Alright, so I considered leaving this one until December, but then I thought “fuck it” — so we’re doing the 1974 Canadian CLASSIC (yeah that’s right, its going on the list) Black Christmas.
First things first : Yes, I know there’s a remake. No, I haven’t seen. No I don’t know if its good, bad or somewhere in the middle, and no I don’t hate remakes. I’m not going to draw comparisons to something I haven’t seen. Maybe one day I’ll watch the remake, but it’s not very high on my list.
Now we’ve done that, so here is the plot of BLACK CHRISTMAS
A sorority house is terrorized by a stranger who makes frightening phone calls and then murders the sorority sisters during Christmas break.
Alright, now I know what you’re thinking. that sounds like a movie we’ve all seen 7000 times. There is one major difference in this case though: this movie did it first. Before there was Jason, Freddy, or Michael..before the calls were coming from inside the house… there was Black Christmas. This tiny little Canadian movie is where the majority of the tropes and twists you’ve seen in countless slasher movies since the late 70s have come from. You can argue that maybe it was Psycho, or maybe it was some 1930s German art movie that no one has heard of, but to my knowledge this is where it started. Also released at the same time, another genre-setting movie : The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Anyways, lets move on. The cast in this movie is basically a bunch of folks that haven’t done a whole lot of note, not because they’re bad actors (not ..all of them) but because that’s what tends to happen with Canadian movies. Now, there are two exceptions in Margot Kidder and John Saxon. Those two were the most recognizable faces in the movie, and they both delivered the most entertaining performances.
The characters in this movie are a little bit flat, but honestly, its what you want and expect from a slasher movie, and everyone is charming enough to at least be likable.
The movie is disturbing. The obscene phone calls the girls get during the movie made my skin crawl, the kills are great, and the movie has such a great atmosphere. Setting it against Christmas really works, and overall the movie just works on a great level.
With the sheer number of slasher movies that have come out since this was released, watching it now it may seem like old hat but honestly I recommend this movie. It has aged extremely well, and has just enough dark (and not so dark) comedy, and genuinely creepy moments that it’s worth it for any horror-fan out there.
Not only should this be on your list of classic horror movies, but its definitely on my list of classic Christmas movies…as weird as that is.
Final Grade : B