This year the holidays are so crammed together, the holiday spirit seems to be escaping us. We had Thanksgivukkah and Christmas is biting at it’s heels a mere three weeks later. To remedy my lack of spirit I spent some quality time with Black Christmas recently. I’m speaking of the original 1974 film and not the 2006 remake. The remake is a ton of eye gouging fun, but the original is piece of slasher film perfection. In fact, many believe Black Christmas is, in fact, the very first slasher film. I can neither confirm nor deny that, but I can confirm that this movie is full of sassy bitches with a biting sense of humor, a take no bullshit attitude and some pretty hardy livers.
Set in a sorority house during Christmas break, the girls are having a nice evening drinking, smoking and just generally being rad when their fun is interrupted by an obscene phone call. When Jess (Olivia Hussey) alerts the ladies that “the moaner” is on the phone, they all gather round and listen to him be incredibly vulgar. Maybe I’m old, but the use of C.U.Next.Tuesday seems pretty progressive for the year the film was made. Barb (Margot Kidder) is nothing but amused by this and is not at all alarmed. The other girls aren’t so sure it’s harmless.
So, Clare has gone missing and only her father seems to really care about this. Her father visits the house and after having a delightful encounter with the boozy, foul mouthed house mother, they all go to the police station to report Clare missing. Seriously, nobody seems overly concerned that she’s missing. After a young girl is found murdered in the park, everyone finally gets properly scared and they call the police.
The police set up a tap on the house phone in hopes of finding the caller. As the calls keep coming into the house, the level of stress and discord in the house escalates as well. We have a girl with a drinking problem, (Barb, I love you and wish you could come to my holiday party), a girl who has decided to have an abortion despite her boyfriend’s opposing wishes, a house mother who hides liquor all over the house and the token practical girl. All of these different personalities create specific distractions for each girl and this is what enables the killer to dispatch of the ladies one by one without anyone really noticing.
There are many different and clever distractions used to lure the girls and some really fantastic kill scenes. As with all great slasher films, it’s what you don’t see that scares you. The kills are suspenseful and quick; just like they should be. One particular death is really quite beautifully done. It’s very stylish and effective without being graphic or over the top. Less really is more.
Whether you have never seen Black Christmas or you just haven’t seen it recently, I highly encourage you to settle in on one of these cold evenings and spend time with these saucy tarts. These women are all people I would love to spend time with and I love a killer who doesn’t require a backstory. He’s just cray-cray and that’s good enough for me.