Monday, December 22, 2008

Black Christmas (1974, Bob Clark)

Ok, why does Halloween get all the attention when it comes to slasher films? I mean, yeah it's a classic of the genre and one of the first but when you think about it, not only did Black Christmas come out 4 years earlier, it also took place around a holiday. I don't really remember what made me rent this when I was about 16 (it was probably after seeing Silent Night Deadly Night) but when I did, I instantly fell in love with it. I remember making my friends watch it too.

Black Christmas takes place at a sorority house right before Christmas break. After receiving obscene phone calls, one of the girls goes missing. Then, the other girls all start disappearing too. After one of the girls, Jess (Olivia Hussey), calls the police about the obscene phone calls, they realize that the calls and the disappearances may be connected.

Black Christmas is one of the scariest, creepiest and best horror films out there. It has been called the first slasher film (unless you count Psycho) and after watching so many other slashers, you can instantly tell where so many of the cliches of such films originated from. The opening scene to When a Stranger Calls even shamelessly rips off an entire key scene from Black Christmas. Another funny thing about this film is how director Bob Clark went on to make one of the most iconic Christmas films of all time, A Christmas Story. Though A Christmas Story is filled with dark humor, it couldn't be more different than Black Christmas. I would definitely suggest this film for any fans of Christmas/Holiday-themed horror films. The last half hour will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat.



  1. I don't see this one as so good on the whole. I think it lacked a strong rising action and climax, which in turn paved the way for a bunch of lackluster "whodunit" endings preceded by cheaply done offscreen kills in future slashers -_- .

    HOWEVER, one thing makes this film one of the scariest movies I have ever seen: The villain. "Billy" is possibly the creepiest character ever committed to film; the dialogue, the POV, the eye protruding from the shadows, the calculating and predatory motions... It all comes together to form pure mania incorporated, the true "boogeyman"

  2. I thought the films slow pace just adds to the build up at the end. I thought it had one of the scariest climaxes in any horror film and the ending blew me away. I hold this one very dear to my heart.

  3. Again, I've really gotta disagree. Though I thought the actual end scene was scary, the climax was rather disappointing considering what went before. I did actually like most of the rising action, but the stuff directly before and during the chase was not that great (Offscreen kill of major supporting character? Too many detective interludes too IMO), which to me was disappointing considering how terrifying Billy was.

    The whole "chase" scene, to me, did not successfully carry over the creepy menace of the killer from previous scenes; it was just too quick. Perhaps I'm too genre-savvy but I also saw the plot twist coming a mile away (The characters talked so much about suspecting Peter at that one point it started to get obvious he was a red herring), even though the "reveal" was still well-directed.