Black Christmas (1974)

Reviewed By Rob Gonsalves
Posted 04/10/07 22:39:05

"Middling first draft of 'Halloween.'"
3 stars (Just Average)

Bob Clark's 'Black Christmas' is of interest mainly to horror scholars, as a precursor of just about every stalker-slasher movie (including 'Halloween').

Perhaps frightening in 1974, it really doesn't hold up today unless you can forget the 12,000 films exactly like it, which is difficult. Olivia Hussey stars as Jess, a college student whose sorority sisters are being dispatched one by one. Gee, could the killer be [censored to preserve "surprise"]? Who else is there? Review after review speaks of the movie's "twist ending," which here seems to mean...what? That the killer isn't dead after all? That the killer is someone else? That the movie is overrated?

There are a couple of chilling moments, as well as a nasty abortion subtext; future stars Margot Kidder (as a perpetually drunk and sex-obsessed sister) and Andrea Martin (SCTV) give the movie some spice, only to be rewarded with brutal death. Don't expect too much.

Years later, Clark directed quite a different yuletide film 'A Christmas Story' (which, like this film, features a bad-tempered Santa).

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