American Indian Movement? Or maybe that littering commercial? Nah, it was totally because of THE MANITOU (1978). All jokes aside, Native Americans in non-savage roles seemed to figure prominently in the motion picture industry (and not just when Marlon Brando was attention whoring) in the ‘70s and early ‘80s and nowhere was this more apparent than in horror cinema as the mysticism of Native Americans proved to be fertile ground.
Perhaps it was Stephen King mentioning in his novel “The Shining” about how the cursed hotel was built on top of an ancient Indian burial ground, but soon medicine men of both the good and bad variety were filling up the screen with chanting in titles such as the aforementioned MANITOU, PROPHECY (1979), NIGHTWING (1979), WOLFEN (1981) and SCALPS (1983). One of the most obscure entries in this subgenre is THE GHOST DANCE (1980), a regionally shot horror film that not only got in on this Native American craze but also jumped on the slasher train rather quickly.