Christmas: Black Christmas (1974)

Next up in the Christmas movie marathon is Black Christmas.  Its been kind of weird that my line-up has a lot of atypical Christmas movies.  Krampus wasn’t all happy happy joy joy and then now we have this one.  I had one more horror that fell through because I had thought my husband had it or Netflix did but it turns out my memory was playing tricks on me so I have a movie slot to fill in now.  Before we get ahead of ourselves, lets check this out~!

Black Christmas (1974)

Black Christmas

Director: Bob Clark

Cast: Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullia, Margot Kidder, John Saxon, Andrea Martin, Michael Rapport

A sorority house is terrorized by a stranger who makes frightening phone calls and then murders the sorority sisters during Christmas break.-IMDB

 Most of you know that I’m pretty cool with most horror premises and my expectations never are that high.  Maybe they are a little higher this year because its been a fantastic year of horror with some great additions, especially from all those wonderful discoveries.  Is this a holiday film? Well, its set on Christmas and its a slasher flick.  There’s an appearance from a really crappy fake Santa, sorority girls drink and one particularly gets drunk and whoever did this film is all about sex (and one specific thing related to it…).  Black Christmas is a little weird and a tad stupid.  The characters themselves are a little meh with a bit of idiocy  in their decision-making skills. But, there is one thing they did get really well and that is making us wonder who the killer is up to the very end.

Black Christmas

When watching Black Christmas, you have to keep in mind that its made in 1974 and (probably) a low-budget Canadian production that (I think) aired on TV and maybe even under another name.  I believe I read that somewhere. Effectiveness-wise, its doesn’t really do much.  You can pretty expect the normal tropes and predict who dies next. Are there a few jump scares? Sure.  Here and there, the suspense does build.  But man, that beginning sequence was so slow. I guess its because I didn’t really care much for the characters.  The cops were pretty funny though and that perpetually perfect drunk girl also.  The main girl was played by a Olivia Hussey, who looked super familiar, like I’ve seen her in something else but I can’t remember (and her filmography also shows that my memory played yet another trick on me). She is the shining star here and well, the house mother who always has a bottle of Straight Sherry hanging out nearby that she whips out. I guess, the other light on this little movie would be John Saxon who plays as a cop here (in a higher ranking) and he was in Nightmare on Elm Street (which I saw recently).

Black Christmas

Let’s get into the gritty part. What is key to a horror. Its about the villain and the kills. Man, I never thought I’d say that.  Like I said before, how they treated this slasher villain is pretty good.  It keeps us guessing. Of course there are some improbably bits like how the heck he did the first kill and went up this dinky ladder to the attic while carrying the girl.  I’m still thinking of the mechanics of how that works. Its okay, lets get past that part.  Stupid girls did make this killer’s life a lot easier ;).  But then, those phone calls were pretty creepy and weird all at the same time. But it does say something when we keep getting sent back to that first kill, maybe its a sign that the remaining kills aren’t quite as scary? I don’t know what I’m talking about anymore.

Overall, Black Christmas is a little weird 1970s horror movie.  Its pretty average.  The beginning is a little slow for my taste and the characters are pretty bad at decision-making but they do get a few things right, particularly a few funny parts and the nature of the killer himself.  There are some effectively scary kills but the big picture of this is that it uses very typical horror tropes and that makes it rather predictable.

Have you seen Black Christmas? What do you think about it?

17 thoughts on “Christmas: Black Christmas (1974)

  1. Right on, Kim. Highlighting a Canadian cult classic. And no not all Christmases end up like this in Canada folks 😉

    While it may feel rather cliched, this was like the 1st slasher… inspiring Halloween… which, well you know what happened after that John Carpenter flick.

    Btw, I liked your Random Talkshow at That Moment In. It sounds like this classic is still better than Krampus 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, our Canada Christmas judging from this year is kind of just depressing and discouraging. Haha!

      I’m still exploring all those 1970s horror. If I put myself and erase all that I’ve seen and go horror 1974 (and it might be the earliest of the slasher flicks), this does make other movies seem to draw from what they did. Seeing as I just did a quick research and realized that Halloween was released in 1978 so it makes sense.
      Thanks for listening to Random Chat Show. Melissa feels a lot stronger about Krampus being bad than I do. To be fair, I’m lukewarm. I guess I had a few jumpscares and creepy moments here than Krampus. Its not a bad movie though. It has some good laughs and it depends if you buy into the creatures they use as Krampus. Everything works well until Krampus is revealed. But then revealing the creature is (almost) always a crap move in my book…its the mystery that makes it scary.

      Liked by 1 person

      • So cool you’re getting the retro cult classics, Kim! Have you seen the 80s classic Poltergeist? That’s one that influence a lot of paranormal ones that are around today.

        As for Krampus, I think I’d orbably dig it like your hubby did. I like those old school practical FX and creature designs. The trailer showed a few cool ones – like the teddy bear with serrated teeth. I head your podcast, so I think I know what you mean about revealing the monster, especially if the final look is kinda lame.

        And totally agree with you… My fav stuff is when the director milks the tension by not showing us the scary beast, like Jaws or Signs.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ll try and rummage around my video store collection (former owner here). I have Poltergeist and the rare gem you’ve been seeking (from podcast) Rare Exports. I’m in Ottawa, if I remember right you’re Quebec. Shipping won’t be crazy. Lemme know. I don’t mind helping out a fellow nerd. There just sitting in a box somewhere anyways.

        Liked by 1 person

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