DVD Review: Black Christmas (1974)
Black Christmas (1974)
Studio: Somerville House
DVD Release Date: December 5, 2006
Directed By: Bob Clark
Cast: Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, John Saxon, Art Hindle
Brutal As Hell Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Review By: Annie Riordan
So, how many of you Bob Clark fans are going to spend Christmas watching TNT’s 24 hour Christmas Story marathon? I will be. It just ain’t Christmas without Ralphie and his official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle!
But how many of you have seen Bob Clark’s first ode to the holiday season: the dark and bloody 1974 slasher Black Christmas? Oh hell yeah, the late great Bobby was making sublime and serious horror movies (Deathdream, Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things) long before the yellow-eyed Scut Farkus donned his coonskin cap. And this gem, sadly lost in the giant wave of slashers which followed in the late 70s, is one of his best.
It’s a snowy, blowy Christmas Eve on the campus of an elite private school, and the sorority girls are settling into their house for the holiday. But their good cheer is rudely interrupted by a series of disturbing phone calls which bring new meaning to the word “obscene.” The girls are understandably freaked out, but no one is really worried….until one by one the sorority sisters begin to disappear. As the body count rises and the phone calls intensify, young and newly pregnant Jessie believes that her unstable boyfriend might be behind the crimes. Or could it be someone closer to home?
Do not – I repeat, DO NOT – for any reason whatsoever, watch the nauseatingly insulting 2006 in-name-only remake, which all but rapes Bob Clark’s corpse right up the ass. The original ’74 flick still stands strong all on its own. It’s dark and spooky, suitably gory and funny as hell, boasting a witty script full of adult humor. The cast is top notch B list, led by pretty Olivia “Juliet” Hussey as our resourceful heroine. Margot Kidder just about steals the whole movie as the drunken, foul-mouthed Barbie Coard and Keir Dullea (2001) somehow manages to be even creepier and colder than Dave Bowman as suspect boyfriend Peter. And John Saxon as a cop? Come on, how could it get any better?
But the real star of this movie are those obscene phone calls. Holy SHIT! They’re absolutely hair-raising, bone-chilling, goosebump-producing NASTY! I’ve seen this movie at least two dozen times and, without fail, my stomach drops down into my shoes every time that fucking phone rings. Those phone calls are the film’s real villain, and went on to inspire the 1979 classic When a Stranger Calls.
I have yet to see a better Christmas horror movie than this one. If you haven’t seen it yet, you are missing out BIG time, and I hope that three ghosts show up at your house on Christmas Eve and beat you senseless with a clamshell VHS copy of Silent Deadly Night 2 for your oversight. Get up off your fruitcake-stuffed ass and rent this already!