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)
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.
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).
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?