in Shocktober

Shocktober: Day 15

Black Christmas (1974)

Dir: Bob Clark
Cast: Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, John Saxon, Marian Waldman, Andrea Martin

What better time for mayhem than during the jolliest time of the year? It’s no surprise that the emerging slasher genre would work it’s way through all the holidays, but wait a second… This film predates John Carpenter’s Halloween? “Are you telling me there was a holiday themed slasher flick made a whole four years before Halloween?” I guess in that respect Black Christmas was ahead of the curve, from the concept to even the techniques used in the film.

“A homicidal maniac attacks a sorority house during the Christmas Season.” Could you come up with a more basic premise for a slasher flick? Do we know why he does it? No, do we know who he is or do we find out? Nope, you don’t even see him and it’s this vague approach that makes it work so well. All of the killer’s scenes are from his P.O.V, so we don’t even know what he looks like and you gotta admire that kind of boldness in filmmaking. This movie strives to keep you in the dark, decreasing your comfort level with every scene and every kill. As we’ve all heard, “Sometimes the scariest thing is what you don’t see.”

Black Christmas doesn’t often get the recognition I think it deserves but it’s built up a strong cult following. The film even featured some future actors before they were famous including; Nick Mancuso, Margot Kidder and Andrea Martin. Though probably weirdest of all is the director Bob Clark went on to do A Christmas Story . Wow, the most beloved Christmas film and the darkest with the same man behind the camera, makes you think.

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