Black Christmas (1974)


As it is Christmas this week I thought I would review a suitably festive film and settled on Black Christmas. It opens at a very 70s Christmas party in a sorority house which handily introduces all the main characters of the film with the four sorority girls, various boyfriends and their house mother, all seen from the point of view of the killer who makes his (or her?) way up into the attic. Recently the girls have been receiving prank phone calls which escalate throughout the film, the main question I have is why haven’t they reported these phone calls before? Living in the sorority house over Christmas are Barb (Margot Kidder, Superman), a troubled girl with a drinking problem, Phyllis (Andrea Martin, SCTV), who apart from her frizzy hair and glasses is pretty non-descript, Jess (Olivia Hussey, It), the main character and Clare (Lynne Griffin, Dream House), a quiet ‘good’ girl who is the first victim. Along with the young women is Mrs. Mac, played by Marian Waldman (Phobia) the house mother who seems to permanently have a hat on and hides sherry around the house, including in the toilet cistern.

Whilst packing to go home, we see Clare suffocated from the point of view of the killer and her body hidden in the attic, but it takes over a day or so after her father turning up for people to realise that something is wrong. Despite organising a huge search party for Clare in the park nobody thinks to look in the attic, even though her body is put facing out the window! Black Christmas has all the clichés associated with slasher films including the jarring sound track, with the exception of the virgin dying first (see Scream for the serial killer “rules”).  None of the characters are particularly likeable and all react to things in really inexplicable ways, for example when worried about their friend Barb gives the telephone number of the house as beginning with the code FE for fellatio…

Disappointingly, Black Christmas is not very Christmassy, whilst it takes place at the start of the Christmas break, this seems coincidental, I was expecting with the title for Christmas to be integral, maybe the killer dressed as Santa or something. The resolution is both predictable and unsatisfactory and not worth the 90 minutes beforehand. Only watch if you are desperate for a (slightly) festive horror film.

Rating: 2/5


With this slightly lack-lustre film I wish you all a very merry Christmas!

merry xmas


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