Monday, December 5, 2011

Black Christmas - 1974 (25 Days of Shitmas Day #5)

Directed by Bob Clark in 1974, Black Christmas is long regarded as the film that gave birth to the late 70s and early 80s Slasher craze and it's also considered among horror fans as the first film to feature the classic Urban Legend tale "The Killer is calling from inside the House".

I'm embarrassed to admit, but in my teens I found this movie rather boring and didn't see how people could say it was better than John Carpenter's Halloween. While I still feel Halloween is the superior movie, my opinion on B.C. has changed drastically. After re-watching Black Christmas for this review (for the first time since 2001 when the 25th Anniversary edition was released) I found myself picking up on little details about the murders and the red herrings of possible killers, all stuff that went way over my head before. I also enjoyed how natural Olivia Hussey, John Saxon, and Margot Kidder's acting are in this movie. They are all totally believable. Kidder really stands out in this as the slutty sorority sister and Saxon brings a certain charm that only he can as the lead cop investigating the Sorority.

One of my main complaints when I was younger was the low amount of kills and gore featured, but what it lacks in that department Black Christmas makes up in good writing and a creepy villain (only known as "Billy" whose motivates are never quite explained). Twisted obscene phone calls and Billy's heavy breathing add to the building tension of him being in the house the whole time without the girls knowing it and makes for a very unnerving experience.

Spoiler Below Beware . . .
As for the unsettling ending that leaves you asking wtf just happened? Are the cops ever going to check the attic and find the dead bodies! Where does the killer go from here? Not knowing these answers and the ambiguous ending is a breath of fresh air compared to today's standards.
(End Of Spoilers)

I'm very happy I gave this movie another chance, I always felt really dumb when I'd hear my fellow horror friends list this as a top favorite Slasher film of theirs or always seeing a good amount of people rocking this Black Christmas Shirt from House of Mysterious Secrets at the Horror Cons I have been too.

Years later Bob Clark would be known better for the comedies he directed such as Porky's and another Holiday Favorite "A Christmas Story".
It's hard to believe after watching Black Christmas that the same man was capable of making such a sweet, light hearted movie like A Christmas Story!
Sadly we lost Bob in 2007 due to being killed by a Drunk Driver . . . I'd love to have seen him do more horror films in his career, but his contribution to Horror Slasher Films and Christmas Time still shines to this day!
Bob Clark
1939 - 2007

-Tom Bryce


  1. Fun Fact: The Leg Lamp is made from an actual human leg, culled during the filming of Black Christmas.

    Or was it?!

    John Saxon chews up scenery in any film he's in? (Mitchell!)

  2. I told Saxon how much I liked him in "Invasion of the Flesh Hunters" last month at HorrorHound and he thought I was joking! I like the guy in just about everything he was in "Elm Street 1, 3, 7", "Enter the Dragon", are some of my favorite most watched movies