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Top 10 Unmissable Exploitation Films of the Seventies Part 1.


When it concerns quantity and quality the Seventies are the most defining decade of the exploitation film. At that time the grindhouses and drive-ins in the United States that showed these obscure flicks as counterpart to the mainstream cinema were well attended but also the Asian and the European (especially Italy) equivalents were very popular during this decade.

In this Top 10 I excluded the more familiar (all magnificent) exploitation films like Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Tobe Hooper, 1974) and Dawn of the Dead (George A. Romero, 1978) because they are mentioned continually on almost all top lists concerning this subject. Well anyway, on 10 we've got...


10) Man on the Roof ( Bo Widerberg, 1976 )

 Man on the Roof (Bo Widerberg, 1976)

Man on the Roof (Bo Widerberg, 1976)

An ex-cop entrenches himself with weapons on the roof of an apartment building in Stockholm and starts shooting on accidental passers-by and former colleagues. Widerberg adapted Sjöwall's novel and turned it into a suggestive exploitation film commenting on the isolation and the professional deformation of the police. The perpetrator remains invisible until the end while in the meantime research is being done on him. A tense action-thriller with a great helicopter stunt.


9) Deathdream ( aka. Dead of Night) (Bob Clark, 1974 )

Deathdream (aka. Dead of Night) (Bob Clark, 1974)

Deathdream (aka. Dead of Night) (Bob Clark, 1974)

An original and intelligent treatment of the zombie theme. A supposed death Vietnam soldier (Richard Backus) returns to his family as a total stranger with a murderous bloodlust. One of the first films that focused on the problems of repatriating Vietnam soldiers. Backus as the 'estranged' soldier is excellent just as John Marley and Lenny Carlin ( both > Cassavetes regulars ) as his parents. It is also the first movie which includes the gory effects from the legendary make-up FX artist Tom Savini.


8) The Todd Killings ( Barry Shear, 1971 )
The Todd Killings (Barry Shear, 1971) The Todd Killings (Barry Shear, 1971)
Highly underrated and largely unknown exploitation film based on the historic events concerning the murderer > Charles Schmid who was also known as the "The Pied Piper of Tucson". Shear's profound movie tells the story of a group of adolescents who, under the influence of the charismatic and misogynistic womanizer Skipper Todd, get involved in a series of murders. Well acted drama especially by Robert F. Lyons as the leader of the group and a convincingly subversive assault on the American Dream.


7) Scum ( Alan Clarke, 1977-79 )
Scum (Alan Clarke, 1977-79) Scum (Alan Clarke, 1977-79)
Clarke's TV film is a harsh indictment on violence in youth prisons. It was commissioned by the BBC but due to a rape and suicide sequence and the overall violence it was banned. He and Roy Minton reworked the screenplay and shot it again for the cinema with almost the same cast and some adjustments. The young Ray Winstone is great as Carlin, the new inmate who wins the power struggle Mick Ford in the cinematic release and David Threllfall in the T.V. version are both great as Archer the subversive and intelligent adolescent. Although the film was banned in at its first release it had positive effects on the youth prison system in the UK which became more human.


6) Master of the Flying Guillotine ( Jimmy Wang Yu, 1975 )
Master of the Flying Guillotine ( Jimmy Wang Yu, 1975 ) Master of the Flying Guillotine ( Jimmy Wang Yu, 1975 )
Although Wang Yu's sequel to his own > One-Armed Boxer (1971)  was an independent production with a smaller budget it is nowadays considered to be one of the seminal and most celebrated martial-arts martial-arts film. The one-armed Liu Ti Lung (Wang Yu), now a kung-fu teacher, and his school are challenged to participate in a martial-arts tournament but choose to be just observers. In the meantime a blind master assassin dressed as a monk and accompanied with a notorious tool of death is trying to find Liu Ti Lung to avenge his dead disciples. This exploitation film presents countless memorable fight scenes and characters such as the yoga master with the extended arms, a kung-fu master with a lethal hair-tail, a monkey boxer, a pole fight sequence, a ruthless thai-boxer and last but not least the deadliest weapon in martial-arts film history the flying guillotine.


Click here for the remaining 5 of this > Top 10 Unmissable Exploitation films of the 70s!



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