This adaptation has had multiple titles over the years! In the opening title sequence it calls itself "Bram Stoker's Dracula." In other places it was plainly called "Dracula." On dvd and blu ray, it eventually attained the title "Dan Curtis' Dracula." That last title appears to be the most appropriate one, because of how much this TV film has that cheap colorful look that a Dan Curtis production has. If you don't know who Dan Curtis is, he's the creator of that 60s and 70s soap opera Dark Shadows. That show also had a sympathetic but fierce vampire in the starring role.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
This is a movie that broke new grounds in American horror cinema. It's debatable as to whether or not it's a slasher film, considering how there are isn't that much blood as expected in a movie that has the word 'massacre' in it. The opening text and narration suggests that it was based on a true story, even though that wasn't completely true. It was Inspired by the crimes of Ed Gein, who did a lot more grave robbing then he did killing. Speaking of, one of the members of the cannibal family has this habit of grave robbing. Each member has their own role to attend to. The owner of the gas station/barbecue is the "cook," Leatherface goes out to get the meat, and the hitchhiker robes a bunch of graves and makes displays out of the corpses even when he was told to stay away from graveyards.
What makes this film so unique is how half of the horror happens during the daytime. Even though it greatly picks up once it gets dark, the story never tries to make you feel comfortable because of everything you see from the very start. Images of dead animals, old men hanging around graveyards, drinking, and acting weird. The list goes on and on, but what would really surprise you is the amount of effort it took in making this film. Tobe Hooper wanted it to make it look like it was filmed in Texas, so that's exactly where it was filmed. According to an old documentary, both the cast and crew were so miserable during production. It was during a heat wave so everyone couldn't cool down, even indoors. What made matters worse was all the "fake" skeletons and other dead material that smelled bad. Some of the crew had to go outside, vomit, and come back in to resume production. To us horror fans, it was well worth it...
Young Frankenstein (1974)
All I can say about this parody is how much it acts as a loving tribute to the classic Universal Frankenstein series. Filmed in black and white with a gothic setting to go along with it, this feels like a chiller monster movie from the 30s and 40s. The acting and cheap comedy looks like something that only Mel Brooks can pull off. Next to Spaceballs, this is definitely one of Brook's best parodies he ever made. Another monster parody he did that didn't deserve all the negative reception was Dracula: Dead and Loving it (1995).
Count Dracula (1977)
This two-part television adaptation by BBC is the closest that anyone can ever get to the novel in terms of events. It's because of that, it's my favorite of all the dozens of Stoker adaptations. Unfortunately you can't get this on digital anywhere except on Youtube. It was briefly on Prime Video, but that's about it. On Youtube, you can't watch this in high definition, only standard. You mostly have to buy this on regular DVD through Amazon. Once you've done all that, it will be well worth you're time.
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
This masterpiece of a sequel to George A Romero's classic can be it's own movie because there are no recurring characters, but the dead continue to rise. Even when they claimed to have everything under control by the end of the first film. One aspect that astounds me about this sequel is that it was released 10 years after the first film. Hardly anyone has ever waited that long to make a sequel after this film was released. The only other example from the top of my head is Super Troopers 2, released over 17 years after the original. I watched Day of the Dead (1985) once, but it's not worth doing a review for just because it couldn't live up to the first two horror juggernaut films. I never saw the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead, put I heard a few good things about it. So if you want to try it out, go ahead.
Halloween (1978) and Halloween II (1981)
This is it! The one, the only, the classic, Halloween...
This time it's going to be a double feature. I know that the second movie wasn't released til the early 80s, but it takes place immediately after the first film, so it's better to include this in the same review. The original 1978 independent phenomenon was directed by John Carpenter and became a success within a few years of it's release. It opens in a ordinary town in Illinois on Halloween 1963. We get a POV shot of what appears to be a child coming home Trick or Treating. The child goes upstairs and kills his older sister. Once the parents come home and takes his mask off, it's revealed that it was a young boy who's committed this shocking crime. 15 years later, he escapes and returns to his hometown to stalk and kill babysitters once again on Halloween night. That's the gist of it. What has made this iconic slasher film into a cultural masterpiece.
Keep in mind, just it's a masterpiece, doesn't mean it's perfect. There are plenty of flaws, especially with the filming crew and how they reveal themselves at certain points in the film. Some of the younger characters act too care free and ditsy, especially Lynda. Just try to count the number of times she says "totally." James Rolfe makes a good point in how it makes the ending even more scary, because after the middle portion you're just not expecting it. Of course, there were some good highlights in the middle portion, mostly when Michael is stalking Laurie (played by Jamie Lee Curtis, kickstarting her career). When he's stalking the other girls at night, it's when you realize this movie has such a chilling atmosphere and it brings about the true feeling of the holiday. This feeling reaches it's peak when the film ends with one of the scariest horror cliffhangers of all time.
Halloween II came pretty close to being as good as it's predecessor, but couldn't quite make it. In my opinion (this is the only time I'm ever going to say that) it's due to two specific scenes: the accidental death of Ben Tramer and the start of the "thorn" timeline. When Ben Tramer gets run over by a station wagon into an ambulance and explodes, the cop stupidly states he just came out of nowhere. Then there's that one scene that kicks off a whole new and unnecessary timeline in the franchise when it's revealed that Michael has been trying to kill another sister this whole time. Despite these flaws, this sequel comes off as a pretty good conclusion (at least for the moment). I would say this is the 3rd best Halloween film. You could say this is the first possible closure to the series. The only other good possible closure to this franchise would be Halloween (2018).
Honorable Mention: The Amityville Horror (1979)
Just like The Exorcist (1973), this film is based on a novel based on a true story. Skeptics like to poke holes in the Lutz's account of what happened that December. It could be that they don't want to believe in ghosts or demonic spirits present in a house.
Salem's Lot (1979)
If you don't recognize the title, then you should at least recognize the director: Tobe Hooper. This is the guy who directed The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) and comes back five years later to make this terrifying Stephen King adaptation. This is without a doubt the scariest vampires you will ever see, whether it be on the small screen or silver screen. This was released on television in two parts, a practice that would continue for years to come. I heard that Mr. King eventually stated that this is his favorite book written.
Ridley Scott can be put in the top 5 greatest sci-fi directors of all time thanks to this one movie. It's groundbreaking in the sense that it uses old concepts from older alien flicks, especially from the 50s, but done so well that it stands high above them all. The set design, background music, plot, and creature design (by H.R. Giger) will forever make this unforgettable by audiences. This world created by Ridley Scott (and expanded upon by James Cameron) has been put into video games, comics, novels, you name it.
With the story, it gets better and better the more times you watch this film. According to the video game "Alien: Isolation," the events that transpire happen in the year 2122 in a large spaceship called the Nostromo. While returning to Earth on a mining expedition, they are asked by the ship's A.I computer to take a detour to LV-426 due to a "distress beacon." Once they trace it to an abandoned ship, which looks so foreboding by the way, they discover its secrets that makes the audience want to ask so many questions. Who's the dead space jockey? What was he doing holding a bunch of eggs in his ship? Speaking of which, one of them opens and what is now called "the facehugger" hops onto one of the main characters. If you want to know what happens next, you should watch the movie yourself. Believe me, you will not be disappointed. If horror movies had a shock meter, it would be near the top with this film, especially with the "chestburster" scene.