The Archive

Black Christmas

It's 1974 and some years previously, Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho already shocked and exposed viewer vulnerability through master movie making, the horror of it; Tobe Hooper's Texas Chainsaw Massacre helps make this year, 1974, a significant time in the development and evolution, if you like, of horror movies with visual, raw and suspensful impact. Bob Clark completes the industry jigsaw of upper quality in 1974 with his horror movie masterpiece, Black Christmas, perhaps the real ignition of the horror genre which followed from the mid seventies throughout the 80s and even to present day. I often read such comments as, "Halloween set the table and Friday The 13th set the standard," but I honestly beg to differ. Black Christmas set the table and the standard in one foul swoop of 98 minutes (approx.).

What followed, took this high standard of a motion picture into high regard - almost like a text book, with the movies in tow having recreated several groundbreaking techniques in order to recreate a movie of immense calibre.

An obscene phone caller harasses the members of Pi Kappa Sigma sorority.

Black Christmas stars Olivia Hussey as Jess Bradford and Keir Dullea as Peter. Set in a Canadian - Bob Clark is Canadian - sorority house, an unseen killer takes refuge in the attic of the house, making obscene phone calls to the girls throughout the night and then begins to murder, them one by one.

The phone calls in this movie alone, are enough to put you on edge - forget Scream. As the plot thickens so does the element of suspense which Clark creates beautifully - horrifyingly so. It is not hard to see that this film was an inspiration to John Carpenter when making, Halloween. Many award Carpenter the honour of signature stalker scenes with hand held camera, but this is simply not the case - Clark was the originator if not somebody before him. The heavy breathing of the stalker is also heavely related with Halloween, but once again it was Clark who was the originator if not a director previous (1974). Even the endings or rather the concept or result of the final stages of Black Christmas and Halloween are very similiar - both in theme and camera action, but I won't give too much away.

The killer's watchful eye tracks in on a new prey.

What I will give away however, is that Black Christmas is the original stalker/horror movie. It is some of the primal roots (Although roots are vast) of all the teen slashers you see today as well as those which spawned through the 80s, from Halloween to Friday The 13th. Black Christmas is at the base of all of it; without a doubt and quite rightly so too. It is an untimely classic that will unerve and frighten it alone...if you like Halloween then you will not be disappointed!

>>Back<< >>Archive Index<<

The Archive