Black Christmas (1974)

Discussion in 'Slashers' started by J.C., Feb 8, 2009.

  1. CPT HOOK

    CPT HOOK Well-Known Member

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    This was also on Turner Classic movies last night. I've seen it about 100 times, but I watched it again.

    In my opinion, this is the best slasher film ever made.
     
  2. rhett

    rhett Administrator

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    Watched this with the lady last night. It was her first time watching it. This time around I was really mesmerized by the cinematography, I'd forgotten just how virtuoso most of the camerawork is in that movie. I always remembered the wide angle POV shots, but there are a ton of dolly, zooms and focus pulls that really give the film a visual pep. It's such an understated movie that even the standout camera work seems almost invisible behind the naturalist direction by Clark. I'd also forgotten how much comedy there was in the film, but like CHILDREN SHOULDN'T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS Clark pulls it out of natural circumstances and scenarios, and rather than take away from the suspense it instead gives us a greater investment in the horror because we know and care about the characters so much more from the comedy.

    I am going to kill you.
     
  3. CPT HOOK

    CPT HOOK Well-Known Member

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    ^ Did she enjoy the film?
     
  4. rhett

    rhett Administrator

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    Yeah, loved it. She's a big fan of the less-is-more slashers like Halloween and thought the whole movie was well done. She was visibly unsettled by those phone calls and enjoyed all the red herrings with the Keir Dullea character.

    One thing that I never quite liked story-wise in the film, though, is
    how Billy goes and kills the cop in the car outside. Seems sort of out of character for a guy who was otherwise just stewing in the attic or upstairs in the sorority house the rest of the movie. He's obviously off his, um, rocker, and that seems a little too calculated for someone that crazy. It sort of introduces the ol' "the killer is everywhere at once" fallacy that plagues a lot of horror movies.

    Just leaving Olivia Hussey alone at the end after everything that happened is also a little sketchy for me. The payoff is great, and Clark does try to make it plausible by having Claire's father faint and in need of emergency assistance. Still, there's just been a massive killing spree and none of the facts should be even close to certain yet, and they just leave her alone? Yeah, there's a cop outside, but, well, we saw what happened to the last one.
     
  5. CPT HOOK

    CPT HOOK Well-Known Member

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    I do agree about the ending.

    You'd think with the house being the scene of the crime, and knowing that Claire is still missing, they would have searched the entire house.

    But the rest is so flawlessly executed, this is easily overlooked by me. Really love the end credits, with
    the ringing phone.
     
  6. dickieduvet

    dickieduvet Member

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    Just finished watching this again on Blu-Ray, Watch it every year at Xmas. One of my all time favourites. Fellatio :)
     
  7. rhett

    rhett Administrator

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    Yeah, I'm a fan of fellatio as well.

    It's the new exchange, F-E.
     
  8. dickieduvet

    dickieduvet Member

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    :lol::lol::lol: :banana:
     
  9. Fistfuck

    Fistfuck Slowest to 2000 posts

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    Re: the ending

    It would make more sense to me that they'd take her to a hospital, if not for physical wounds so much as trauma and shock. I think we're particularly uncomfortable with this ending because we know Claire is pregnant and, with the killer still inside, her death most likely imminent. I wish they could have found a way to keep the stinger without fudging believability.
     
  10. 17thJuggalo

    17thJuggalo Active Member

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    I'll have to watch this one again for the holiday. This movie still creeps me out!

    However now that we have cell phones, caller ID, and Google searches, that same sort of creepiness would be hard to create modern day.
     
  11. Ash28M

    Ash28M Active Member

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    I've never really had a problem with the ending.

    I've seen enough true crime docs to know cops make mistakes all the time. They thought the killer was dead so they didn't see an eminent threat and so they let her rest for a couple of hours while a cop stood guard. Not so hard to believe. I do agree that killing the cops outside was a bit out of character.
     
  12. Fistfuck

    Fistfuck Slowest to 2000 posts

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    Which brings up a good question as to whether or not certain periods of film will be translatable once a given generation comes of age - probably Gen Y's kids. We're old enough that we can remember a time before everything you just mentioned and I wonder how alien this time may seem to so someone who only knows Google and cell phones, etc.
     
  13. It's me Billy

    It's me Billy New Member

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    I think it's the best Christmas themed horror film out there. Maybe even the best horror film ever. It's right up there with The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) in my opinion. Every Christmas I have a triple feature consisting of Black Christmas (1974), Black Christmas (2006), and Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984). Good stuff.
     
  14. Zillamon51

    Zillamon51 Member

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    I just saw the original Black Christmas for the first time this weekend, thanks to TCM. It was good, but it wasn't all that like it's been hyped up to be on these boards.

    I liked: Good performances all around, characters that felt 'real' in a way much more common in '70s films than today, and a creepy vibe throughout.

    I didn't like: Rarely getting to see the killer in action (Halloween is also relatively bloodless but still much more violent), and learning nothing about the killer. His elaborate phone calls w/ the multiple voices and references to unknown people / events begs for some kind of backstory or motivation on his part, but we get nothing. I just assumed he was a nutball w/ an abusive past living unseen in the walls / basement / attic of the house, but I realized at the end I got that idea from the remake. So what gives? Who the fuck is Billy? :mad:

    So, BC is good, but it felt incomplete to me. (I too, found the ending implausible, for the reasons stated by other posters.) It's certainly not better than Halloween, still the holiday slasher champion. I did go ahead and order the Blu-ray though (only $10 @ Best Buy). Fellatio is priceless. :)
     
  15. j tea

    j tea New Member

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    I think after a few viewings and assimilating all of the prank phone calls you get the sense that Agnes and Billy are probably from the killer's childhood. My guess is that the killer is Billy and that he killed his sister Agnes. I don't know that it is all that important though. I think the atmosphere of BC completely crushes Halloween. It is so much more haunting and real. The big empty house towards the end when everyone has left or been killed seems to creak and yawn. I also love how brown the whole movie is.
     
  16. Ash28M

    Ash28M Active Member

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    For me Black Christmas seems to gain more substance each time I see it while Halloween seems to get thinner.
     
  17. Fistfuck

    Fistfuck Slowest to 2000 posts

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    I guess if you don't get why Billy/Agnes remain a mystery, it's fruitless to explain why it's such an effective conceit. For the majority of us who appreciate Black Christmas, the fact that someone is flipping out over the phone about shit these poor girls aren't in any way connected with is what makes the film terrifying.
     
  18. Dobby

    Dobby Well-Known Member

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    Yeah have to agree with you on that. I'd still like to know who the killer is? :confused:
     
  19. wago70

    wago70 Surviving on nostalgia

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    Those are the reasons why the film is so good. Halloween and it's sequels explained too much and the mystery was gone by the end of Part 2 - meaning Laurie wasn't some random victim (as any of us could have been which made the first movie scary) and killers m.o. was so that most were safe. This guy in Black Christmas sneaks in a house off the street...it could happen anywhere.
     
  20. j tea

    j tea New Member

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    It's obviously John Saxon's brother.
     

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