Tuesday, August 11, 2009

#83 - Black Christmas

Black Christmas (1974)
Extremely Trashy

Directed by: Bob Clark. Written by: Roy Moore.

Plot: Attractive young women are stalked and slashed by a total psycho living in the attic of the sorority house. Egads. Who could the killer be and what does he want? Remember, this was made before Halloween.

Review: This movie is essentially the same as Halloween only without Donald Pleasance (instead there’s Marian Waldman as the alcoholic house mother and John Saxon as John Saxon. Together they kind of come close). And with Olivia Hussey instead of Jamie Lee Curtis. And made in Ontario instead of California or wherever.

And, in my opinion, the enigmatic ‘Billy’ is way scarier than Michael Myers. For one thing, we never really see him properly. The filmmakers handle this in such a way that it does not become annoying. In Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, for example (I like to use that movie as an example because it sucked), we never see Leatherface clearly but that becomes obnoxious after a short period of time. Most of the scenes featuring Billy are shot from his point of view, a technique used in Halloween (although not quite as effectively as in this movie). Billy also has a sort of anonymity. We never really learn who he is or what he wants and they never made a crappy sequel where it turned out that Billy is actually Olivia Hussey’s brother or some dumb shit.

Although the fact that they never made a sequel is probably an indication that this movie didn’t do very well. They did get a remake out of it though. Terror Train didn’t get a remake. No, wait, scratch that, apparently a Terror Train remake is in the works. Fuck, is nothing sacred in this world?

Moving on. The other thing which makes Billy way scarier than Michael Myers is the whole phone-call thing. The killer-calling-from-within-the-house theme, which has become something of a slasher movie cliché, was apparently first used in this film, and it’s really fucked up. I don’t know why, but it really bothered me for some reason. Everything Billy says is really scary.

I was on the bus this one time, sitting way at the back, and saw some friends of mine get on at the front. They didn’t see me sitting way back there, so I just stayed put, biding my time until the bus got to Scotia Square and stopped for a while at which point I got up, snuck up behind them and said, “Hey Agnes, it’s me Billy!” I like to think I freaked them out. Yes, this movie is good for lots of stuff…

Anyway, it's very creepy and a great "stalk'n'slash" flick. And it's fucking Canadian. Our tax dollars went into this. We should all be very, very proud (granted, I wasn't alive at the time and I don't have a job so I don't pay taxes anyway, but dammit, I'm still proud of my country).

Favourite Part: The phone calls, disturbing as they were. They freaked me out the most. I mean, it's really twisted shit. And he's like, making pig sounds and stuff. It's really nasty.

Other versions: Remade a couple of years ago. I managed to miss that one.

Sequels: None.

Click here to read my original review (December 17th, 2006).

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