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Black Christmas (1974) Review

My History With the Film:
People tend to credit Halloween with starting the whole slasher craze in the 70’s, but Black Christmas was a slasher film that was released a few years before Halloween. Watching the film it’s easy to see that it inspired Halloween on some levels.

My history with Black Christmas has been limited to just knowing that little tidbit of history. I’d never seen the movie and it wasn’t at the top of my list of films to check out. However, on Christmas Eve 2017 I was browsing Shudder and I noticed that the original Black Christmas was streaming so I decided to knock that film off my horror bucket list.

What The Film Is About (Non-Spoiler):
During Christmas break, a group of sorority girls are tormented by a killer who likes to call his victims.

What I Liked About It:
-Though dated, this movie is incredibly well shot and the use of the first person perspective is brilliant.

-I love the calls that come to the house; they are creepy and so realistic that it’s disturbing to hear them.

-The casting was well done with Margot Kidder really stealing the show. Her foul mouth was shocking to hear and I think it helped give the film an edge I wasn’t expecting.

-There is a scene taken straight from a popular urban legend that works tremendously. It’s effective and really strikes fear in your heart.

-The kills aren’t overly graphic (I dare say Margot Kidder’s mouth is more graphic than the kills) but I like that. Similar to Halloween, much is left to the imagination and I know what lurks in my mind is way worse than what they would have shown in the film. It allows for an element of not being in control during the film and it’s very effective.

What I Didn’t Like About It:
-I tend to struggle with a lot of films pre-1975 and this one is included in that group. It’s not that it’s a horrible film, it’s just some of the pacing is a little slow for my liking and I would have preferred to see a cleaned up print. The transfer streaming on Shudder was pretty bad.

-Some of the supporting cast were questionable in their acting ability.

Additional Notes:
-The original title for the film was “Stop Me.”

-On January 28th, 1978, NBC scheduled to show Black Christmas on prime-time under the title “Stranger in the House.” However, on January 15th, two female students were murdered at Florida State and three other women in the area were attacked and assaulted. NBC received pleas to pull the movie and they did until later in the year. Ted Bundy was later identified as the murderer and attacker of the before mentioned women.

-There is a legend that Black Christmas was Elvis’ favorite horror film and he’d watch it every Christmas until his death in 1977.

-Andrea Martin was the only cast member to return for the 2006 remake.

-The film was inspired by real-life murders that took place in Montreal, Quebec.

Black Christmas was a good film. It kept me entertained the entire time despite some pacing issues. I knew going in that the early 70’s films are not my favorite, but I left entertained and am glad I saw Black Christmas. I hope to watch the 2006 remake in the near future.

I’d rate Black Christmas a three out of five stars and say it’s a rental for slasher fans.

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