7. Baron Blood (1972)
The descendant of a murderous Austrian baron accidentally revives his ancestor who embarks on a murder spree.
Influential Italian horror film director Mario Bava brings a Vincent Fotre screenplay to life with less than inspiring results as, among other disappointments, the film promises a showdown between a would-be Savant psychic character and the revived baron that never happens.
Like many Bava films there is some palpable atmosphere here but the overall execution of the interesting story idea revolving around a being that becomes more human every time it kills is severely lacking.
8. Dr. Phibes Rises Again (1972)
The infamous Dr. Phibes travels to Egypt for the secret to raising his wife from the dead as he is pursued by police detectives and his nemesis Biederbeck who is seeking the key to eternal life.
Robert Fuest, director of the The Abominable Dr. Phibes from the previous year, helmed 8 episodes of the classic British series The Avengers and like the first Phibes film brings some of the feel of that series to the big screen with this sequel.
Screenwriter Robert Blees replaces original Phibes creators James Whiton and William Goldstein and the film lets the audience down as it never fulfills its promise of a horror genre battle of superior intellects in the vein of Sherlock Holmes vs. Moriarty.
Actors Vincent Price and Robert Quarry of the Count Yorga films deserved better.
The sophisticated traps employed by Dr. Phibes in both films were an obvious influence on the Saw film series.
9. Psychic Killer (1975)
A recently released mental patient uses astral projection to take revenge on the people he blames for his incarceration.
Ray Danton directs from a screenplay by Danton, Greydon Clark & Mikel Angel and the resulting film is a disjointed mess that wastes a great premise.
Psychic Killer, mainly known as a 1970s horror oddity with some gruesome scenes, could be greatly improved upon and transformed into a highly memorable horror-revenge film.
Actor turned director Danton also directed two other interesting horror misfires in the 1970s: Deathmaster (1972) with Robert Quarry and Hannah, Queen of the Vampires (1973).
10. The Manitou (1978)
A mysterious growth on a woman’s back is revealed to contain the ever-growing embryo of a legendary Native American sorcerer bent on rebirth into the modern world.
Director William Girdler’s final film before his untimely death was an adaptation of Graham Masterton’s novel with a screenplay by Girdler, Jon Cedar & Thomas Pope.
As is the case with Girdler’s Grizzly (1976) and Day of the Animals (1977), The Manitou features some great scenes including an operation to remove the growth that goes terribly wrong and the immensely creepy birth of the deformed sorcerer as he emerges from his host’s back.
Like other Girdler films, The Manitou also features some unintentional laughs that could be easily remedied with a proper remake that would benefit from going back to the original novel and incorporating some of the imagery left out of the film such as a scene wherein a hospital elevator opens to reveal of group of mutilated police officers.
11. Cannibal Apocalypse (1980)
A group of Vietnam veterans held as prisoners of war find themselves hungering for human flesh after returning to the States.
Italian genre film veteran Antonio Margheriti directed this film that has gone by many titles over the years and also served as screenwriter along with Dardano Sacchetti.
Margheriti drops the ball in almost every way in this film and wastes a great premise that could be very memorably executed as an intense, horror-oriented Manchurian Candidate.
John Frankenheimer’s 1962 suspense thriller classic did not need the 2004 Jonathan Demme version but Cannibal Apocalypse has all the raw material for a truly excellent film.
12. The Vindicator (1986)
A critically wounded scientist is transformed into a cyborg that is programmed to kill anything it comes into physical contact with.
Want to remake a film about a man transformed into a cyborg on a quest for revenge? Don’t remake Robocop, remake director Jean-Claude Lord’s The Vindicator.
Based on a screenplay by Edith Rey and David Preston, the film does feature a number of great moments like the titular character using his mechanically enhanced strength to crush a car and his pursuers’ attempt to capture him by submerging him in a case full of fast-drying resin.
There’s a very solid foundation here on which to base a highly memorable film including a superb Stan Winston character design.
Author Bio: Terek Puckett is an actor, screenwriter and film writer based in Los Angeles. He is a graduate of Wright State University in Ohio and his areas of film expertise include horror cinema and neo-film noir. More of his film writing can be seen here: http://www.soundonsight.org/author/terek-puckett/.