Written by: Matt Molgaard
Directed by: Bob Clark
Cast: Olivia Hussey, Margot Kidder, John Saxon, Doug McGrath, Marian Waldman
Bob Clark started a very real movement in 1974. Black Christmas, a little Canadian picture with slim expectations behind it, evolved into a game changing powerhouse now recognized as a genuine classic. Not just a cult classic, a true classic in every sense. And it’s completely deserving of every bit of respect and admiration it’s picked up over the last 40 years.
The story focuses on the members of a sorority house as they’re terrorized by a lunatic who loves to make obscene phone calls. But his aggressions aren’t limited to calls alone, this guy, Billy, is all about action. One by one he murders the sorority sisters, until it’s revealed to Jess, the picture’s final girl, that the calls are coming from the house. Is Billy actually her disgruntled boyfriend Peter, or is Billy a madman with motivations completely unknown?
That’s a vague breakdown, but it’s fair. Black Christmas is better seen than read about. It’s stuffed with extremely tense moments, chilling cinematography, amazing characters and long-lasting dread. The picture is also perfectly grainy, giving the film a b-movie vibe though it’s infinitely more impressive than your standard drive-in flick. This is a masterpiece.
Margot Kidder, Olivia Hussey, John Saxon, Doug McGrath and Marian Waldman turn in stellar performances. Kidder however, totally steals the show as the aggressive drunkard, Barb. In fact, Barb tosses about a slew of hilarious and memorable verbal barbs just for sport. Her police station exchange with McGrath’s character, Sargeant Nash is one of the finest moments ever captured on film. John Saxon, meanwhile, manages to deliver an amazing heroic figure despite the fact that he isn’t very hands on for the majority of the film (there’s only so much an officer can do about obscene phone calls).
There is no better Christmas horror film in existence. This is the film that sets the standard, which has yet to be matched. It’s creepy as hell, wildly endearing and when all is said and done, just a blast to behold. The holiday doesn’t feel complete without a little Black Christmas.