Black Christmas will ROCK you too!
Plot: During their Christmas break, a group of sorority girls are stalked by a stranger – Black Christmas.
Director – Bob Clark
Starring: Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder
Released: October 1975
Blumhouse recently dropped an extremely mediocre-looking trailer for their upcoming reboot of Black Christmas, where I stated that you would probably be best served viewing the original if you want to watch a genuinely frightening film and although I don’t believe the film to be a cult classic as others have labelled it, this is most definitely a film that has inspired numerous others.
The story is simple enough, but it is one of the earliest slasher films, with a deranged killer murdering the remaining girls in a sorority house over the Christmas break, killing them one by one until we are left rooting for the final girl, this doesn’t mean that the film doesn’t try to do some interesting and creepy things along the way such as the phonecalls which add somewhat of a supernatural element to the story.
There are two main reasons that I believe the story works, firstly is a gloomy atmosphere that I was not expecting to come across in a sub-genre not normally known for being that adventurous and even more so for a film set during Xmas when people should normally have fun, A prime example being the duality we get when a group of carollers are singing to the beautiful Hussey’s character while Kidder’s is being brutally killed in her bed upstairs.
The second reason being the film’s ability to keep the suspense and fear growing even when the characters leave the house (well apart from the falashio scene), mainly done by having most of the gruesome deaths happening off-screen thus leaving your imagination to fill in the blanks.
I also have to give Black Christmas praise for touching on issues not normally seen in horror films even today, never mind the mid-’70s, such as teen pregnancy, drinking and even debate about abortions, it’s a shame that the films that took inspiration from this film chose to mostly become so puritanical in nature, whereas here the virgin dies first.
I’m not going to stay that the acting was anything other than just decent, I don’t think anyone was particularly outstanding, especially given the films noticeably restrictive budget, but Clark does what he can to make it work and this might be what caused the films to have such a claustrophobic feel and some interesting shot choices.
In the end, Black Christmas is a trail-breaking slasher film that although looks dated and some elements are a little unbelievable, you still end up suitably entertained and wondering who Billy is for years to come.