1970s: The Decade Obsessed With Witches and Devils

In the 1970s, Hollywood's new rage was witch-themed and devil-themed movies. They did a horrid job of explaining witches and confusing them with devil worship and sacrifice, as well as possession. Somehow many of these movies came out making the public confused about pentacles and witches as some kind of devil worshippers. It would appear that this trend had a lot more to do with youth's disillusionment with religion, desire to enter into cults and alternative spiritual practices. 

Let's take a look at some of these humdingers - 

*Descriptions from IMDB.

Race With the Devil: (1975) Peter Fonda, Loretta Swit. Two couples vacationing together in an R.V. from Texas to Colorado are terrorized after they witness a murder during a Satanic ritual.

Season of the Witch (aka Hungry Wives): (1972) A bored, unhappy suburban housewife gets mixed up in witchcraft and murder. Directed by George Romero.

Mark of the Devil: (1970) Udo Kier is a witch hunter apprentice to Herbert Lom. He believes strongly in his mentor and the ways of the church but loses faith when he catches Lom strangling Reggie Nalder to death for calling him impotent. Kier begins to see for himself that the witch trials are nothing but a scam of the church to rob people of their land, money, and other personal belongings of value and seduce beautiful big breasted women. Eventually, the townspeople revolt, Herbert Lom escapes but poor Udo is captured by the towns people. This film contains very strong graphic torture including a women's tongue being ripped out of her head,nuns being raped(in the opening credits), and lots of beatings.

Daughters of Satan:  (1972) James Robertson buys a painting depicting witches being burned at the stake, one of whom bears an uncanny resemblance to his wife, Chris. Chris, gradually taken over by the personality of the witch in the painting that she resembles, allies herself with two other reincarnated witches to plan James' death, as he proves to be a descendant of the man responsible for the witches' fate. Tom Selleck. 

Satan's School For Girls:  (1973) Pamela Franklin, Kate Jackson. A young woman investigating her sister's suicide at a private girls' school finds herself battling a satanic cult.

The Wicker Man:  (1973) A police sergeant is sent to a Scottish island village in search of a missing girl whom the townsfolk claim never existed. Stranger still are the rites that take place there.

Crowhaven Farm: (1970) Hope Lange. A young couple inherits a farm. Hoping that the rural location might help to patch up their strained marriage, they move into it, only to be confronted by the supernatural forces that inhabit it.

The Dark Secret of Harvest Home: (1978) Dan Ackroyd, Rosanna Arquette, Bette Davis. A young couple moves to a quiet New England village, only to soon find themselves mixed up in mysterious rituals.

The House That Would Not Die: (1970) Barbara Stanwyck. A tale of witchcraft, black magic and a haunted house in the Amish country.

The Omen: (1976) Gregory Peck. Mysterious deaths surround an American ambassador. Could the child that he is raising actually be the anti-christ? The devil's own son.

The Exorcist: (1973) Linda Blair.  When a teenage girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her daughter.

Blood On Satan's Claw: (1971) Horror thriller set in 17th century England about the children of a village slowly converting into a coven of devil worshipers.

The Brotherhood of Satan: (1971) A family is trapped in a desert town by a cult of senior-citizens who recruit the town's children to worship Satan.

The Devil's Daughter: (1973) Shelley Winters. A young girl whose mother had sold her soul to Satan when she was born is told by Satan that she must marry a fellow demon.

The Possession of Joel Delaney: (1972) Shirley MacLaine, Perry King. A woman begins to suspect that her brother is possessed by a voodoo spirit.

To the Devil a Daughter: (1976) An American occult novelist battles to save the soul of a young girl from a group of Satanists, led by an excommunicated priest, who plan on using her as the representative of the Devil on Earth.

The Devil's Rain: (1975) Ernest Borgnine, Eddie Albert, Ida Lupina. A bunch of Satanists in the American rural landscape have terrible powers which enable them to melt their victims. However one of the children of an earlier victim vows to destroy them.

Cry of the Banshee: (1970) Vincent Price. In Elizabethan England, a wicked lord massacres nearly all the members of a coven of witches, earning the enmity of their leader, Oona. Oona calls up a magical servant, a "banshee", to destroy the lord's family. (The "banshee" of this tale bears no resemblance to the normal usage of the term!)

Night of the Witches: (1971) A lecherous thief posing as a preacher is wandering in northern coastal Mexico. After stealing a car and evading police, he stumbles on a small coven of mysterious witches living in a seaside mansion. The preacher attempts to extort money from the witches, not knowing how dangerous they really are.