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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Black Christmas

     I had never experienced "Black Christmas", starring Olivia Hussey and the divine Margot Kidder, until a few years ago.  And I must say I was astonished I had never seen this amazing shocker before.  Bob Clark (director of "Porky's" and "A Christmas Story") made one of the most atmospheric, scariest movies I've ever seen.  This movie has a truly sinister and spooky atmosphere it establishes right off the bat, and never lets it go for a second.  A precursor to "Halloween" by about 4 years, "Black Christmas" establishes the classic slasher formula and does it perfectly. 

      Here's the plot.  A group of girls are left alone at their sorority house over Christmas break.  For whatever reason a maniac sneaks into the house through the attic.  When he's not killing, he terrorizes the girls with some truly disturbing phone calls (early traces of "When A Stranger Calls" and "Scream"). They are so twisted and scary, you will never forget his variety of voices, grunts, and shrieks.  

        Released and forgotten at first, it's now widely considered a cult classic- only after NBC cancelled a prime-time airing of the film because it was considered "too scary" for network television.  Which of course caused many horror fans to go back and  "re-discover" it.  And boy, is there lots to discover!  Some super scary scenes abound- the very first murder scene is absolutely horrifying.  It's a great, frightening scene that scares.  Another genuinely frightening thing about this movie- the killer is killing  just to kill.  There's no rhyme or reason to his madness.  He's not back for revenge.  He's simply doing for his own insane reasons.  He just happens to see this lonely and quiet sorority house and slips inside...

     Everything is perfect about this Canadian chiller.  Everything.  The incredible atmosphere for one- the quiet, dark, winter nights, the silent, snow-covered streets, even the use of Christmas carols- all used to great, haunting effect here.  Bob Clark perfectly manages to create a sinister and spooky Christmas atmosphere. This is plain old-fashioned horror.  Nothing more, nothing less. And I love everything about it.

  I love Margot Kidder and her character.  I love the fact that we never see the killer's face or know his identity.  I love the fact that Bob Clark also directed "A Christmas Story" and "Porky's".  I love the look of the sorority house.  I love the fact that the director does not pander to the audience. I love the simplicity of this movie- all the events are somewhat grounded in reality- supposedly this movie is based on a real-life string of murders in Montreal that happened around Christmastime.  Yes, so much to love in "Black Christmas".

             There's not much in the way of gore, but it doesn't matter.  The murder sequences are so disturbing, they simply don't need it.  And I can't get enough of those twisted phone calls!   This movie definitely gets under your skin.  As far as I'm concerned, it stands on one side of "Halloween" and "Friday the 13th" on the other as the three top slashers of all time- anyone care to argue that?  I could go on and on about how fantastic I think "Black Christmas" is... or you could watch it yourself .  I dare you to watch this movie alone on a lonely, snowy night and not come down with a serious case of the creeps.  In my eyes it's one of the best and scariest to come out of the 70's- it's really that good.  Another victim of a wretched remake...              

1 comment:

QV4 said...

muy buen blog !!!! saludos desde argentina

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