on 30 August 2006
Curl up on the sofa and turn off the lights...A classic 1970's horror. If you're a fan of horror flicks from this era then this is a good one for you. Dark and creepy with a few good scares this really is one of the better movies in this genre. I really enjoyed Black Christmas, thinking it would be quite naff, I was pleasantly surprised...give it go it's worth a watch.
on 11 December 2015
I've watched Black Christmas every Christmas Eve since I was a tot.
The story is deceptively simple. A killer, Billy, torments the young women of a sorority house with obscene phone calls and then begins to kill them. However, unlike the later slasher films it inspired, Black Christmas is less about the bodycount, more focused on creating a bleak, claustrophobic, atmosphere and is informed by the sexual politics of the just post hippie 1970s. Relationships are questioned rather than idealised. The cast look and talk like educated adults. Margot Kidder stands out as Barb, a heavy drinking, foul mouthed but genuinely witty character as barbed as her name suggests. Olivia Hussey, Jess, does well carrying the film's underlying themes which also include abortion and controlling partners. The killer, Billy, who is barely seen, is a creepy near spectral presence almost like the embodiment of the oppressive house and its cold surroundings. The obscene phone calls he makes are genuinely nasty and oddly seem to have a near psychic knowledge of Jess' problems. John Saxon is very good as the cop. Director, Bob Clark makes good use of POV and interiors, whilst getting good performances out of his cast.
THE GERMAN CAPELIGHT BLU RAY,
The picture quality is still grainy, but is an improvement on the American disc with improved black tones. It is also cheaper and has extras including a commentary track with Bob Clark, a making of documentary from the old Tartan DVD as well as a tour of the house from the same source. There is also a feature with interviews with the cast and crew presented by John Saxon and two scenes with an alternative sound mix. The man drawback is that there is no option for the original mono sound.
5 stars a great film in a good value package.
on 11 March 2006
In 1976, a friend recommended this film. Although she outlined the story, I went to see it anyway. I've never been so scared and never has a film left such a lasting impression... 30 years on and I am still talking about it. Maybe, as a young student at the time, I could empathize with the girls in the house. The director certainly knew how to capture the tension and create fear in the minds of the viewers. The fear of not knowing was such a fitting angle for this film. I dare you to watch it alone!
on 2 December 2007
Made in 1974, Black Christmas was one of the first "slasher" movies and on this dvd the print has been perfectly restored with modern sound added - although purists can watch it with the original mono sound if they choose.
Set at Christmas time, the story has a group of university female students living together in a house on campus where they are subjected to obscene telephone calls. Mouthy, drink loving Babs (Margot Kidder) likes to answer the caller back, but sensible Jess (Olivia Hussey) feels he should not be encouraged.
Before long the girls and their house mother are being murdered one by one. The suspense which builds to the killings is truly chilling and, unlike modern films of the type, there is no reliance of blood and gore to create horror. As the police battle to trace the source of the calls the girls must stand together and face the terror which has come to their door.
I suspect the 18 rating is caused by the frequent use of the C word in the obscene phone calls. There is little gore or blood and without the language this could easily have been rated 15.
Well worth purchasing for fans of a well made, well paced horror drama which keeps the viewer engaged with lively characters and a suspense filled plot.....
Just hope your phone doesn't ring while your watching!
on 15 June 2011
This is definitely one of the best slasher films of all time; a crazed killer stalks a coed in a sorority house and unmercifully butchers her closest friends and any passersby that just happen to get in his way. What separates this from the typical slasher fare is a brilliant script, above-average acting, and really good direction. Director Bob Clark, the director of such films like Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things and Murder by Decree, seemingly does everything right in this one and makes all the right choices (well, most of the time at least). His flair for creating hauntingly eerie scenes that stay with you is first-rate. Take the first murdered girl (happens in first ten minutes). We never see the killer but just his eyes. The girl is wrapped in a dress bag and set in a rocking chair with an old doll. Her presence is filmed in such a stark manner as to really set the mood of this whole film. Clark then effectively builds tension by the girl's father looking for her - as no body is found - the coed, played by the beautiful Olivia Hussey, consistently receiving disturbing phone calls from an obscene caller on the outside, the police are then brought into the mix, and finally some red herrings that throw the viewer off track a bit at the very least.
All this goes on with snow, caroling, decorations and Christmas atmosphere like one might expect in a typical small college town. The first death scene is for my money the most effective shot and running scene in the entire film, but there are other equally brilliant shots that Clark uses to shock and create suspense. The main policeman is John Saxon (who is one of my favorite actors), he is pretty good and seems to flourish in roles like this in the seventies. The film has a resembled all-star cast including Olivia Hussey in the lead role, Keir Dullea (2001 A Space Odyssey) portrays her estranged boyfriend, Margot Kidder is funny as the drunk and obnoxious Barb, Andrea Martin plays the caring Phyl and John Saxon (Nightmare on Elm Street) portrays the worried detective. Many films have tried to create the same effect as Black Christmas, but so few have come close at all to reaching the level of this 70's classic - at least in this genre. An impressively shot film with good locations and a very effective ending.
This film is supposed to be one of the first slasher films since it was released way before Halloween and it had the same premise of the killer who is stalking his victims right before he kills them, so if you like 70's horror that has lots of suspense and thrills instead of blood and gore then your going to love it. While the Region 1 disc only offers a short interview with John Saxon, filmographies and the original theatrical trailer, Tartan's Region 2 disc is different and definitely a way better edition. Plenty of fun stuff here: there's an audio commentary from director Clark which is informative. Pride of place goes to a 'revisited' feature, in which various cast and crew share reminisces about the film and have a bit of a laugh. Dan Duffin, the webmaster of a Black Christmas website, has a look around the house featured in the film, providing a voiceover as he prowls around the various rooms. Hardcore fans also get to see the opening sequence with alternative titles such as Silent Night, Evil Night. Then there are trailers, plus radio and TV spots. Definitely worth checking out.
on 30 December 2014
This slasher pic is a little gem from the 70's, sharing much of the same DNA as the likes of Halloween and Friday the 13th although it predates both of those.
The set up is beautifully simplistic, as the best of these horrors often are - in the run up to Christmas, a group of girls in a sorority house are being stalked by an unseen, unknown killer. In the best tradition it all starts with freaky phone calls and escalates from there. Most of the action takes place in the sorority house itself, giving it a nice claustrophobic feel as the stalker does his/her stalking.
There's a relative lack of actual bloodshed with slayings often happening off screen with much left to the imagination. There's a few stylistic touches from director Bob Clark to enhance the mood - including the technique of having the camera shoot the POV of the killer at certain creepy moments. A technique that John Carpenter would later use to such brilliant effect in Halloween.
The film has a keen (although dark) sense of humour, particularly in the early going. The acting is good for the most part, including a drunken, loud mouthed turn from future Lois Lane, Margot Kidder. As I write this, Christmas has just been and gone (sigh) but the film works pretty much all year round I think despite the wintery setting. Overall then, a fine example of this type of flick - by turns amusing, atmospheric and unsettling. Good stuff.
This 1974 psychological horror [aka: Silent Night, Evil Night, aka: stop me, aka: Stranger in the House] follows a group of sorority sisters who during the festive season are receiving threatening phone calls, while being stalked and murdered. But how many will have to die before the police really become interested?
Very much a modest budget movie of its time this has wobbly titles and is actually one of the earliest slasher films. The sorority ‘babes’ are ‘normal’ girls in everyday clothing, so the beer and popcorn brigade may be a little disappointed, but as a horror the film is better for it. Creating a great atmosphere, the superb soundtrack raises this above the usual dross. Marian Waldman as Mrs Mac is superb and the dry sitcom humour is always present when she’s on screen.
Opening directly to main menu offering play, 2.0 or 5.1, scene selection. Extras [audio commentary, Black Christmas revisited and all through the house, art & photo gallery, trailers and tv spots] and trailers.
With lots of bad and inappropriate language [including the C and F words], blasphemy [well it is Xmas!], lots of drinking and smoking [Xmas!] scenes of murder and adult topics such as abortion and child murder, this is an obvious 18 rating. An excellent xmas movie for those looking for something departing from the usual festivities and an all round is unsettling in its realism and is a ***** recommendation.
on 18 November 2015
This is a truly classic horror movie and one of the best, it definitely deserves more recognition, its also the original slasher film, and it looks great on Blu-ray which has restored it really well, it has a great simple plot which centres around a family who get prank calls at christmas by the same person who torments them until people start to get mysteriosly murdered!!!
on 29 May 2005
This is a real classic horror film,a must for all horror fans.
I cannot believe this film is not more well known.it has great suspence, and a real atmosphere, truly chilling.
I only found out about this film when it was re released on dvd, it was originally made in 1974 and has much more impact than any of these new horrors.
This film has a fantastic story line, it will leave you checking over your shoulder and your loft (if you have one). My advice is do not watch this on your own or at night, as you probably won't be able to sleep!!!
There arn't really any bloody scenes in this movie, which is great as i think it would have spoiled it slightly.
Sometimes what you don't see can be a hell of a lot more eerie than what you do see.
All in all a fantastic horror!!!! you've got to see it!!!!!
This is what's named by true horror fans as THE definitive slasher film that set the standards for films like Halloween and Friday the 13th.
Unlike the camp humour, the gore and the comfort zone that modern horror offers, Black Christmas boasts a sharp edgey storyline that keeps you on the edge of your seat. The characters are realistic and unpredictable unlike your modern stereotypes that often appear in movies such as "Scream" and "I Know What You Did Last Summer" franchises. The horror in this is truly the suspense, the waiting, knowing that something is coming and just not knowing what. What is truly unsettling is the realism of the phonecalls during the movie, the insane mumblings and shriekings, sexually obscene and perverted ramblings...which if you're a woman is enough to leave you on edge even before the movie is barely started.
The usual somewhat predictable type of story that a group of sorority sisters are holed up in their sorority house for the Christmas; they've been recieving various calls for a while from an unknown pervert who makes (what seem to be idle) threats and obscene promises. While the quiet and poised Jess would rather they not pander to the caller, the alcoholic, brazen Barb thinks that it's amusing to respond and even at times provoke their caller. Soon, things start to go horrifyingly wrong as one by one people are disappearing.
What I love about this movie is it has an amazing ending that is quite genius, enough to leave you with a shiver down your spine and so many thoughts arising.