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Black Christmas (1974)
Movie Review by The Mortician

Black Christmas (1974) This movie gets more and more bloodcurdling and frightening every time I re-watch it each Christmas season. It's positively unnerving and now ranks as one of my all-time favorite slasher movies. What influence it has, what supremacy! Much like THE EXORCIST, there seems to be an almost malevolent power translating from the images and sound directly into the viewer. I first saw this 1974 slasher movie (credited for being the FIRST prototype slasher movie that even inspired the blueprint for HALLOWEEN!) amidst a VHS video binge watch back in the day, and frankly, I wasn't that impressed. Overdosing on the violent sequel antics of Jason, Leatherface, and Michael, I failed to see how this "outdated" movie stacked up to what I was grooving on. Over the ensuing decades, though, BLACK CHRISTMAS has stood the test of time and I now see it as far superior to any of those weak franchise imitators (though they can still be fun!) I once thought were so cool. The simple story of some sorority house sisters being hassled by deranged phone calls and horrific murders that follow is best viewed with all the lights out with total attention given to the screen. The ominous music and constant drone of a wicked winter wind totally set the tone. The plot, with gorgeous lead Olivia Hussey callously wanting to break up with her boyfriend and abort their recently conceived child amidst the demented phone calls and murders occurring during the Christmas season break merge perfectly...Wow, incredible, heavy dramatic stuff, something you rarely see in horror movies these days. (Characters!) The slow burn way the movie unfolds, with long, lingering shots...shadows and point-of-view shots...and happy Christmas carolers crosscutting with brutal murders (such as the scene with Margot Kidder) are so powerful that they'll send a chill up your spine. I know the movie freaks me out more and more every time I see it, and recently, I found out it was based on true events! And the sinister killer: we know so little about him that it works absolutely perfect with our imaginations filling in the blanks (unlike in the remake where they foolishly try to explain EVERYTHING), and the stuff he does with his voice, with all those animal sounds, shrieks, and shrills is so fucking outrageous that it'll make your skin crawl! It's my conclusion (and I'm stickin' to it!) that this killer surely is POSSESSED by some sort of demon(s) when he commits these crimes, hence my EXORCIST reference. The stuff he says on the phone is so evil and menacing more for THE WAY it's delivered than anything else. (And damn, those crazy animal sounds!!!!) The styles that BLACK CHRISTMAS bring on include the wild Point-Of-View shots of the killer, the "crazed calls being from inside the house" (later totally swiped by WHEN A STRANGER CALLS), and the concept that the killer not only gets away with his deeds...but in the end, he's still out there committing them! (Despite the police being on the case and led by the always reliable and excellent John Saxon.) Wow, yes, I'm convinced BLACK CHRISTMAS is THE prototype slasher movie that influenced even HALLOWEEN, right down to a holiday theme. And like Carpenter's archetypal movie, this one is another timeless gem that will chill and thrill for decades to come.

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