31 Days Of Horror (Day 11) – Black Christmas (1974)

black-christmas
Black Christmas is the original Stalk and Slash horror film. This is by far one of my most recommended films to watch around Halloween. In fact, I would go as far as to say it is within my top 5 films even my top 3. It is that good!

It is a Canadian production directed by Bob Clark and starring Olivia Hussey (IT,Psycho 4) Margot Kidder (Amityville Horror, Sisters) and much more familiar faces.

A sorority house is plagued by a stream of harassing phone calls, as members of the sorority begin to disappear the calls become more frequent and disturbing.

It might not seem like it but Black Christmas is one of the best slasher films out there. As a fan of this film, and slasher films in general, It can be rather annoying when people who do not follow films closely say that this film is a rip-off of Halloween, this can be rather annoying for me as if they looked at the dates this film came out 4 years previous to Halloween. Therefore this if the first of its kind.

Of course, we had slasher films before Black Christmas there was, of course, Psycho in 1960 and Texas Chainsaw Massacre also in 1974.

This film has very often (and not surprisingly) been confused with the 1982 slasher film the House On Sorority Row and also When A Stranger calls (1979,2006). This is mainly due to the fact that House on Sorority Row is based in a sorority house where a killer is picking off the girls one by one, and When A Stranger Calls is about someone getting tormented by disturbing phone calls.

The confusion might have come because of the up and down release of Black Christmas, despite being hugely successful at the box office (in Canada and throughout Europe) the film failed to see much of a release over its first few years. It would, from time to time, get a TV airing in the Uk and the USA it wasn’t until about 2001 when the UK finally got a VHS and DVD release of the film. Since them, there have been many editions of Black Christmas. In the USA there has been a collectors edition of the film on Blu-Ray and DVD, with a new DVD from Scream Factory (in releasing this year. Canada released a very limited edition Blu-ray through Anchor Bay Canada to celebrate the films 45th anniversary. Sadly, though, the film has yet to receive the Blu-ray treatment in the UK.

Despite it’s up and down release history and the fact people would confuse it with other films within the genre, since it releases Black Christmas has slowly but surely earned its rightful place in Cult Film status. It is without a doubt one of the best slasher films you can see this Halloween season.

Having some of the best moment in horror and some of the most shocking and disturbing phone calls in a horror film and with, for its time, a film that was shockingly funny. It is a true gem and a masterpiece of the genre. With one of the most shocking twists, you do not see coming I will let you decide from here if this film is for you.

The tension-filled moments and the gripping story of who is doing this will either redefine your faith in horror or bring you over to the horror side. It is one of those films that does not get the praise that it 100% deserves. It is a masterpiece of horror cinema and you NEED to watch it this Halloween.

Take it from me, Black Christmas is a work of horror art and if you manage to track it down, I can assure you, you won’t be answering the phone for a while.

| Ross Wilcock

Horror | USA, 1974 | 18 | Dir.Bob Clark | Margot Kidder, Olivia Hussey, John Saxon, Keir Dullea

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