What makes Black Christmas so awesome?
It's nearing the holidays, and Christmas is almost upon us. For most horror fans out there, watching the original Black Christmas is a staple when it comes to this time of year. Today I decided to take a look back on why exactly this movie is so awesome and still stands the test of time.
1) It's "technically" the reason Halloween came to be
Yep that's right. In all manners speaking, Halloween is technically a sequel. In the mid 70's, producers felt that Black Christmas was left open for a sequel that could better explain and go further into some back story and history on the unseen killer. With an open and very creepy ending to Black Christmas ideas were tossed around for some time in which at one point it's rumored that the killer should return to his home town around Halloween and start picking off young women that were home alone that night. A few years passed and in the end John Carpenter stepped up the plate and ended up making his own movie by the same title. It has never been confirmed if this rumor was true, but sadly a sequel was never made to Black Christmas, just a real tongue in cheek remake in 2006.
I'll admit, few movies scare me now, in fact no movie has really left such a lasting impression on me or gives me the creeps like Black Christmas did. In fact this is seriously one of the few movies I can't watch in the dark alone in my house, any other movie no problem at all...but this one just plain bothers me. I think it's a known thing that my biggest fear is home invasion, I've read many books based off Ted Bundy, and the fact this was one of his favorite movies seriously scares me. To think he went on to murder three girls in that sorority house still makes me wonder if this film inspired him? Still, the idea that the killer could be anyone, the boyfriend, an escaped mental patient, a homeless person, or even somebody who lived in that house very long ago...the fact the audience never really finds this out is beyond unsettling. The phone calls, the different voices, the murders, the killer's shadow lurking around, the P.O.V shots, and the fact he's calling from inside the house...holy fucking shit. The worst is of course the most famous scene in which poor Jess opens up Barb's bedroom door only to see her friend's bodies on the bed, and when she looks up she sees the killer's eye staring down at her. I still feel those forty or so seconds from that moment until Jess slams the door, running down the stairs and having the killer grab her by the hair...beyond unsettling. I wish films could take notes on this movie, this is horror at it's best.
3) Mrs. Mac
You really gotta love Bob Clark's humor he added to this very dark movie. I think that's a huge reason behind the charm. Mrs. Mac, the house mother is my second favorite character in the entire movie. With hidden bottles of booze everywhere in the house, she walks around like a total boss, and calls her cat a little prick. What's not to love?
4) Bob Clark directed it
Bob Clark, God rest his soul back in the day was a pretty awesome director. With such titles as Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things, and later on Porky's, he was known for his humor let it be light or dark. Believe it or not, Clark later on directed another huge holiday classic in the form of A Christmas Story. I still can't seem to watch this movie without thinking about how much this man made me want to piss my pants by watching Black Christmas.
Oh Margo, back in the 70's, long before the mental breakdown you could do no wrong. Believe it or not I like her better in this movie than The Amityville Horror. Barb owned in this movie, chain smoking, booze guzzler, trash talker, who cracks open a beer at the police station, reads Playboy dunning dinner, and has one of the best deaths in the entire movie. I had the pleasure of meeting Margo a few HorrorHounds ago and had her sign my VHS tape in which she told me "I don't remember much about this movie, besides getting killed with a crystal unicorn." = Classic.
7) It has one of the most beautifully shot deaths in horror history.
I remember taking a film class a few years ago, and we had to pick one scene from a movie and pick apart it's use of color, sound effects, and music. This was a group project and I remember really trying hard to get the girl I was working with to agree on picking Barb's death from this movie. Instead we settled on the chainsaw scene from Evil Dead II. Was I thrilled? No? Am I a huge Sam Raimi fan? Of course...was I the only one in the group that got an A? Yep. Still, if I ever do have my dream of teaching a film class, I would love to pick apart this movie. everything about it is visualy stunning, and eye catching.
8) Killer fashion is shown
All right, I understand it was the 70's, but some of these clothes seriously makes me die laughing. The best is Jess' hands sweater. It takes the whole ugly Christmas sweater to a whole new level.
9) The ending is left open ended...
Nothing says creepy than leaving the lead character sedated and alone in the dark house where all the murders took place with one lone officer standing outside. Loved the camera work in this scene, how it pans to all the empty bedrooms and finally up to the attic where the bodies are, a light goes on, and we hear the killer's voice again as the phone starts to ring. Beyond unsetting.
10) It's a horror classic!
Like I said, you seriously can't meet one horror fan that doesn't watch this movie this month. It's a classic that still stands the test of time. Much like Silent Night Deadly Night, this is a must that everyone enjoys watching after drinking one too many egg nogs.