Who says all Christmas movies need to be sentimental and sweet? "Black Christmas" is a rather tasteless holiday outing that is perhaps only tasteless because of its genre; horror. How many Christmas horror movies have you seen? There are a few, but this is the best out of all of them. It was directed by Bob Clark, who if you saw his soon-to-come "A Christmas Story", you'd know is very fond of the Christmas holiday, yet he's not afraid to be daring and make a film that satirizes or exploits the good, the bad, and the ugly aspects of the times.
"A Christmas Story" is a film as hilarious as this one is scary. It's not exactly as true to the Christmas spirit as Clark's more successful film is, but that doesn't make it any less interesting. In fact, "Black Christmas" is more than likely one of the best slasher films around. It is known to have "started it all". It set some pretty good standards for slasher films such as "Halloween" and "Friday the 13th" by taking influence from the earlier film, "Psycho", and putting a unique spin on its tale of psychopathic murder. And like some of the greater horror films, "Black Christmas" is not a gore-fest; and it merely implies most of its violent material. Also, this movie is scary; unlike so many of its imitators. Naturally, I had a good time with it. It was a fun, smart horror movie that deserves all the recognition it can get, although I don't think it's QUITE a perfect movie.
A sorority house is terrorized by an odd, deranged killer throughout the film. The crazy bastard begins his reign of terror through vulgar phone-calls. Whenever the girls pick up one of his "calls", they're quick to put the phone right back down. Their initial reaction, as forever-drunk college kids, is to call the guy on the other line a "pervert". I'm sure this both angers and pleasures the caller, and he doesn't stop terrorizing through the phone-lines.
The killer begins to murder sorority girls one-by-one. He starts with a particularly pretty girl, and makes good use of plastic sheeting. You'll know what I mean when you see the film. There are some solid characters involved here, but what Clark and his movie are interested in the most is whether the film actually works for its genre. And guess what; it does work.
The best scenes involve the killer stalking his prey. Its shot in first-person view; and for some reason, I found the feel of these scenes and sequences quite hypnotic. This technique has been used before, and it has been re-used just as well. But it works exceptionally well here; just like everything else. "Black Christmas" is a well-made and perhaps even well-written slasher film that ranks amongst one of the finer, if not finest entries for its little sub-genre.
Oh, and then there's the nail-biting suspense. I love when a film chooses atmosphere and tension over gore, and there was once a day, "back-in-the-day", when there were many films that chose wisely. This is one of them. As I already mentioned, it's not a particularly gruesome movie; but it's not a silent night, nor is it a holy night. It's a wild one; and a worthy one. "Black Christmas" is an easy must-see for any hardcore horror fan; and it deserves its label as a classic. The only minor problem I have with it is that it kind of stalls a little during the third act, which is still entertaining, but not nearly as much as the first two. Nevertheless, "Black Christmas" is high on both scares and holiday anti-spirit. Distasteful, yes, but also a very good example of what to expect from its genre.
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About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall (ryguy4738)
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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