Black Christmas Vs. Black Xmas
Battle of the holiday sorority slasher
Oh remakes...you have honestly touched every single classic us audiences for the most part love and know. Some have been amazing, some have been just plain bad, and some...downright awful.
I'm not one to stand on my soap box yet again and go off on my true feelings about remakes, but for the most part they sadly don't live up to what made their original so classic. Fine case in point...Bob Clark's Black Christmas. The creepy tale of a unseen killer who breaks into a sorority house just a few days before Christmas. Hiding out in the attic, he begins to creep down whenever he pleased, picking off the lovely co-eds one by one. In my eyes this movie is one of the scariest out there. First of all it's what truly in my eyes started the whole slasher and holiday boom that hit full swing in the early to mid 1980's. The simple plot twist, atmosphere, and unsettling moments made it the classic it was. I find it amazing that Bob Clark of A Christmas Story fame originally made one of the scariest movies set during what's supposed to be the happiest time of the year.
I think what makes Black Christmas such a scary movie has to be the fact that this could really happen. That the killer could honestly be anyone and who can forget the haunting ending where the telephone rings and echos in what you believe is the empty house.
And of course the phone calls. I love the fact that Bob Clark never revealed the back story to the killer letting the audience make up in their own minds what was behind that terrifying high pitch screaming voice.
Crystal unicorns and wardrobe bags will never look the same again.
Then...in 2006 the remake train decided to stop see what Billy had been up to all these years.
First off the movie was produced and had full blessing by Bob Clark himself. So I guess that's something. Second, the director Glen Morgan who was the writer behind Millennium, The Others, Final Destination 3, and Willard was directing. Morgan had directed Willard a few years earlier which was another remake of a 1970's classic and I really dug it. (Then again Crispin Glover was in it so how can you go wrong?) And lastly they decided to bring back Andrea Martin who was one of the original girls from the first Black Christmas to now play the house mother. It all seemed like all the right elements behind a wonderful idea.
Sadly...I was disappointed.
Going into theaters back in 2006, I was pretty excited. First off there was a pretty impressive cast of up and coming girls who seemed to be perfect to play all the co-eds who would be brutally murdered. Second I heard a large amount of the kills would be done in practical effects. But, within just fifteen minuets I felt disappointment begin to slowly creep over me.
I hate to day this but most of these girls were completely unlikeable. Unlike the original I really couldn't tell half of them apart. They tried so hard to capture the magic of the original even trying to make a Margot Kidder character. Instead all they got were a bunch of stuck up little bitches who I honestly couldn't care less about.
They took all the serious elements of the first (abortion, ect) and sorta turned it into a tongue n cheek black comedy. Not that anything was wrong with that and I understand they didn't want to make it a shot by shot carbon copy of the original. Still, things just didn't seem right. Even the kills were a little lack luster. I did enjoy the homages to the original. These little nods made the film watchable. I like the setting, and the film itself was shot very well. I liked the sleek colorful shots, and the updated look they gave the new house.
One thing I'm sorta torn on is the back story behind Billy. Now I did find certain elements well done with this. It was interesting to see what really happened all those years ago and how the house the girls are in was originals his home. Gotta admit, that whole incest thing took me by surprise and finally revealing who and what happened to Agnes. Still...ehhh I find things a little bit scarier not knowing really what happened. Your own imagination can really made some of the scariest stuff out there, so as cool as it was to see some light shinned on the killer, I still prefer the original's take on it.
Also the whole yellow skin thing? Jesus that was awful...like my old roommate said before I felt like I was watching a movie about Bart and Lisa Simpson crawling through the walls killing people. Awful...just plain awful.
The ending also could have ended several different places and I found all this buildup was for nothing. The characters made extremely dumb choices, and in my eyes deserved what they got. It just seemed like a movie that should have had so much promise, yet just didn't deliver.
Also one more thing to bitch about. How awful was the phone voices that they used? The original creeps me out very time, this one...”Your my Christmas cookie and I'm going to gobble you up!” Horrible.
Yeah the movie had it's moments. I loved the “Fuck you Santa Clause” line. The dragging under the porch kill, and of course Heather's reaction to the ice scraper. Besides that...ehh just another remake that fell flat to it's original.
I mean who didn't freak the fuck out the first time they watched the original and the killer grab's Jess' hair and pulls her backwards. That was back when horror was horror and as much as I hate to say this...less was much much more.
So in the end I'm going to have to say our winner is the original Black Christmas hands down.