February 25, 2023
This period of critical and commercial success continued into the 1970s, especially with the removal of the Hays Code in 1967. The code was replaced with the Motion Picture Association rating system, a far less oppressive system that gave more mature films the ability to reach actual success. The process of filmmaking was also becoming increasingly accessible for independent creators, so more films saw production without the threat of studio censorship or cancellation. A diversification of horror and darker, more graphic films were finally able to reach the public eye. With advancements in technology came more realistic and frightening monsters, set designs, and special effects. The horror films of the 1970s, such as Alien, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, Carrie, and Dawn of the Dead, continuously rank highly among lists of horror movies.
The horror films of the early 1980s mirrored the quality of the 1970s and continued to capitalize on the rapidly advancing technology of the age. Directors like John Carpenter and David Cronenberg were able to create grotesquely deformed monsters in their films by combining practical and special effects. The early 1980s also saw the establishment of iconic horror franchises such as the Friday the 13th series, the A Nightmare on Elm Street series, and The Evil Dead series. Though the first installments of these franchises often received critical and commercial praise, the sequels typically saw heavy drops in quality.
While the previous era saw unique experimentation and storytelling techniques, the horror genre returned to tired, unoriginal films during the late 80s and early 90s. Apart from a few horror masterpieces (i.e. The Silence of the Lambs, Misery), studios relied on the successful pre-existing intellectual property rather than original stories. Studios churned out tired properties spurning abominations with ridiculous plots such as Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan and Jaws: The Revenge.