The 1970s oversaw a total revolution for the genre of horror - the films which screened in this era ushered in several different sub-genres, showcased a great advancement in cinematography and pushed boundaries in terms of daring imagery and themes.
But moreover, horror movie villains were more fascinating and memorable than ever. It was the era when audiences really started to notice the evil-doers of the story and found a new appreciation for them. After all, it was pretty difficult to ignore them because their costumes were becoming more extravagant and their motives (or lack thereof) were becoming more disturbing. It’s hard to pinpoint why we enjoy the villains of the film, but it’s often because they end up being the most interesting characters of the entire story.
The majority of horror movie villains from the 1970s have become so iconic within pop culture, there have been whole franchises and fanbases dedicated to them, not to mention several thriller movies that came after have tried (and failed) to replicate their awesomeness.
From cannibals and stalkers, to demons and savage beasts, these are the greatest horror movie villains from the 1970s.
10. Billy - Black Christmas (1974)
Before Ghostface in Scream, there was Billy in Black Christmas. In this 1974 slasher flick - overseeing a rare instance where Halloween and Christmas come together - a group of sorority girls plan for the holiday on their seasonal break. But it's not as leisurely as they hope as they start receiving a number of alarming phone calls from a stalker, who identifies himself as "Billy".
Billy is definitely one of the more realistic horror movie villains - no elaborate mask to hide behind, no special powers to use, nor is he a supernatural being. The caller tormenting the girls is simply a deranged serial killer. We very seldom see any part of his appearance (except for an obscured face amidst some dark shadows) and his intentions behind murdering the college students are never revealed.
The lack of backstory and the chilling mystery of Billy's identity forces the audiences to place their fears on him, especially because he is no different to a real life mass murderer.