Movie: "Black Christmas"
Year: 1974
Rated: R
Genre: Horror
Directed by: Bob Clark
Writing credits: Roy Moore

Reviewer: Dr. Boogie
Posted: 12/9/2009

Plot: Winter break is about to begin when the girls of an unnamed sorority house receive a series of obscene phone calls. At first, they are merely an annoyance, but as the calls grow more disturbing in nature, and as the girls start disappearing one by one, the girls start thinking that the caller might be interested in more than just prank phone calls.

Review: If youíve only seen the remake, you probably arenít expecting much from the original. Certainly the 2006 version of Black Christmas was crap, but the original... well, it was less crap.

Earlier works of horror like The Exorcist terrified audiences when it first came out. Over the years, however, films like it have lost some of their scariness as newer films by different directors have emerged. At least, thatís the explanation Iím sticking with for why Black Christmas didnít seem all that scary to me. The idea of the killer calling up the sorority girls and giving them menacing, obscene phone calls was definitely creepy, but all told, the film as a whole came across that way: more creepy than scary.

The most striking part of the whole movie, though, was the police department. Early in the film, Margot Kidderís character convinces one of the officers that the phone number for the sorority house is ďfellatioĒ. And he writes it down. Later, Saxon and another cop laugh at him, but it turns out that they werenít any smarter. I donít want to spoil the movie for anyone who hasnít seen it yet, but the gist of it is that Saxonís character is told a very important piece of information about the sorority house early in the film, but fails to remember it, even in the face of a rising body count. When he finally does remember, the movie treats this like any other horrifying revelation, even though the audience has known about it for just as long as he has.

And so I thought that there were only two incompetent cops working the campus beat in Black Christmas. Not so. The movie ends with the cops committing an act of such baffling incompetence that you start to wonder if it wasnít the writer trying to squeeze a twist ending out of the story after writing himself into a corner. There was a certain degree of tension in the movie as you waited for more coeds to be picked off, but it was ruined as soon as they asked the audience to believe that an entire department of police officers could be so, so stupid.

For me, it was strange enough to know that the movie was directed by Bob Clark, the same man who directed the equally-memorable (though for very different reasons) ďA Christmas StoryĒ. That bit of information lent an air of comedy to the already laughable Black Christmas. I can only assume the movie was much scarier when it first debuted in theaters, but seeing it for the first time last year, it just seemed cheesy. Even so, let me say once more that youíre still better off seeing this version of Black Christmas than the modern one.

Overall rating: WholeWholeWhole
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Forum Virgin
Dec 9th, 2009, 10:21 AM
"Creepy" is definitely the perfect word. I didn't see the movie until (relatively) recently - about 10 years ago. However, the iconic scene of the rocking chair in the attic I thought to be fairly disturbing. No real reason other than it was fucking "creepy".
Forum Virgin
Dec 9th, 2009, 01:00 PM
I don't know, what's wrong with creepy? I think its more of a challenge to really successfully pull off creepy (than just a bunch of jump scares). Personally Black Christmas is one of my favorite movies of all time. And how can you review Black Christmas without talking about how fantastic Margot Kidder is in the movie???!!!!????!!! She's just friggin hilarious! Id' have given it, at the least another pickle, just for Kidder's performance alone!
the axe and the smasher
Dec 9th, 2009, 01:25 PM
Yeah, I liked this one much better than the remake. It just had a better vibe and general flow to it. Somethings just cant be remade correctly.
Pickled Patriarch
Dec 9th, 2009, 03:52 PM
The original is definitely a classic and easily ranks right up there with the most entertaining Christmas horror flicks. That said, I didn't mind the remake as much as most people did... but I can see why people hated it. The remake was more of a campy horror film that made fun of itself, and you can tell the creators had fun doing it, whereas the original was a true horror film that was indeed "creepy" at times as many people have said.
Dec 9th, 2009, 03:52 PM
Well, it's not a surprise to know that recent remakes of relatively successful films are nothing worth to be seen. I don't think that this movie was to be spared from that destiny.
Forum Virgin
Dec 9th, 2009, 04:15 PM
I have to agree with you, the remake wasn't that bad. I laughed the entire way through (much to the chagrin of my boyfriend and the audience at the theater...). I think too many people took it as a serious remake and didn't get that it was a joke (after all, how could you justify a serious remake of a really good movie anyways, when people try...as in...The Haunting...they fail miserably) and they just dismissed it as nothing but drivel. But I have only recently re-watched the remake, and I have to say, its rather forgetable and uninteresting. Probably the only really clever bits in the entire movie are Andrea Martin's portrayal of Mrs. Mack, the house mother, the flashbacks to Billy's past, and the reference to the original crystal unicorn stabbing...
the axe and the smasher
Dec 9th, 2009, 07:29 PM
Oh I understand what the remake was trying for. I just vastly prefer the original, something about the older slashers just cant be replicated.
Forum Virgin
Dec 10th, 2009, 06:07 AM
I didn't care much for the remake, and I think I know why. They tried too hard to give Billy a back story of why he was evil. The whole reason that the original was creepy was because you didn't really know why he was doing it. The same thing happened in Halloween and Friday the 13th. Sometimes a monster is evil just because.
Dec 11th, 2009, 03:00 AM
I don't really care for either of the films.