Thoughts from the ledge: Five cool 1970s horror finds

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Welcome to Arrow Beach 2 – Courtesy of Brut Productions

The 1970s were a great time for exploring all types of horror. Here is a list of films and television shows from that era that made a lasting impression on me. Four decades later, I’m still looking over my shoulder.

“I watched science fiction and horror movies on TV and was always really fascinated by them.” – Rick Baker

The ’70s – A Groovy Era

I’m really fortunate that I got to experience the ’70s. There were so many terrific forms of entertainment around. Movies were at their peak, television shows were inventive and there was usually a variety of genres to choose from.

Since an early age, I had always been interested in exploring the weird side of life. If I wasn’t watching Star Trek or Lost in Space, I was viewing some creepy B movie on the “Dr. Shock” show on the weekends.

Paranormal and psychological thrillers are my absolute favorite types of horror. So, on the list that I have compiled you won’t find the usual suspects like The Omen, The Last House on the Left and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Instead, I have opted for some unknown gems.

Join me as I take a trip in the way back machine to explore these forgotten classics.

Welcome to Arrow Beach (1974)

Welcome to Arrow Beach – Laurence Harvey – Courtesy of Brut Productions

If you get the chance to see the original The Manchurian Candidate with Frank Sinatra, I highly recommend it. Why am I mentioning this movie? Because it features a wonderful performance by Laurence Harvey.

A British “It” actor during the 60’s he starred in pictures with the likes of Elizabeth Taylor in the Academy Award winning, Butterfield 8 and The Alamo with John Wayne. So, he had a pedigree as a dramatic actor.

During the 70’s, he started making a foray into horror films and television shows. One of his efforts, Welcome to Arrow Beach in 1974 was so disturbing that it is still with me 44 years later. Let’s just say if you have an aversion to basements, you might want to avoid this flick.

Lifestyles of the Decadent Rich

Of course, Harvey plays Jason Henry, a wealthy recluse who combs the beach in search of hot chicks. The best part is he does this in a turtleneck and huge dark sunglasses because that’s normal, right?

He also lives with his beautiful sister, Grace (Joanna Pettet). While scoping for honeys with his trusty binoculars, he spies the mesmerizing Robbin Stanley played by Meg Foster. She’s just a hippie girl being wild and free.

Targeting her, he introduces himself and invites her to his house. Because it’s the 70’s no red flags appeared for Robbin because everyone had good intentions apparently. Here’s where things get weirder.

Jason invites her to hang out for as long as she wants. This is a lifestyle she could get used to, great wine, delicious food. Yeah, about that…

One night, Robbin hears a suspicious noise. She decides to investigate ending up in the basement in front of a meat locker. Curious, she peaks in and sees a blood crazed Jason wielding a cleaver and hacking up a naked girl.

Terrified, she books out of that scene only to be pursued by Henry. There are more disturbing sights but frankly, I encourage you to seek out this flick. You will not be disappointed. It may even cause you to become a vegan.