Black Christmas (1974) vs. Halloween (1978)

Discussion in 'Reader Polls' started by vampyr789, Dec 26, 2008.

?

Black Christmas (1974) vs. Halloween (1978)

  1. Black Christmas

    17 vote(s)
    31.5%
  2. Halloween

    37 vote(s)
    68.5%
  1. vampyr789

    vampyr789 9, 10. Never Sleep Again.

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Messages:
    1,874
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Texas
  2. YottNik

    YottNik Pay the price!

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2006
    Messages:
    2,195
    Likes Received:
    158
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    BFE, Ohio
    I love them both but I gotta go with Black Christmas. There's just a certain mood in that film that gets me every time.
     
  3. Matt89

    Matt89 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2004
    Messages:
    5,693
    Likes Received:
    962
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Toronto
    Shit, this is hard. These are two of the greatest horror films ever made, but I've gotta give it to Black Christmas because Halloween was CLEARLY inspired by Black Christmas. Down to some of the same camera angles.

    ~Matt
     
  4. NaturesMistake

    NaturesMistake Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2006
    Messages:
    500
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Really hard, Black Christmas edges out.
     
  5. vampyr789

    vampyr789 9, 10. Never Sleep Again.

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Messages:
    1,874
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Texas
    i also had to give the edge to Black Christmas. it has a certain atmosphere, and an overwhelming sense of dread. extremly creepy.

    btw, i like Billy better than Michael. Billy is just well, more outspoken..., and a hell of a lot scarier. all michael does is stare.

    Matt, you're right, two of the greatest horror films ever made, i knew this would be a hard poll! :rolleyes:
     
  6. Katatonia

    Katatonia Hellbound Heart

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2003
    Messages:
    20,639
    Likes Received:
    1,388
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Missouri
    As much as I love both, I've gotta go with Halloween.
     
  7. Gore Lunatic

    Gore Lunatic Violenza Carnale

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2003
    Messages:
    1,290
    Likes Received:
    62
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    With the worms
    Same here.
     
  8. Erick H.

    Erick H. Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2004
    Messages:
    9,403
    Likes Received:
    135
    Trophy Points:
    63
    REALLY hard call.HALLOWEEN was clearly the more influential(it's the film that many followers were trying to copy) BUT HALLOWEEN was inspired by BLACK CHRISTMAS (as well as some others).Therefore producers who thought they were just ripping off HALLOWEEN were actually also ripping off the less well known (but earlier) BLACK CHRISTMAS.
    As a film I think CHRISTMAS is the more original work.The straightforwardness of HALLOWEEN and it's iconic imagery have had a bigger impact though.So what casts the bigger shadow,the seed or the tree that sprang from it ? Tough call.
     
  9. shape22

    shape22 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2005
    Messages:
    1,818
    Likes Received:
    356
    Trophy Points:
    83
    This isn't a hard one for me. I love both movies. And Halloween's debt to Black Christmas is obvious. But I think Halloween is a superior film in almost every way.

    Don't you guys agree that the sophomoric humor really interrupts the momentum of Black Christmas? Clark does a great job of creating a truly creepy atmosphere only to completely dissipate it with too much Mrs. Mac, Margot Kidder, and Sergeant Nash. I'm really surprised that someone hasn't taken it upon himself to create a fan edit of Black Christmas. Without the juvenile humor it could be a truly unsettling 70-75-minute ride. The phone calls are extremely disturbing and the killer is genuinely scary. I just wish Clark would have committed to those elements as wholly as JC did in Halloween.

    I will always believe that Halloween is the best paced horror film ever. It establishes a mood of dread in the opening scene and relentlessly builds on it through the final frame. The TV cut makes it totally apparent that Carpenter's original version was perfect. The extra scenes in the TV version hurt the forward momentum of the movie the same way the jarring humor harms Black Christmas.

    Just my two cents of course. I really enjoy both films and had a great time watching Black Christmas last night. But I think Halloween is a lot more consistent movie.
     
  10. DVD-fanatic-9

    DVD-fanatic-9 And the Next Morning, When the Campers Woke Up...

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2007
    Messages:
    5,079
    Likes Received:
    411
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Horror
    Halloween.

    It's less bogged down by bad humor. Black Christmas is amazingly atmospheric, creepy, and scary - but the humor weighs the film down hugely.



    Didn't see this reply.

    That's exactly my problem. It's very juvenile. And then when I hear how Clark really had a problem with Deranged... I get really conservative and think- well, Porky's is way more disgusting than Deranged is.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2008
  11. Paff

    Paff Super Moderator

    Joined:
    May 14, 2000
    Messages:
    8,072
    Likes Received:
    401
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    SoCal
    Absolutely not. The humor is what makes Black Christmas so memorable. It's what makes it stand out from the others. Plus, the jokes are totally Bob Clark's style (remember, he would go on to direct Porky's and A Christmas Story, and you can see distinct elements of both films in Black Christmas).

    The humor provides a break from the horror, and that's what makes the horror scenes so much more intense. First, you're laughing at Barb's description of the turtles, next thing you know she's getting stabbed with a figurine. Nash seems like a total moron, then you can hear the intensity in his voice as he warns Jess about the phone calls.

    Contrast is an effective tool in movie making, and is necessary in horror. When something comes at you with the same intensity over and over again, it loses its effectiveness. Black Christmas is an amazing blend of styles, and the whole thing works as a result. I'd go so far as to say it would not be considered a classic if it were not for the humor scenes.
     
  12. Matt89

    Matt89 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2004
    Messages:
    5,693
    Likes Received:
    962
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Toronto
    I cannot agree more with this.

    Funny, I think Black Christmas is superior to Halloween. I personally think Halloween is a little too serious. And ironically, looking back on these two films, Black Christmas is still FAR more scary than Halloween is. Has a creepier atmosphere and a scarier, more realistic killer.

    I also liked the characters a bit more in Black Christmas. The humor doesn't hurt the film, not everyone in a horror film has to be serious the whole time. Clark was very careful as to where he placed the humor and because of that, the film works. It wasn't like Wes Craven had made the film and included instances of humor that were SO very out of place (like in Last House on the Left).

    ~Matt
     
  13. DVD-fanatic-9

    DVD-fanatic-9 And the Next Morning, When the Campers Woke Up...

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2007
    Messages:
    5,079
    Likes Received:
    411
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Horror
    I disagree. I may remember the humor, but when I think of it, what comes to mind is: unnecessary. And: lame. Maybe there was a reason why, but people who turn into a puddle of jelly-laughing over the mention of "fellatio" are people I ignore and pity. And almost everyone I know feels the same way.

    In fact, if it weren't for the humor, Black Christmas would probably be a full-fledged masterpiece.
     
  14. Paff

    Paff Super Moderator

    Joined:
    May 14, 2000
    Messages:
    8,072
    Likes Received:
    401
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    SoCal
    Funny, I was just about to mention the "fellatio" reference. And that too is in perfect context.

    We don't know much about the town where Black Christmas takes place (I don't think it's supposed to be Canada, despite the hockey and the "aboat" accents), but I do believe it is supposed to be a very small town, not hip at all. Barb is from "the city", as well as being a bit pseudo-intellectual as a college student. I think she thought the "fellatio" exchange would go over Nash's head, and felt quite self-important and superior to do it. To her, that's class.

    The joke works, and especially with the giggling assistant in the background when John Saxon reads the note. Very similar technique to something that happens several times in Porky's.
     
  15. shape22

    shape22 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2005
    Messages:
    1,818
    Likes Received:
    356
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Absolutely. And Paff, you are framing my comments about this specific movie in a larger context that I didn't intend. I have no objection to humor in horror films. There are legitimate classics, like Jaws, where the humor and horror are equally effective.

    But the humor in Black Christmas brings the film to a dead halt. I know it's Clark's style of humor. And I enjoy that type of humor in the other films you mentioned. But it makes the film as schizophrenic as Billy himself.

    Halloween has humor, like in the "Hey Lonnie" scene. And you are absolutely right, it strengthens the later shocks by allowing the audience a chance to breathe and chuckle nervously for a second. But it doesn't complete alter the mood of the film, go over the top, or overstay its welcome. And it's not so low-brow that you think you're suddenly watching a different movie.

    We just completely disagree on this. And that's cool.
     
  16. DVD-fanatic-9

    DVD-fanatic-9 And the Next Morning, When the Campers Woke Up...

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2007
    Messages:
    5,079
    Likes Received:
    411
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Horror
    The only reason, in my opinion, anyone defends the humor in Black Christmas- is that they found it amusing. Not because it actually was good for the movie at all. And a little bit goes a long way. A little of drunken Margot Kidder is one thing. But Nash as a 2nd-rate Barney Fife is too much. That's when you know - 'your cup runneth over, Mr. Clark.'

    Halloween is more spooky than outright scary. But that spooky is a lot more spooky than Black Christmas is creepy. I always had a problem with the threatening caller first being revealed as a simple pervert talking about "piggy pink cunts," then losing his sanity, etc. Maybe on some other planet that means he honestly suffered from multiple personality disorder. But if you ask me, Clark played that "Moaner" scene more to set up how raunchy Barb is in comparison. Otherwise, the perversion of that one call has no place anywhere in the movie.



    Fuck Porky's.

    Sorry, but what works for a comedy doesn't always work for a horror film. And I shouldn't be expected to like this film and Porky's. Which I know you're not saying I should, but what works for Porky's is best left in Porky's.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2008
  17. eric_angelus

    eric_angelus Testacular

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2004
    Messages:
    1,944
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Framingham, MA
    Halloween is my all time favorite...love Black Christmas as well.
     
  18. Mitbox

    Mitbox Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2008
    Messages:
    294
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Chile
    My two favorites from all time...it's like choosing between 2 sons, you just can't do that.
    With a tear in my face, I'll choose Black Christmas, but its close, by a bald frog's hair.
     
  19. Harry Warden

    Harry Warden Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2008
    Messages:
    3,848
    Likes Received:
    1,105
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Hermitage, Pennsylvania
    Black Christmas by the slightest edge.
     
  20. Matt89

    Matt89 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2004
    Messages:
    5,693
    Likes Received:
    962
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Toronto
    Well the main difference between the two films is that Black Christmas still comes off as scary. Halloween doesn't really work as well as Blachk Christmas does anymore. Reasons being, there was a screening of Halloween at my school a couple years ago on Halloween - and these are a bunch of film students watching this here - and people were STILL laughing at moments that weren't meant to be laughed at. The creepiness of Halloween has clearly lost some of its glamour over the years. And I've watched Black Christmas with individuals over the years and almost every single one of them walks away a bit shaken. With Halloween, and this isn't a fault of the film itself but more a fault of its genre, is that it ends up being quite cliché'd. Black Christmas, from what I've seen and experienced, has held up much better than Halloween has.

    I'm not saying that Halloween is a bad film, no. I'm just saying that well, Black Christmas has lasted and held up a little better than Halloween has. And well, the reason people defend the humor, you're absolutely right, is because it's amusing. It works within the film. Sure Nash is an idiot, there are many idiot cops out there. But the humor is amusing, not frustrating like it is in a movie like The Last House on the Left. If you look at many horror films, there's a bit of humor to be found in almost all of them.

    I still don't see how the first phonecall was so out of place. Sure, they started out as perversive, but then we slowly begin to see how serious an issue this is, and how his calls quite quickly turn sinister. Sure Barb is foul-mouthed, but what's wrong with that? These are girls in a sorority. And like Barb makes quite clear in the movie, and it's CERTAINLY true in real life, it's a sorority house, not a convent.

    ~Matt
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2008

Share This Page