6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2005
To anyone who is a fan of the horror genre from any decade, Black Christmas is a must see. Unlike other horror/suspence movies such as Seven or Jaws, both of which are engaging yet polished, Black Christmas has that rough around the edges dated appeal much like Cabin Feaver and 28 Days Later. What I enjoy most about the movie is the ambiguity of the villian, and the manner in which it's role is played out. And although Black Christmas may not be the first movie to slip between anyone's lips when this genre is either mentioned or thought of, it is on a level with John Carpender's Halloween and Ridley Scott's Alien, if not in cinematic profit, then certainly in it's respect for the genre.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2004
Bob Clark (III) who also directed the lighthearted family friendly, "A Christmas Story" takes us into the more darker, nightmarish setting of the familiar holiday season. This 1974 Canadian masterpiece in cinema history wasn't known as well around its time until today, where the more controversial slasher flicks exist. Setting the atmosphere with John Carpenter's "Halloween" franchise, "Black Christmas" stars Margot Kidder in one of her first roles, though in this she later finds herself as one of the killer's victims (in a very gruesome way indeed. Gore hounds rejoice!) But she is only one amoung the many other victims who fall prey to a psychotic monster living upstairs in a Sorority home attic that murders them in some of the most clever ways ever filmed in a horror movie. Meanwhile, the girls are getting scary phone calls, while the townsfolk discover the corpse of a young girl who was murdered in the park. Could this all have a connection with the beast? Or could it be something much more terrifying from out of the ordinary? All that is certain is that Christmas time is coming, and if something is not done, nobody will be left to celebrate.
This SPECIAL EDITION version of the DVD includes all theatrical trailers (Both English & French), and T.V./radio spots along with a behind the scenes BONUS feature to how the film came to be and the actors/actresses who helped bring the low-budget nightmare to life. The plot can be a little confusing and hard to follow at times, therefore giving the viewer the hint that this is one of those rare films that make you THINK, meaning that you may have to watch it more than once to understand! While not the best horror film, I believe that this helped spawn many other clones such as "Halloween" (as explained earlier) and "Scream". Not to worry though, for this carries enough of the suspense and thrills to scare the living daylights out of you! This is recommended viewing for a date-type movie or watching alone at night in the dark--IF YOU DARE!
If you're a diehard fan of the good ol' low-budget horror cult classics such as myself, this is the one to add in your collection! Whether you love it or hate it, it STILL packs enough punch for the hardcore of average horror film fanatic! There isn't as much blood to be found in this, and instead the film relies more on the originality and suspense in order to keep the viewer at the edge of his/her seat! Don't miss this very rare and hard to find classic, and remember:
"If this film doesn't make your skin crawl, it's on too tight!" >:)
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2004
The first time I saw this movie was in the 80's. I had already been subjected to Freddy, Jason and Michael, and this scared me more than the three of them combined. Don't get me wrong, Nightmare, Friday and Halloween were, and still are, very scary movies. I went into it expecting the worst and came out of it wanting to go back to a time before I had witnessed it. It scared me soooo bad that I had to sleep with the lights on for weeks afterwards. Every time the phone rang I sank inside from fear.
Now I am older, wiser and more mature......... I am no longer a teen as I was when I watched this the first time. I have been subjected to things much worse and more horrifying over the past 20 years........... or so I thought......
I thought that the padding of time and the advancements of movies and cinema would cushion me.....
I was wrong.
I watched this movie again with some friends who had not seen it, yet alone even heard of it.
I watched in horror as every feeling came rushing back. I watched in amusement as my friends lost every ounce of cool. I watched in sheer delight as I witnessed, once again, one of the most terrifying movies ever made tear me and my friends to shreds of useless nothing. Even with all the camp that is now visible in the movie, it does not let loose of its horrifying grip.
The premise is that there is a killer loose. It appears that he has chosen the attic of the sorrority house to hold up in. He uses the phone to do some of his or her terrorizing. One by one the sorrority sisters and housemother are picked off. And one by one the list of suspects grows until the climax at the end when everything is solved... or is it?
I could go on about the plot, but others have already done so.
If you watch this with the knowledge that this is one of the originals, not a knock off, then you will have more appreciation for it.
Sure, the acting is questionable, as is the directing, camera work and editing.
But, this is the real deal.. this is what other movies have molded themselves after. This is the movie that deserves all the credit that others get.
Watch this and see if you feel the same way about unicorns that you did before you saw it.
And I dare you to sleep with the lights out afterwards......
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2003
Black Christmas is without a doubt the greatest horror film you've probably never seen. I hadn't heard anything about it myself until I noticed it cropping up on a lot of people's favourite horror film lists, so decided it was about time I saw what all the fuss was about. The film centres around a Sorority house in the Christmas holiday season, where the girls begin receiving a series of disturbing phone calls from an unknown source. It soon becomes apparent that a faceless killer is stalking them, a killer who has snuck in through an open window and is inhabiting their attic... Pre-dating all of the classic horror films of the late 70s and 80s, Black Christmas is a stark, stylish and creepy film that boasts some chilling moments and some great performances. The genius of the film lies in it's ability to evoke an intense atmosphere of forboding which leaves you constantly unsettled and totally immersed which it does without the need for special effects, gore, or cheap scares. The direction, framing, POV shots, and lighting all work toegther seemlessly to provide moments that really leave you cold (especially the eye through the crack of the door). The script deserves a mention too, because it really is superb. There are some great characters, some good threads of drama and even comedy, but these are brilliantly and appropriately contained within their scenes without detracting from the menacing atmosphere and overall theme of the film. The phone calls are one of the high points, containing shades of Reagan's multi-voice outbursts in the Exorcist but with overtones of despair and confusion which give an insight into the psychological state of the deranged killer. All in all, if you are a fan of horror, and looking for something more than the slick disposable dime a dozen slasher films of recent years, you simply have to own this little gem.
on June 10, 2004
This movie is said to be one of the first slasher flicks so im giving it 3 stars, but the same year texas chainsaw massacre was released and it is 1000 times better than this film. I just got down watching this obscure little film and i give it merit for contributing to the horror genre and starting it off but as far as this being good or scary i disagree. Alot on this site are saying its the best horror film and the scariest. Its not. They are saying dont watch it with the lights off- the calls made by the killer were freaky but they wernt scary to me. The story revolves around a sorority house and a killer hiding in the house killing each girl off one by one , he is making obsene and crazy phone calls from the upstairs attic without the girls knowing hes in the house. The killings didnt scare me or surpise me. There was little gore and the killers face is never shown , only his eye so we dont know who the killer is, even at the end. We are led to beleive its the boyfriend at first but at the end it is obvious it isnt. John Saxon (nightmare on elm street) plays the detective trying to trace the calls and investigate and find out who the killer is. The end of the film the cops dont even search the attic and the killer is still there. Never even get to know who did it. The only half likeable characters in the film are the detective and olivia hussey. She sounds foreign and the voice can get annoying. But other than that this is a so so film, maybe it was good for its time but texas chainsaw massacre and psycho outdo this. Ive seen better. For horror film buffs i say maybe you should buy it just to have in collection as one of the earlier horror films but i cant say i would recomend this.
on June 3, 2004
This movie was definetly one of the first slasher movies ever made!I thought this was a great horror film maybe even a classic!Olivia Hussey did a wonderful job.The plot is that it is Christmas time and these girls are disapearing one by one.No one knows who or what it could be doing this in a small New England town.The plot is great! The characters are memorable!I think that all equals a classic.The killer was extremely scary when he was killing that girl in her room sleeping.The whole movie is a phenomenom; a Canadian film being so popular in the U.S.A. is fascinating.I also enjoyed how the camera was always acting like the killer's eyes when he was shown or heard.It kind of reminded me of a little film called Halloween.I think Halloween owes a little of it's success.The only problem I had was the killer.He was very confusing, but I guess that added to the suspense!(SPOILERS)That one part when the killer's eye is seen through the door is so scary.The phone calls that they get also scared the crap out of me. I loved the ending to.Make sure to watch this one in the dark.Check it out!
on May 25, 2004
Director: Bob Clark
Cast: Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, John Saxon.
Running Time: 98 minutes.
Rated R for violence and profanity, yet by today's horror standards would more likely fall into the PG-13 category.
Seemingly a forgotten horror tale due to the over-publicized "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "The Exorcist", the brilliance of "Halloween", and the development of the summer blockbuster ("Jaws"), this thrill-a-minute chiller is just as original as any horror/slasher film ever made.
The basic premise of the film revolves around a sorority house/college dormatory that is mysteriously being tormented by an obscene phone caller. At first, the girls think that the guy is just a prank caller and will eventually goes away, but dead bodies start to turn up. Olivia Hussey stars as the main female squeeze, who suspects that the killer may be her boyfriend Dullea, who has been acting stranger and stranger throughout the events. John Saxon is good as the police detective investigating the abnormal case, while Margot Kidder (who would later play Lois Lane in the 1978 action classic "Superman") is excellent as the profane, alcohlic college girl who is stricken with asthma.
"Black Christmas" is shot brilliantly by director Bob Clark, using many elements of foreshadowing and using a fine musical score to add to the tension. The first half of the film slightly drags, but the finale is superb as Hussey confronts the evil stalker. A must-see for those who respect the horror genre and are fans of the "Halloween" and "Friday the 13th" series. Does not receive the praise or recognition it deserves; "Black Christmas" is a superb suspense piece.
on May 22, 2004
Black Christmas is a movie about a killer who hides in the attic of a sorority house on Christmas and kills people one by one in typical slasher horror movie style. Besides the fact that Black Christmas was one of the first slasher movies and set the standard for the rest, you might ask yourself why Black Christmas is even worth a viewing. There are two reasons in particular. First, everything that happens in the movie is completely realistic. The killer is not invincible like Freddy or Jason, he is just well-hidden. We are spared the usual "wait, he was shot, stabbed, and thrown from a window, how can he still be alive?". When sisters begin disappearing, there is a completely logical explanation ("she went to meet her father, remember?" or "she must have left for home a few hours earlier than she had told us"). Second, there is a large amount of mystery surrounding the events of the movie, which makes it seem that much more realistic. The killer is never revealed, and the baby of which the killer speaks in some of his obscene phone calls is never explained. Black Christmas comes highly reccommended, especially if you are sick of the typical slasher fare.
on March 16, 2004
This film, despite relative obscurity and several name changes, another being "Stranger In The House", is one of the scariest films you will ever see. It remains vastly underrated and little-known and is seldom praised, even today. It is a genuinely creepy film that will stay with you long after you see it. Margot Kidder steals the show as the foul-mouthed, lonely sorority sister "Barb". The rest of the Canadian cast all lend good support. Like "Halloween", it doesn't rely on blood and gore, but instead creates tension and suspense and a mounting sense of dread throughout the entire film. The violence is generally low-key and takes place mostly off-camera, but is nonetheless still quite jarring and effective. The surprise ending is somewhat improbable, but is chilling and will leave you feeling just a little bit uneasy when you are home alone late at night and the phone rings unexpectedly. It is a much more realistic horror film than most, in that it could really happen. It will also make you think twice about going alone into the attic!! Just one complaint, why the rather expensive price tag when compared to other films of this type??
on February 18, 2004
Ever wondered where films such as Friday the 13th, Scream, and all those obnoxious late night horrors got their ideas? Specifically the hidden, knife weilding psychos. Black Christmas is the correct 2-word answer.
It starts when a person (seen from his POV) sneaks into a sorority house. When I first heard this I thought of the slasher/cheerleader/sorority house movies (very bad) and cringed. But Black Christmas turned out to be anything but.
Black Christmas made no big splash when it first came out, but now a days its considered a significant part of horror cinematic history, because more than a few big time horror flicks have used some of the fear inducing elements of this film. When me and my boyfriend watched it we kept saying, "Oh I recognize that!" and it was very fun to see the untamed original form of some of these devices.
The film lets you get to know the characters though (unlike modern slasher flicks) - from the pregnant Jess who is considering abortion, to the foul mouthed, alcoholic sorority matron. Quite a few interesting characters live in this sorority house. And then BAMN, they begin to get killed off, with the viewer rarely expecting the next victim,
A LIL SOILER ALERT
Black Christmas is one of the first "mainstream" slasher films. "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" came out the same year, but awhile before both came Mario Brava's "Reazione A Catenea". This was (debatably) the first slasher movie, and the friday the 13th series was based upon it. Black Christmas adds a depth of mystery - you never do find out who the killer is, or what his motives are. For some viewers this adds freakiness. Unlike newer slasher movies, where at the end the killer is revealed (and usually) dealt with.
Remember those movies with the stranger calling and uttering obscene things into the phone with a dangerous altered voice? That part is a direct take off from Black Christmas - the first (horror) movie to use the phone as a method of terrorization. Part of the horror of the film is included in the strange phone calls. Just when you think everything is safe.... the phone rings. In the DVD version I've seen, some of the obscenities and lewdness of the calls are edited out (compared to the version I saw a long time ago). I've read on numerous websites that this was to make the film "less offending".
Overall, it's an enjoyable watch. While it isn't superbly good and unsurpassable, its great to see the foundations of modern slashers. Be prepared for something a bit more serious and with a more refined style than your usual slasher. I only wish the ending had been more.... realistic. I never did understand why the police didn't search the attic....