling with his son, out for vengeance.

The complex story and unconvenintal themes has given this film the stay power and lasting impression beyond the seventies.   

This surreal spaghetti western earned it cult status when it became the first “midnight movie.” 

A Clockwork Orange  (1971)

One of many Kubrick classics, A Clockwork Orange is an ultra-violent view on a teenagers in a futuristic Britain. The film surrounds a teen Alex, who does crazy shit without a care until he becomes a victim of “aversion therapy.” 

Malcolm McDowell was chilling yet astonishing. I don’t think anyone who has seen this can ever listen to Singin’ in the Rain without thinking of this film.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

Between the songs, candy and effin’ freaky orange people, Willy Wonka is a film everyone knows about. 

Gene Wilder’s child-like performance and the whimsical chocolate covered dreams this hopeful film provides makes this a timeless classic. 

Deep Throat (1972)

Ok, so I haven’t seen this inappropriate, dirty, smutty film before and believe you me, if I had, I’d be bragging about it now!

I couldn’t help but add this on to the list because of the controversy
surrounding it plus it’s one of the first porns to have a plot and character development. I love it when porns attempt to have full-on plots and developments (outside the one in guys’ pants). 

Deep Throat achieved a mainstream label in a time where porn was much frowned upon. Bam-chika-wa-wa 

The Wicker Man (1973)

Ah, what else can I say about this incredible film that I haven’t said a million times before. 

The Wicker Man is held high on my list of favorite films. 

The strong-willed trio performances of Edward Woodward, Britt Eckland and Christopher Lee pull this fantastic film together and left a vivid impression on me beyond the weird cult practices and fucked up ending. 

Enter the Dragon (1973) 

Kung-fu films have a strange effect on me. Whenever I watch such films, all I want to do afterwards is go out for a walk, pick a fight with a stranger, and kick their ass (with the delusions that I magically picked up moves from the film I watched and can actually put them to use in real life.) 

Enter the Dragon was Bruce Lee’s first feature film and it was the first American produced marital arts film. 

Phantom of Paradise (1974)

When most people think of a 70’s cult classic musical normally they think of Rocky Horror Picture Show, I think of Phantom of Paradise

Leach, a humbling composer looking for his big break gets screwed over by a thieving record producer Swan. Leach’s attempt at revenge leaves him disfigured but still out to fuck Swan’s shit up and reclaim his music. 

This 70’s rock version of Phantom of the Opera was written and directed by Brian De Palma which makes it even more awesome. 

Death Race 2000 (1975)

I used to drive around with my mom and jokingly offer her points to hit people in the streets. At the time I didn’t know my idea was already a great film known as Death Race 2000

In the future racing has become an ultimate sporting event. The goal is for drivers to mow down pedestrians for points. And yes, this film is as awesome as it sounds plus it has the late great David Carradine as the lead, Frankenstein and also Sylvester Stallone rocks out a blood-stained car as well. 

I Spit on Your Grave/Day of the Woman (1978)

As a chick, I had to add this to the list because for the general horror genre especially films in the seventies, females aren’t always featured the hardcore beautiful creatures that we are. 

Jennifer, a writer, wants nothing more than a peaceful break from her NY life so she can take some time to write her novel. She ventures out in the country for her break and ends up getting brutally raped by a gang of assholes. The experience breaks her and instead of letting it get to the best of her, she gets her vengeance! Dun dun dunnn. 

I Spit on Your Grave is a great spin on women’s typical roles in film. It’s refreshing to have a film that depicts a woman as having the capabilities of being as brutal as a man. Unfortunately is was provoked by terrible circumstances but Jennifer got her revenge and Camille Keaton did a wonderful job playing her. 

Faces of Death (1978)

I’ve never seen this one but I remember being very young and hearing about this being played at sleepovers and returning to theaters around Halloween. My poor little mind couldn’t wrap around the idea of actual footage of actual people dying. *shudder* 

Despite the distasteful nature, it shockumentary value has been popular in film history and has spawned off sequels.

This is another controversial film to this list and it’s also known as being banned in 46 countries. 

And this concludes my journey into 70’s cult films. Check out other contributions over at From Midnight With Love. 

6 thoughts on “Midnight Warriors: My Essential 70’s Cult Films

  1. There's a whole lot of awesome on this list. I totally forgot about FACES OF DEATH. Yeah, that definitely should be on a 70s cult film list for sure. Nice to see love for PHANTOM OF PARADISE as well. Great list!

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