Skip to main content

 photo Black_christmas_movie_poster_zps24a622ea.jpg

            Christmas has always had a freely acknowledged dark side.  Though for most, it is a time of togetherness and joy, for many it is a time of great loneliness and depression.  When our holiday entertainments touch on this, it is usually in a comedic context.  When it is not, it cruelly puts the burden on the depressed - as if they just don’t “get” the season.  Either way, sometimes we just need to retreat from all of the holiday cheer and get a little dark.  In 1974, a Canadian film was released that not only brought a little darkness to the most jolly of holidays, but also introduced a new sub-genre into the world of Horror.  For the cynic in us that sometimes can not bear the holiday season, I give you the Horror classic BLACK CHRISTMAS.

More below!

             Directed by Bob Clark (who would go on to give us A CHRISTMAS STORY), BLACK CHRISTMAS tells the story of  a group of sorority sisters who are terrorized by a serial killer over Christmas break.  The killer taunts his victims over the phone and slowly reveals the awful source of his derangement.  One by one the students are picked off until one of them, Jess (Olivia Hussey) finally confronts the killer - or does she?

    Though screenwriter A. Roy Moore always maintained that the plot of the film was inspired by a true series of Christmastime killings that happened in Quebec, the bulk of the story is  inspired by the urban legend commonly known as “The Babysitter and the Man Upstairs”.  The legend, in a nutshell, is a babysitter receives a series of menacing calls that tell her to go upstairs and check on the children.  She calls the police who trace the call when the stranger calls again.  The police then call back and tell her to get out of the house because the call is coming from a second line upstairs.  The killer reveals himself just as the babysitter gets away, and it turns out that he had murdered the children and was lying in wait to kill her once she checked on the kids.

 photo bag_zpsa412d2ec.jpg

    BLACK CHRISTMAS takes this basic idea and runs with it.  The killer on the phone is an utterly deranged, psychotic character that is as haunting as he is horrifying.  The cat and mouse game than he engages in as he stalks his victims is a tense, frightening affair that keeps you guessing at all times.  Bob Clark approaches the Horror in a measured, deliberate pace and the cast - including Margot Kidder, Keir Dullea and John Saxon - turn in excellent performances.  The result is a classic Horror experience.

    Indeed, BLACK CHRISTMAS is so effective that it is often credited for creating the “slasher film” sub-genre of Horror.  It is a credit that is not without merit, as there had never been a Horror movie quite like it before.  It is also a strangely cathartic film to watch during the holidays.   BLACK CHRISTMAS supplies a nice antidote to those of us who sometimes find the season to be a little too much.

 

 photo phone_zpsa640c349.png
   

BLACK CHRISTMAS fun facts - The original title of the film was “Stop me“.

Composer Carl Zittrer created the other-worldly piano sound by tying silverware to the piano strings

Olivia Hussy almost didn‘t take the role of Jess.  She was convinced when a psychic told her that the film would be a big boost to her career.

 photo house_zps9e6521ea.jpg

The Killer - Little baby bunting/ Daddy‘s went a-hunting/ Gonna fetch a rabbit to skin/ to wrap his baby Agnes in.

The Killer - Filthy Billy!  I know what you did, nasty Billy!.

Sergeant Nash - I know, the address is something dirty, isn’t it?

Poll

Horror and Christmas?

50%2 votes
25%1 votes
25%1 votes

| 4 votes | Vote | Results

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Ok this film is really under rated. (0+ / 0-)

    It is a classic early slasher film, before the genre became silly exploitation.

    I bought this film when I saw it on DVD because of the actors.  I fell in love with Olivia Hussey as Juliet when I watched Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet in high school English class, and had never seen her in any other films.

    I had never seen Keir Dullea either after 2001, and I think this was Margot Kidder's first film a few years before she was cast as Lois Lane in Superman.

    While it works as a scary slasher film, it is not dumbed down.  The conversation that Olivia Hussey has with Keir Dullea about getting an abortion, and his reaction is truly creepy in subtle way.  

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site