Filmbar70’s Top Ten British Thrillers of the ’70s

Filmbar70As both an anglophile and an avid fan of 70s flicks, it rather pains me to admit that I don’t think I’ve ever seen any of these movies. As a matter of fact, except for #1, most of them are ones that I haven’t even heard of. That’s why I was pretty excited to share this list and the accompanying videos with you guys.

According to their website, “Filmbar70 is the brainchild of two cinema and beer enthusiasts who want to share the joy of wrongfully obscure trash/class world cinema with monthly screenings at the brilliant Roxy Bar and Screen.” Unfortunately, neither their website nor their YouTube page seem to have been updated since around the middle of last year.

As far as the videos below go, I’ll let the Filmbar70 guys describe them:

Filmbar70 celebrates British thrillers of the ’70s, films that presented psychotic terror squarely at a young crowd in drab times, often depicting them in turn as terrorised babysitting teens, late to the party hippies on a misguided kick, disenfranchised social misfits, or wayward middle class family units self-destructing. They indeed reflected the pessimistic times of a beleaguered country in the throes of austerity and in part proved to be the last gasp of British genre industry. And they often starred Judy Geeson.
The films in our top ten can be seen primarily as a continuation of ‘Peeping Tom’ (’60) and, of course, ‘Psycho’ (’60), with their winning mixture knife-wielding exploitation, noir and kitchen sink drama. With the advent of Powell and Hitchcock’s seminal films even the likes of Hammer would occasionally drop the gothic template and get in on the act with titles such as ‘Stop Me Before I Kill’ (’60), ‘Maniac’ (’63) and ‘Paranoiac’ (’63) often depicting unhinged beatniks up to no good. The trend continued into the mid to late 60’s and into the early ’70s with ‘Night Must Fall’ (’64), ‘Twisted Nerve’ (’68) and ‘The Night Digger’ (’71) presenting disturbed youth at a time when it was supposed to be swinging.

judy geeson
Judy Geeson is obviously trying to get our attention no matter which direction we’re coming from.(Photo credit: mrrobertwade (wadey))

A sub genre term ‘home invasion’ arrived and located itself on these shores with 1971’s ‘Straw Dogs’. Peckinpah’s film had a huge effect on British exploitation films that followed although home invasion terror could possibly be traced 4 years earlier with Peter Collinson’s visceral ‘The Penthouse’ (’67). Indeed Collinson would follow up on his home invasion theme the same year as ‘Straw Dogs’ with ‘Fright’, featuring the perpetually abused ‘Dogs’ star Susan George.

Of course Brit thrill roots go back as far back as the late 1920’s, films such as Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Blackmail’ (’29) and ‘The Lodger’ (’29). However these dark thrills were maybe out of vogue with the times and didn’t continue by and large through the depression, studios wanted lighter fair. However with the heyday of film noir came the occasional slice of psychological terror such as ‘Gaslight’ (’40), the great Thorold Dickinson’s original British version, which Hollywood remade and shamelessly tried to bury.

I’m not going to post the list of films included, because personally when I’m watching something like this I like for there to be some surprise as each one is revealed. There is however, a complete list available at the YouTube site for each video including the director and stars of each included film.

Okay, that’s enough talk. Here are the videos:

Part One

and Part Two

Until next time, Happy Viewing!

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