Writer: Roy Moore (Screenplay)
Starring: Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, John Saxon, Maria Waldman, Andrea Martin, James Edmund
Plot: A sorority house is terrorized by a stranger who makes frightening phone calls and then murders the sorority sisters during Christmas break.
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Nicely Built Horror
Story: Black Christmas starts as we meet our sorority girls Jess (Hussey), Barb (Kidder) Phyl (Martin) and Clare (Griffin) along with their house mother Mrs Mac (Walden). They are preparing for Christmas as well as dealing with creepy phone calls but not making too much from it. When Clare’s father Mr Harrison (Edmond) turns up to meet her she is nowhere to be found leading to her boyfriend Chris (Hindle) and LT Ken Fuller (Saxon) starting a man hunt for her.
We as the audience know where the killer who goes by the name Billy is and that is in the attic of the house along with the body of Clare, but the killer isn’t happy with just one body as we watch him pick off the sorority girls while begging for help with each phone call to the house.
Black Christmas is a film that got horrendously remade but here is the original that still holds up today. We have a slow building horror slasher that uses the creepy tones of a stalker inside the house as the best thing, we know this early on but our victims have no idea. The kills are not silly or over the top they are carefully planned by the killer to make sure he never gets caught. The police actually make sense in a horror film because they look at all options being available for the time. Some of the character do come off predictable but in the end this is a horror film that stands the test of time.
Olivia Hussey: Jess is your everyday ‘good’ girl in the sorority, but she does have a secret that she is pregnant with her boyfriend’s Peter baby that she wants to get rid of. She does get concerned by the phone calls coming in and always makes sure she is alert for anything happening around her. Olivia gives us a good performance in this role that comes off very believable with her innocence in the character.
Keir Dullea: Peter is Jess’ boyfriend who wants her to keep the baby and leave the career to get married, he sneaks around to make sure they can have time together. Keir does a good job in this role that has a lot more work than first imagined.
Margot Kidder: Barb is the drunk of the sorority who has many issues that won’t get dealt with in this time period, she speaks her mind as she continues to drink through everything going on. Margot is good in this role where she gets a few extra laughs.
John Saxon: LT Ken Fuller is leading the investigation into the missing girls which includes solving another case of a younger missing girl. He listens to all the options and pulls the town together to look for any information. John is great as this cop that actually does the right thing in the film.
Support Cast: Black Christmas has the disposable character you would expect to see in a horror film, they are all unique in their own way which works.
Director Review: Bob Clark – Bob gives us a good horror that builds up nicely throughout.
Horror: Black Christmas lets the film slow burn the suspense instead of going for gore.
Settings: Black Christmas keeps a lot of the action inside the house because that is where the killer is hiding.
Special Effects: Black Christmas doesn’t need too many effects with the kills because most is off camera.
Suggestion: Black Christmas is one the horror fans should have seen at least once. (Horror Fans Watch)
Best Part: Suspense
Worst Part: The ending might not please everyone
Chances of Tears: No
Chances of Sequel: No
Post Credits Scene: No
Oscar Chances: No
Budget: CAD $686,000
Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes
Tagline: Black Christmas will ROCK you too!
Trivia: The film had only moderate box office success and negative critical reception when originally released, however the film went on to have a large cult following. It has since received a critical re-evaluation and is now considered a classic.
Overall: Horror gem that is way before it’s time