Black Christmas

( 9 )

Overview

Although this Canadian production saw its widest U.S. cable TV distribution in the early '80s (primarily under the title Stranger in the House) to capitalize on the phenomenal success of Halloween and its offspring, this effective suspense-thriller actually predates John Carpenter's film by four years. The story involves a dangerous psychopath hiding out in the attic of a sorority house who torments a small group of pretty young sisters (including Olivia Hussey and Margot Kidder) who are staying behind over ...
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Overview

Although this Canadian production saw its widest U.S. cable TV distribution in the early '80s (primarily under the title Stranger in the House) to capitalize on the phenomenal success of Halloween and its offspring, this effective suspense-thriller actually predates John Carpenter's film by four years. The story involves a dangerous psychopath hiding out in the attic of a sorority house who torments a small group of pretty young sisters (including Olivia Hussey and Margot Kidder) who are staying behind over Christmas break. His tactics range from making obscene phone calls from their house-mother's phone, to stalking the terrified boarders with sharp objects and murderous intent. Director Bob Clark, who mistook dreariness for tension in his previous horror effort Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things! (1972), here demonstrates a tight, aggressive style that generates some very original shocks -- particularly the surprise ending -- which clearly influenced dozens of similarly-themed slasher films to follow.
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Special Features

Digitally mastered audio and video; Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0, Mono, French Mono; "Black Christmas Revisited" all new documentary including current interviews; 2 commentary tracks: director - Bob Clark, actors - John Saxon, Keir Dullea; Special feature gallery including: original English and French trailers, original TV and radio spots, alternative title sequences, and picture and poster gallery; Animated menus; Dark Dreamers television series episode w/ John Saxon; Reversible cover includes original 1974 artwork
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jeremy Wheeler
Often recognized as the first modern slasher film (whose title could arguably go to Mario Bava's Bay of Blood), Bob Clark's seminal horror classic Black Christmas is a chilling tale that ranks up there with the best of the genre, even if it's not as well known as its contemporaries. With genuine characters that defy latter-day splatter stereotypes and a risqué abortion subplot added into the mix, the film has a realistic feel that most terror flicks tend to ignore (or do very badly). By deftly utilizing sound and the first-person perspective (predating Michael Myers by four years), director Clark manages to bring the audience into the sick mind of the madman resulting in one of the creepiest maniacs in screen history. Humor is also a key ingredient in the story, as Clark (future genius of Porky's and the holiday classic A Christmas Story) adds enough laughs and smirks to balance out the drama and extreme scares. Margot Kidder has a blast as Barb, a constantly drunk college student who could easily be the focus of the story, though that pleasure belongs to Franco Zeffirelli's Juliet, Olivia Hussey. While her accent might be a tad grating at times, Hussey makes a fine lead, with her tense phone calls with the killer being the highlights. The backbone of the film, however, rests mostly on the supporting players, even if they don't have the most screen time. First and foremost, Marion Waldman is a hoot as Mrs. Mack -- the booze-guzzling head dorm lady. Almost funnier is Doug McGrath as the bumbling cop Nash, whose run-in with Kidder and scenes with genre-fave John Saxon are classic, to say the least. Also noteworthy is an appearance from 2001's Keir Dullea as Hussey's pseudo-crazy boyfriend and a very underrated performance by James Edmond, who brings a welcomed human element to the film as the grieving father of the first victim. Skillfully directed and stylishly executed, Black Christmas is one underappreciated classic sure to get under your skin and stay there long after the lights come up. A sequel taking place on Halloween night was once planned -- but a smash hit from a young director by the name of John Carpenter (coincidentally using the same premise and style -- no offense John) squashed those plans, changing the history of horror films forever.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 12/3/2002
  • UPC: 778854137394
  • Original Release: 1974
  • Rating:

  • Source: Eclectic Dvd Dist.
  • Presentation: Mono
  • Sound: monaural, Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Language: English, Français
  • Time: 1:38:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Olivia Hussey Jessica Bradford
Keir Dullea Peter Smythe
Margot Kidder Barbie Coard
Andrea Martin Phyllis Carlson
John Saxon Lieutenant Kenneth Fuller
Marion Waldman Mrs. Mac
Doug McGrath Sgt. Nash
Michael Rapaport Patrick
Les Carlson Graham
Martha Gibson Mrs. Quaife
Robert Warner Doctor
Jack Van Evera Search Party
Les Rubie Search Party
Marcia Diamond Woman
Robert Hawkins Wes
David Clement Cogan
John Stoneham Cop
Tom Foreman Cop
Art Hindle Chris
Lynne Griffin Claire Harrison
James Edmond Mr. Harrison
Technical Credits
Bob Clark Director, Producer
Gerry Arbeid Co-producer
Karen Bromley Art Director
Stan Cole Editor
Roy Moore Screenwriter
Reginald Morris Cinematographer
Findlay Quinn Executive Producer
Richard Schouten Associate Producer
Carl Zittrer Score Composer
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. In the Beginning [3:39]
2. Entering the Lair [2:50]
3. "The Moaner" [3:41]
4. Claire's Closet [3:53]
5. "We Have to Talk!" [2:12]
6. Nobody's Home [4:33]
7. A Den Mother's Work Is Never Done [1:50]
8. Piano Talk [2:23]
9. Billy's Call [2:39]
10. Fellatio 2-0880 [1:51]
11. The Recital [2:33]
12. Mating Rituals of Turtles [3:04]
13. Piano Renovations 101 [1:26]
14. Park Search [1:36]
15. Curiosity and the Cat [4:08]
16. Gruesome Find [1:23]
17. "Who Are You?" [3:51]
18. Hear Me Out [2:48]
19. Something Dirty Isn't It! [1:39]
20. Fireside Chat [2:14]
21. Claire Investigation [2:50]
22. Setting the Trap [2:10]
23. The Awakening [3:09]
24. Choral Attack [3:14]
25. Voices [2:47]
26. Could It Be Peter? [2:36]
27. Phone Call Analysis [4:29]
28. Knock, Knock! [1:24]
29. Phone Trace [2:21]
30. "If You Blow This I'll Kill You!" [1:07]
31. Words of Wisdom [2:12]
32. I'm Billy! [2:15]
33. Basement Retreat [4:36]
34. To the Rescue [1:25]
35. Final Resting [5:22]
36. Credits [1:08]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play Movie
   Chapters
   Setup
      English - 2.0 Dolby Digital
      English - Mono
      French - Mono
      Bob Clark - Director Commentary
      John Saxon/Keir Dullea - Commentary
   Special Features
      Black Christmas Revisited
      Alternative Openings, Trailers, TV & Radio Spots
         Alternative Openings: Silent Night Evil Night
         Alternative Openings: Stranger in the House
         Original Trailer: French
         Original Trailer: English
         TV Spots: 60 Sec. - 1974
         TV Spots: 30 Sec. - 1974
         TV Spots: 10 Sec. - 1974
         TV Spots: 30 Sec. - 2001
         Radio Spots: 60 Sec. - 1974
         Radio Spots: 10 Sec. - 1974
      Photo Gallery
      Interviews
         Dark Dreamers With John Saxon
         John Saxon Unabridged
         Bob Clark Unabridged
      "Murder by Decree"
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

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(5)

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(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    I saw this movie alone and in a dark room.

    this is one of the best horror films i have ever seen! i love it! it is way better than Halloween and it was made four years before! Anyway, amazing movie!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Black Christmas is a movie that makes you jump!

    All I could say is that "Black Christmas" is scary and creepy.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The Original Black Christmas

    This movie I heard about when it was annoucned they was coming out a remake to it and I just had to see and was it worth it? Yes, this was a suspenseful and creepy movie as how a horror movie should be and it did come before Halloween. The story was about a killer stalking a couple of girls at a sorority house through his point of view and the ending left a haunting moment with the audience wanting more.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Black Christmas

    This movie was good and had a creepy ending. Here is the story about a killer who stalks girls at a college or school and keeps calling, leaving disturbing messages.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Scariest Movie of its Time

    My wife and I saw this in the theater back in 74-75. I love scary movies. But, after seeing this one, I even slept with the lights on for a couple of days. It set the standard for the 80's slasher films. This is not gory, it is scary. The ending was original at the time but has been copied endlessly since.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews