BLACK CHRISTMAS- ThE iMmOrTaL cLaSsIc (Spoilers)..... A review and discussion thread

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Justin_S, Aug 1, 2002.

  1. Justin_S

    Justin_S Producer

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    In 1974, director Bob Clark made one of the scariest films ever made. That film was the masterpiece that is BLACK CHRISTMAS. This classic was one of the earlier slasher films, even predating HALLOWEEN. There is no doubt in my mind that BLACK CHRISTMAS is the best slasher film ever made!

    In a small Canadian town, an all-girls sorority house is having a party on Christmas night. The sorority, Pi Kappa Sig, has a huge house with two regular floors, and a large attic. Outside of the house, a stranger whose face we do not see is prowling, and climbs up a trellis and through a window into the house's attic. In this scene, we are seeing from the stranger's point of view, and the shakiness in the camera when we see from his angle is perhaps to suggest the unsteady state of mind this stranger is in.

    Meanwhile, the party is still going on downstairs. A bit later, the phone rings, and Jess (Olivia Hussey) answers it. The caller moans and makes some extremely weird sounds, and Jess calls the other girls. The constantly cussing Barb takes the phone, and taunts the caller until he finally say that he is going to kill her, and hangs up. Clare Harrison says that it isn't smart to provoke someone like that, and Barb angers her and she goes up stairs to pack for her meeting and leaving with her father tomorrow.

    Upstairs, she hears a cat meowing in her closet. She goes to look, and as she gets closer, she realizes that there is a person in their making the noise. Before she can react, the person covers her face with plastic, suffocating her. The scare factor of Clare's death strikes you moreso from the madness you hear in the killer's voice as he suffocates her. You can't help but think is this some sort of monster or something, but no, its just a psycho that has wandered in off the street. He then carries her body up to the attic, where he has some fun with it in a rocking chair.

    The next day, when she doesn't meet her father, he goes to the sorority house to investigate. And so the story has begun... There are several other characters that I haven't yet mentioned. Peter is Jess's alienated boyfriend who is angry that she is going to abort his and her baby. The cool John Saxon plays police Lieutenant Fuller who is trying to find the killer. Police Seargent Nash is a hilariously funny cop, whose incompetence is a riot. Phyl is another girl in the sorority, and the alchohol drinking Ms. Mac is the sorority house mother. There is also Clare's boyfriend, among other smaller characters.

    The film is full of gut wrenching suspense, and has immensely foreboding atmosphere out the wazoo. Also, the killer's maniacal phone calls are easily some of the freakiest things I've ever heard! The characters are all portrayed well, and the eerie score fits the film perfectly.This film is definately a classic of the horror genre. It is what horror is all about.

    The ending is absolutely wonderful, having Jess alone in the house with the psycho, and hiding in the basement. Peter, who she has come to suspect is the killer, breaks into the basement to see what the hell she is doing. In a frenzy, Jess kills Peter just as the cops arrive. Later, Clare's dad goes into shock, and everybody leaves Jess in bed to get him to the hospital. Only a gaurd outside remains. Then we see that the killer is still alive and going about his insane rantings in the attic. We never see his face throughout the whole film, and that makes it all the more scarier. The final shot is of the house, and then we hear the phone ringing, and then the end credits.

    This film is nothing short of a total masterpiece! It is one of the most perfect horror films I've ever seen. Kudos to Bob Clark for creating such a classic. This is as good as horror gets in my opinion, and anyone who hasn't seen this should immediately!On a scale of 1 to 5, I give this classic a solid 5 easily. This film is truly deserving of its place in my top 5 favorite films of all time!
     
  2. Mitty

    Mitty Supporting Actor

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  3. Justin_S

    Justin_S Producer

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    Yeah, Toronto ain't a small town, but I can tell in the film that they pretend they are in a small town. There are a bunch of little things that make it seem like they want it to be a small town for the story. Just rewatch it and you'll hopefully see what I'm trying to get at. [​IMG]
     
  4. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    As many cliches as this movie had, the one of many cool things about it is that the police actually take the people seriously in this movie, rather than take the dismissive cops genre convention that most horror movies seem to have.
    Oh yeah, Olivia Hussey is hot. [​IMG]
     
  5. John Watson

    John Watson Screenwriter

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    I actually saw that in a theatre, strange because I hardly ever watch that type of movie...
    BTW, what's the definition of a spoiler?[​IMG]
     
  6. Ross Williams

    Ross Williams Supporting Actor

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    I watched this a few years ago for the first time, and really liked it. I'm surprised it's not much more highly regarded, especially considering it came out before Halloween.

     
  7. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    This is a great movie, one of the scariest I've seen, with an excellent ending. I too am surprised it never seemed to have gotten past cult status into the mainstream, like "Halloween" did. I think it's better than "Halloween", fpr the record.

    /Mike
     
  8. Herm C

    Herm C Stunt Coordinator

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    Good to see BC getting the appreciation that it justly deserves. It is one of my favorites.
     
  9. Justin_S

    Justin_S Producer

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    I agree with Ross. I don't think they were cliches when this classic was made, because it was one of the earliest slashers.
    I agree with Micke as well. I like BLACK CHRISTMAS much more than HALLOWEEN (although I love that Carpenter classic). Hell, its one of my top 5 favorite films of all time! That should tell you something. [​IMG]
    Glad to see others on this board that treasure this masterpiece! Hope you liked my review.
     
  10. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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  11. John Watson

    John Watson Screenwriter

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    I believe I've seen that the DVD of this film is Full Screen (4:3). Does anyone know if this is the case, and what was the OAR. Thanks[​IMG]
     
  12. Justin_S

    Justin_S Producer

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    I own the DVD (of course!), and yes, it is fullframe, but it was shot that way. There is a laserdisc that has the film in widescreen, but it is matted, and cuts off picture seeing how it was filmed fullframe. Since this classic was shot fullframe, the disc is fine with me. I wouldn't mind being able to check out a matted version though, just to see how the film would look.

    On another note, seeing how this is one of my top 5 favorite films of all time, I would be greatly pleased if a SE were to come out, and luckily, one has been rumored.
     
  13. rhett

    rhett Supporting Actor

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    I reviewed Black Christmas over at Horrordvds.com, and my review can be seen here.
    I have questions regarding the 4:3 ratio. As stated in the Image Quality portion, there is a scene where the boom mic is plainly visible. In the matted version of the film that goof is removed, which leads me to believe it was shot to be displayed in 1.85:1. Seeing as this film definitely went theatrical, there is no doubt that for those who saw the film in theaters that it was matted, so like Evil Dead, although many like the full frame print, the intended ratio was 1.85:1.
    As far as the film goes, it is a definite classic. It is surprising that the film has not developed much of a cult status over the years. In comparison with Halloween, I think the killer is definitely scarier (easily the scariest villain ever captured on film), but the film itself is not quite as good as John Carpenter's classic. Halloween had much more identifiable and interesting characters, and the pacing was quicker. The cinematography was flawless in Halloween as well, and I find the scope ratio works much better than 4:3 for slasher films.
    Still though, I highly recommend this gem. The telephone scenes and the scenes in the attic with the killer himself are so unsettling and frightening that they are bound to give anyone the creeps.
    The movie also works as a great alternative to the traditional Christmas fare like It's A Wonderful Life and White Christmas, too! [​IMG]
     
  14. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    I'm going to have to order this one online I guess, nobody in my area seems to have it! Somebody mentioned this film in my Halloween thread and I must say that i'm intrigued, I want to see what all the fuss is about. [​IMG]
    I'm somewhat disappointed in myself that this one got under my radar! I pride myself on staying on top of horror of this caliber.
     
  15. rhett

    rhett Supporting Actor

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    Just to let you guys know, a Black Christmas Special Edition is in development over at Critical Mass. They are working up on bettering all the elements of their previous release, complete with a commentary by John Saxon, unused telephone call footage and much more.
    If you can find a VHS for rent John it might be better to go with that, because of the VHS incarnations I have seen of the film, all of them have been open matte. The SE should be coming out around October of 2003.
     
  16. Justin_S

    Justin_S Producer

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    Well, there is no bigger fan of this brilliant classic than me, and this masterpiece gets a traditional viewing from me about once every two weeks, but that should surprise no one. Even though it is a Christmas horror film, it is a perfect film for Halloween viewing. Anyway, I'm resurrecting this thread so that maybe more people will check out this masterpiece, because this spectacular film deserves to be better seen!

    Also, even though I own the current DVD, I am desperately awaiting the in the works SE of this classic, and when I get it, it will be like getting a holy grail!
     
  17. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    See, here's my problem. Between the ages of 14 and 20, I saw Black Christmas, Silent Night, Bloody Night, Don't Open 'Til Christmas, and the first three Silent Night, Deadly Nights. Logically, my memories of yuletide-related horror are a big blur.
    Solution: Black Christmas has now been bumped up on my Netflix list - so I can see it in time for the Halloween Challenge. [​IMG]
     
  18. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    I saw it, on the recommendation of this thread, last week...and I wasn't disappointed. I still think Halloween pulls off the subject matter more efficiently, but Black Christmas is one hell of a film.
     
  19. Justin_S

    Justin_S Producer

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    DVD Maniacs got some news on the upcoming SE straight from Critical Mass, and here it is!
    NEW SPECIAL FEATURES:
    • DIGITALLY MASTERED AUDIO AND VIDEO
    • AUDIO: ENGLISH DOLBY DIGITAL 2.0, MONO, FRENCH MONO
    • “BLACK CHRISTMAS REVISITED” ALL NEW DOCUMENTARY INCLUDING NEW INTERVIEWS
    • 2 COMMENTARY TRACKS:
    DIRECTOR – BOB CLARK
    ACTORS – JOHN SAXON, KEIR DULLEA
    • SPECIAL FEATURE GALLERY INCLUDING:
    ORIGINAL ENGLISH AND FRENCH TRAILERS
    ORIGINAL TV AND RADIO SPOTS
    ALTERNATIVE TITLE SEQUENCES
    PICTURE AND POSTER GALLERY
    • DARK DREAMERS INTERVIEW W/JOHN SAXON
    • REVERSIBLE COVER INCLUDES ORIGINAL 1974
    The Saxon interview is the complete version of the one originally featured on the original DVD. This DVD is going to be streeting on December 3rd, and should make for the perfect stocking stuffer!
    I don't know about anyone else,but this is some of the most spectacular news I've ever heard! Its about damn time this utter masterpiece got the wonderful treatment it deserves! A big THANK YOU to Critical Mass!
     
  20. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    I'll being getting this one definitely.
     

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