If you're like me, you love 'A Christmas Story'. It's boasts all the magic and joy of Christmas in the 1950s, communicates with children as well as adults, and it's oh so quotable. It's so good that it's become a beloved family Christmas classic through the years... But here's Bob Clark's other Christmas movie.
The premise might sound kinda familiar. A creepy guy returns to his childhood home on Christmas Eve. The house has since become a sorority, so he ends up killing them off one by one. Did I also mention he was an escaped maniac? Didn't I just review this movie back in October? And didn't it take place on a different holiday? But there's a catch... THIS movie was released four years earlier than 'Halloween'.
By today's standards, one could easily see this one as being "dated". I admit that since I had seen this kind of thing several times before, the overall film wasn't that fantastic to me. But I have to give credit where it's due as well.
'Black Christmas' has seemingly become a sort of cult horror classic over the years, and rightfully so. It's strange to think that 'Halloween' got so much attention when 'Black Christmas' was already established, and it's practically the same movie. In fact, the killer in 'Black Christmas' IS creepier than Michael Myers, if you ask me. That's "creepier", not "more threatening". He makes obscene phone calls all through the movie to the sorority and the voices coming out of the phone will send shivers down your spine. It was kinda like hearing Regan on 'The Exorcist' for the first time.
But aside from the killer being one of the creepiest horror villains I've probably ever seen (just the idea of him lurking in the shadows... I mean, look at his eye. See his eye up in the picture?) I can only imagine how freaky this movie must be to a lot of women. It's about a creepy stalker man who dwells in your attic and is making obscene phonecalls to you from inside the house.
Hey that's another thing, by the way. The famous trope "the call is coming from inside the house" is totally used here, but is often credited as having it's first real appearance in 'When as Stranger Calls' (1979).
So, although this isn't what one would call a traditional Christmas movie in any sense, one must admire the fact that the director of 'A Christmas Story' once directed a film that predates 'Halloween' and 'When a Stranger Calls' but uses everything that made them so good. Granted, it's entirely possible that in 1974 people weren't ready for the slasher genre quite yet. Mainly because by then 'The Exorcist' was out, scaring the living hell out of people.
But I would definitely say that as a creepy horror movie, and NOT a Christmas movie, 'Black Christmas' does a damn good job with it's overall atmosphere. In a weird way, I'd personally recommend it to true fans of horror, if for nothing else, the fact that it came before a lot of what made the slasher genre famous.