My 2nd favorite Christmas themed horror film of all time!
Black Christmas (1974)
Directed By: Bob Clark (A Christmas Story, Porky’s)
I have been slightly mistaken my friends! I wrote right here in one of my very first reviews that “Halloween” was the film that started the slasher craze back in the day. And while it may have started the genre on the roll it went on in the late 70’s and early 80’s it wasn’t the first of it’s kind.
Today we cover the original “Black Christmas” (not to be mistaken for the awful remake), a movie that came out in 1974 a whole four years before “Halloween” . Yet this movie turns out to be a film with much deeper similarities other than just people getting killed on a major holiday.
The story of “Black Christmas” takes us to a female sorority house as we approach Christmas. The girls of the sorority have been getting some rather odd and x-rated prank phone calls and when girls come up missing someone finally starts to get worried, and rightfully so.
One familiar face you may notice in this film (besides John Saxon who plays Lieutenant Kenneth Fuller) is none other than Olivia Hussey who takes the lead female role in this movie playing Jessica Bradford, and she does a great job at it. Matter fact, I can’t really find a bad actor in this film. Even people who have bland parts fit their roles so well that you hardly notice. This is just one of the many things that make it ten times better than the remake and better than most in the same genre.
One key filming technique you’ll also notice in this film is the first person point of view. As we at times see through the eyes of the movie’s killer. A style that while I’m sure this movie wasn’t the first to do, it is a style that would later be used in “Halloween” and many many more horror films.
The whole style of this film is simple yet effective. There isn’t really any bright colors or fancy setting. Just a grim feeling and an even grimmer house. which helps a lot with the over tone of the movie.
The plot may be the weak point of the film but giving the fact it is a slasher film you can’t ask for much more than what you get. By the time the movie wraps you could find yourself confused and a bit unsatisfied that some key things might still be in question, however I can almost assure you that you’ll be wanting to watch it again.The Conclusion
It is very hard to believe that the same man that gave us Ralphie and the timeless classic “A Christmas Story” gave us probably the o.g. of slasher films. Not because “Black Christmas” isn’t a classic (because trust me it is) just because it odd to think that the man behind both is actually one in the same.It is just a terrible shame to think that there is a large group of people who love horror who have never seen this movie. Many like myself, who at first believed that “Halloween” was the movie that started the slasher category in horror, when in reality it was this film right here.
In an interesting note John Carpenter (who was a big fan of this movie) one time asked Bob Clark if he was to make a sequel to this film what it would be about. Bob told John that if he did one it would take place on Halloween a year after the events of this film when the killer has escaped a mental institution, and that he’d probably call it “Halloween”. Four years later John Carpenter’s “Halloween” was released.
Now I’m not saying he just flat stole the idea. Bob himself tells the story but never says as much. I’m just saying “Halloween” was HEAVILY influenced by this film. In style and delivery, and if you like “Halloween” you should also like “Black Christmas”.
It may be low on blood for all you gore fans out there, but it is VERY high on over all quality. This movie is a hidden gem in the horror genre, and if you haven’t seen it yet, then by all means you need to
The Rating (7.5/10)