Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The 1970s Paranormal Geek Breeding Ground


The 1970s ushered in a whole new love for the paranormal for the first time since the early 20th century spiritualists' movement.

Anyone growing up in those times couldn't help but be changed because of the very milieu of our popular culture. Paranormal and horror were hitting us around every turn, and real life was pretty scary too! 


The Events - Free loving, breakdown of family units, tons of drugs and resulting addictions, pollution issues, 3-mile island, cults, the "Bomb" hovering in the background of our minds, oil shortages, Middle East hostage situations, disillusionment with a president, soldiers coming home from war, financial recession. It was a time of crashing mania from the high of the 60s and a general lack about the future, the government, the environment, and the economy. 




Serial killers - It began with the serial killers of the 70s - a new obscene activity that was on the upswing with killer such as John Wayne Gacy, Hillside Stranglers, The Zodiac Killer, Son of Sam, Ted Bundy, and Wayne Williams. Thus, the stalker/slasher films were born.

Kolchak: The Night Stalker  - This quirky TV series had us believing that it would be entirely possible for some newsman somewhere to be running into X-Files-like paranormal cases and a world that was not ready to accept the reality.




Scooby Doo - This creepy-themed cartoon with its cheery colors and neat happy endings left all of us children of the 70s with a strong desire to climb into a van and solve mysteries. It showed us that not all things that go bump in the night are paranormal (early debunking), but seeking the answers might mean facing our greatest fears and gaining knowledge.

The Legend of Boggy Creek -This 1972 documentary/drama reenacted events in a small community in Fouke, Arkansas and presented Bigfoot to us as a real possibility. Unlike the brief film clip of the Patterson-Gimlin film of the 1960s, this docudrama provided scenarios that were chilling and mystifying. If we hadn't heard of Bigfoot before, he was now on our paranormal radar and the woods would never be the same.

Hammer Films - Hammer Films and many of the British BBS horror-themed shows and movies brought us the mood and atmosphere, ambiance of hauntings and monsters that sucked us into a world of scary old misty manor homes, dark secrets, shadows and the horrors designed in the minds of those who are frightened and coaxed into terrifying scenarios.

The Omen - I remember sneaking in to see this 1976 movie when it came out. "The Omen" was one of the darkest most nasty tales of horror in its time. The acting and writing, directing and cinematography were of a quality to make it very believable and then you add in the dimension of the antichrist and religion, power and corruption and the chilling result was one of the scariest movies of all time.

The Exorcist -  This 1973 film was the launch of the true terror films of the 70s. The biggest terror in this era was that which we could not control; possession, Evil, and ghosts. Considered the scariest movie of all time, this haunting film created an eager horror audience.

The Amityville Horror - The concept of "true" stories made into movies came to life in this haunted house tale that seemed quite feasible and very disturbing. Once again, ghosts, religion, possession; all were portrayed in this film, leaving us uncomfortable every time the phone rang and there was static.

Steve Austin Versus Bigfoot - Bigfoot found his way into popular TV on the "Six Million Dollar Man Show" when Steve Austin went toe-to-toe with Bigfoot.  In a subtle way, Bigfoot was becoming accepted as a concept in our cultural understanding. 




In Search Of - This fantastic series by Rod Serling and later hosted by Leonard Nimoy was a cult favorite and still is now that it's been newly released to DVD. Every week, a new paranormal subject was studied and supported by experts and evidence. Suddenly, things that seemed rather fantastic like spontaneous human combustion and UFO visitors from space seemed quite possible.

Chariots of the Gods - Erich von Daniken wrote the book and a very popular documentary supported the concepts of ancient aliens having been to earth and the proof being here in cave drawings and unusual architecture.  Suddenly, there was an entirely new explanation for our world and its mysteries. 




Dark Shadows - This vampire and werewolves soap opera was overly dramatic, dark, and acted out like a theater play and yet it had the viewers enthralled with the relationships between the players in a paranormal world. We also developed an affection for characters that were hardly thought of as sympathetic before.

Night Gallery - Rod Serling didn't unsettle us enough with Twilight Zone, he moved on to a series that was darker, more on the horror radar with Night Gallery. This weaved tales of almost urban legend feel with dark elements that had to be watched in the dark. 

Urban legends - Bloody Mary, Light-As-A-Feather-Stiff-As-A-Board, Ouija, and tall tales of escaped lunatics with a hook for an arm and dark fates for those on lover's lanes were popular fireside tales and sleepover fodder.  

Made-For-TV-Horror Movies - The 70s saw a HUGE wave of made-for-tv horror movies. We couldn't get enough. Remember "Scream Peggy Scream," "Crowhaven Farm," "When Michael Calls," "Don't Be Afraid Of the Dark," "Satan's School For Girls," "Salem's Lot," "The House That Would Not Die," "Something Evil," and "Trilogy of Terror," were only a small number of the excessive ones that were on the TV every night of the week. 



The new logo for Paranormal Geeks (a book concept born from two children of the 70s) is available now in the shop on tons of items!


3 comments:

  1. MmmmMmmmMmm Vintage Horror... It's cheesy and awesome and creepy ALL AT THE SAME TIME!

    LOVE IT!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yeah, I lived for kolchak! I was really sad when they took him off the air.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I loved "Kolchak: The Night Stalker" - used to watch it all the time with my mom when I was a kid.

    That's probably why I got such a kick out of Darren McGavin as father ("The Old Man") in "A Christmas Story"

    ReplyDelete

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