Best Horror Shows on the 70’s

When one thinks of strong time periods for televised terrors the 1970’s do not usually spring to mind. But the era of Nixon, Vietnam, and Star Wars gave us solid scares from the idiot box even if they tend to have gone under the radar. Most of these horror shows came from overseas and anthologies were quite prominent. In honor of these underrated shows here are the greatest horror shows of the 70’s.

Kolchak: The Night Stalker: While it only lasted 20 episodes, this Darren McGavin starring vehicle laid the foundation for shows like The X-Files, Gravity Falls, and countless others. Outspoken reporter Carl Kolchak has little interest in covering typical stories, if he is going to grab his camera and head out in his yellow Mustang the event has to by rooted in the supernatural. Each week, Kolchak found himself confronting vampires, ghosts, werewolves, witches, and other threats armed only with his wits. Though short-lived, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, sharp writing and an excellent performance from McGavin have made it a true cult classic.

Night Gallery: During the 1960’s, writer Rod Serling gave viewers a terrifying anthology series that to this day stands as a landmark work of television. In 1970, it was time to see if lightning struck twice as Serling welcomed guests to the Night Gallery. Featuring more of a supernatural slant than the Twilight Zone, each episode began with Rod Serling introducing a piece of art, done by either Thomas J Wright or Jerry Gebr, trying into the night’s episode. While not as consistent in quality as its predecessor show, when Night Gallery was on it delivered truly memorable works.

Supernatural: Gathering around in a sophisticated study, the Club of the Damned share scary stories with one another intended to chill their colleagues to the bone….or else. Taking more of a classical gothic approach to horror focusing more on atmosphere and mood than outright thrills and scares. This 8-episode critically acclaimed show gave viewers excellent stories featuring ghosts, werewolves, and other spooky things that go bump in the darkness.

Beasts: Created by celebrated writer Nigel Kneale, the man responsible for the creation of Professor Bernard Quatermass, Beasts was a show far better than it had any right to be. While each episode lured viewers in with the promise of monsters, it is the psychological terrors that proved to be the show’s strength. From a horror actor who throws himself too much into his roles to a man trying to become a wolf, Kneale showed the the true scares comes from within the human mind.

Dead of Night: Running for a single series in 1972 most of the episodes of this BBC production have sadly been lost to time. But the three episodes we do have portray a truly creepy and atmospheric show. Those who saw this anthology have never forgotten it and thanks to the work of the BFI the surviving episodes have been made available for future generations. This includes the first episode “The Exorcism” which sets a high bar that we can only hope the other episodes matched.