Day #154: Black Christmas (1974)


Black Christmas (1974)

[From IMDb:] A sorority house is terrorized by a stranger who makes frightening phone calls and then murders the sorority sisters during Christmas break.

My take:

Black Christmas is one of those classic movies that does a great job of blending comedy, suspense and horror.

In contrast to many movies in this genre, Black Christmas spends plenty of time fleshing out its characters. This means that, when some of them do die, it’s much more likely that there’s going to be some kind of emotional response – and this is an unfortunately rare feature of horror movies.

Of course, this is helped by the fact that there are some great performances in the movie. Margot Kidder in particular puts on a fantastic show as Barb, who’s always drinking, always smoking, and always talking about sex. Mrs. Mac (Marian Waldman) has her moments as the sorority’s head mistress, too.

I couldn’t quite bring myself to be all that interested in the main character, Jess (Olivia Hussey). Other than the fact that she wanted an abortion and told her boyfriend Peter (Keir Dullea) that she didn’t want to marry him (and, all the power to her for taking those stances), she just paled in comparison to the much more engaging characters around her.

As for Peter: what a prick! Ugh.

One of the things that I like about Black Christmas is that they don’t try to assign any kind of motivation to the killer, Billy. Rather, they establish that he’s a mentally deranged man who essentially chose his victims at random. He’s not some masked, superhuman serial killer; he’s a crazy guy that could exist in the real world. And I just think that there’s something scarier about that than the many alternatives out there.

I think I’ve shown in the past that I’m not one to agree that all cult classics are great, but in this case I am definitely on board.


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