View Full Version : Black Christmas DVD

02-02-2001, 12:47 PM
I just watched the Canadian Black Christmas DVD today, and must say, I was pretty impressed with the film. I found it pretty unnerving, a well crafted story. The plot didn't seem to have any holes or plain stupidity in it (ala every other slasher flick since (including Halloween)). There were no "you got to be kidding" moments in Black Christmas (like in Halloween where Laurie stick Myers with a pin and thinks she killed him). And no mumbo jumbo like the killer being "an incarnation of pure evil", or "unstopable". And the phone calls from the killer were particularly unsettling... And the ending...

The transfer is pretty nice too.

Don't get me wrong, I love Halloween, but it is more of a fun, extremely well crafted film, like all of Carpenter's work. Hell, the only films of Carpenter's I don't have are Starman and Escape from LA...

Oh yeah, A&B Sound have it pretty cheap too. I have seen them for sale at stupid prices at some US specialist stores...

Ah, shit, I probably should have put this under Slasher's forum, but I'm not sure if it actually fits in that category. :)

Mark Relford
02-02-2001, 06:23 PM
Yeah, it's a great flick. How much is it at A&B Sound?

02-02-2001, 08:17 PM
Here's everyone I could find:

A&B Sound (http://www.absound.ca/music/dvd/dvd.html) = $13.94 + $?.?? shipping

Chapters.ca (http://www.chapters.ca/DVD/Details/default.asp?UPC=778854126992&WSID=17029A92758CF2B04A82A4F32FAE0A8EAE262502&mscssid=C38PJ8X6B0S92GKV00AKHCJKTB5MESA7) = $21.29 + $6.00 shipping

Direct Video (http://www.directvideo.com/index.cgi?Mode=Search&Skip=306&Field=&Search=^b&Format=DVD) = $15.26 + $?.?? shipping

DV-Depot (http://www.dv-depot.com/dvdepot.storefront/3a7b0db8000f05382742ac1002010576/Product/View/42162) = $21.95 + $?.?? shipping

DVD Box Office (http://www.dvdboxoffice.com/description.asp?id=C2102499-E48D-4475-A6F1-85F1B99AB3F7&dollarvalue=1.45&country=usd&browser=IE4plus&pid=90002350) = $16.52 (free shipping)

DVD Dynamic (http://www.dvddynamic.com/product.asp?itemid=DVD5865) = $16.54 (free shipping)

DVD's Galore (http://www.dvdgalore.com/TheDVDStore/triller_horrorlibrarya_c.htm) = $16.53 + $2.00 shipping

DVD Pizza (http://www.dvdpizza.com/cgi-bin/miva?Merchant2/merchant.mv+Screen=PROD&Store_Code=00000001&Product_Code=D01000006557) = $17.30 + $?.?? shipping

eBay (http://search.ebay.com/search/search.dll?MfcISAPICommand=GetResult&ht=1&SortProperty=MetaEndSort&query=black+christmas+dvd) = currently $10.49 through $24.95

Entertainment Warehouse (http://www.dvd-plus.com/catalog_detail.asp?recordno=6126&catlist=6126) = $20.10 + $5.84 shipping

Laser Quest (http://members.home.net/laserquest/) = $14.41 + $?.?? shipping

VideoFlicks (http://www.videoflicks.com/VF2/1002/1002484.ihtml) = $19.99 + $2.99 shipping

I got mine through VideoFlicks. Never used any of the others.

Regardless of where you get it, this is a must have disc and must see film.

02-02-2001, 08:19 PM
About $US14 plus about $3 postage to anywhere in the world... You might be able to find it cheaper elsewhere, but I'm not sure. You can find it here (http://www.absound.ca/music/dvd/dvd.html).

Just did some checking, and you can buy it for about US$16.50 shipped at DVD Boxoffice (http://www.dvdboxoffice.com/). Hell, I should have bought mine from there... :( Only 50c, though :)

The transfer is open matte (as it was originally intended). The laserdisc is in fact just matted down.

Mark Relford
02-02-2001, 09:11 PM
Thanks, Squiggy and napalm68!

02-02-2001, 09:20 PM
Both myself and local friends have used A&B and BoxOffice successfully, and would recommend them. Not sure on any of the others listed there. I think Chapters.ca has it too, but they are expensive for shipping outside of Canada.

02-02-2001, 10:33 PM
Yup, added Chapters.ca to my list. Thanks. Sure are correct about the nasty shipping rates too.

A&B lists it as OOS. DVDBO doesn't say, but may be the best bet with free shipping if they have it. Of course, you can always take whatever the cheapest price is and bid that on eBay. Maybe you'll get lucky that way.

02-02-2001, 10:56 PM
I ordered mine from Dvd Boxoffice (http://www.dvdboxoffice.com)www.dvdboxoffice.com. It only took 3 days to get to me in Virginia and the shipping was free. I would go with them they are great and fast. :D

02-03-2001, 12:57 AM
Black Christmas is the best slasher film of all time in my opinion, and it is in my top 5 favorite movies! I love this film! I got the DVD from DVDBoxoffice, but I didn't receive mine until about two weeks after I ordered it here in Texas. :rolleyes:

02-03-2001, 01:14 AM
I have used A&B Sound in the past (to get the Good Will Hunting Canadian DVD :D) and their service is pretty good. Since they're finally offering Black Christmas (last time I was on their website, I saw no mention of it) I will purchase the film soon.

02-03-2001, 02:18 AM
I too just finished watching it, and while I enjoyed it, I wasn't quite as impressed with it as you were napalm. The ending, while ambitious, I felt it should have been stronger. For one, they should have played out the scene with Jess and Peter at the climax, and the end should have been longer...

As for having no "you got to be kidding" moments, I certainly saw my share.


For one, I don't see how the killer could get outside to deal with the police officer when not only is he making several calls from inside the house, but also the fact that the streets are swarming with people, either carollers or search party members. What about those calls from inside the house? He was yelling pretty loudly on the phone, I highly doubt Jess wouldn't be able to tell he was in the house. Another thing I found hard to believe is how the police failed to search the entire house at the end, when they still knew that there were bodies missing.

Don't get me wrong, I think this film is indeed a classic, but it isn't without its flaws. Call me crazy, but I think that Carpenter did a better job with Halloween as far as scaring the audience goes...

02-03-2001, 08:33 AM

Rhett, I don't quite agree with your points - there where some carollers who they made a point of taking all home when they realised a murderer was about. The streets where hardly "swarming" - it was the dead of winter in a very cold locale... Sure, there were people later on doing the house to house, but it was cold, and dark, so how long do you think it would take for him to sneak out under cover of darkness and kill the officer? Given that in the starting sequence, he managed to climb into the attic from the front lawn in about two minutes, he could have done the whole thing in say 10.

And not performing a full search of the house at the end - well, they were not looking for the frat mother, and the missing girl they were still looking for, and they thought the killer was dead, and all other bodies they had found had been left where they were killed. Sure enough they would have found them eventually, but that's what I liked about it, leaving it open ended - was Hussey's character going to die, or when where they going to find them, or catch the killer.

As far as them not hearing him - the house was pretty big, and I don't think he would have been doing it with the door open... That is still plausible in my opinon.

Mark Relford
02-16-2001, 05:48 AM
It was great watching this classic slasher again. Black Christmas is still chilling and effective after all of these years. (Makes a great double feature with Clark's A Christmas Story.) :D
WTF happened to director Bob Clark? He has made some top-notch horror films that would make any fearmaker envious. It's a shame that he's doing kiddie crap nowadays. :(

02-16-2001, 06:21 AM
Damn! I live in Canada and I bought mine when it came out for 21.99

02-16-2001, 08:41 AM
Did a visitor smuggle it to you in Jail? :) Where did he/she hide it?

(Just making fun of your location)

02-16-2001, 09:10 AM
To tell you the truth I traded a pack of smokes for it.

02-16-2001, 10:17 AM
Heh, heh, that's a pretty good deal :)

02-16-2001, 06:09 PM
Mark, I agree whole-heartedly w/you about Bob Clark...he should've been the one to remake THE HAUNTING

02-17-2001, 01:38 AM
I like the fact that Black Christmas doesn't exactly have a happy ending. I guess that's why I like Children... too. Though I've not seen Deranged or Death Dream, I'm interested in seeing them to find out if the "unhappy ending" holds for these films as well.

02-17-2001, 02:53 AM

Both Deathdream and Deranged have intriguing, downbeat conclusions.
Deathdream is by far the better of the two films. Also, although it is not as technically accomplished or impressive overall as Black Christmas, it has a much more interesting, haunting theme, and some amazing visuals, especially in the first half. It also sports a typically brilliant, creepy score from Carl Zittrer, who did most of Clark's films. The only downside is that the low budget is sometimes embarrassingly evident: occasionally garish lighting; unconvincing extras; a poorly filmed car chase. Still it's an excellent film. The best scene is the one in the doctor's office at night. It's one of the scariest sequences ever filmed, especially the moment when the doctor tries to close the door and gets a nasty surprise (you'll know what I'm talking about when you see it).
Deranged, on the other hand, was not directed by Bob Clark. I don't know if he even had any part in its making. I read somewhere that he disowned his involvement for some reason. Two of his regular writers, Alan Ormsby and Jeff Gillen, directed it, and several other members of Clark's production team were also involved. It's quite a good film (generally well made), but if you're expecting something terrific along the lines of Clark's work you'll be disappointed, in my opinion. There are a couple of truly great scenes (a woman discovering corpses sitting around the dinner table; the stalking scene near the end; the creepy final zoom in to Robert Blossom's face), but overall it's disappointingly unscary. Even normally superb composer Carl Zittrer contributes a lackluster music score.
Another film I highly recommend to anyone interested in Bob Clark's style is "Murder by Decree" (1978). Don't be put off by the fact that the story concerns Sherlock Holmes and Jack the Ripper. I think it's the equal of Deathdream, and it also showcases the director's inimitable control of atmosphere and suspense.

By the way, for anyone interested, a couple of weeks ago I phoned Critical Mass, the company that produced the Black Christmas disc, to applaud the people for their work on the film, but mainly to ask about rumors of a Deathdream DVD in the works. The guy told me that the company was looking into getting the rights for Deathdream, Murder by Decree, and Death Ship (as if anyone wants that one), but since it's a very small, new company, things will move very slowly until its next release. I hope their attempts are successful.

Mark Relford
02-17-2001, 06:19 AM
Welcome to the forum, filmbuff. :)
You're right about Clark not being involved with Deranged. In a Fango retrospective on the film, producer, Karr states that Clark only acted as mentor.

02-17-2001, 07:05 AM
I hope someone can release the 1976 Bob Clark action picture BREAKING POINT. It was shot in panavision, so a 2.35 widescreen transfer would be nice. Also one of the best 70's revenge action film, the best non WALKING TALK action film Bo Sevnson ever did, plus for its time, a unique synterizer (sp?) score, something that wasnt done in major studio films at the time! its a 20th century Fox film!

02-17-2001, 08:23 AM
That's good news about Critical Mass trying to get Death Dream. I have been wanting to see that film for some time.

That was mighty nice of you to call them up. Do they have an email address? I should write and thank them. Man, what a good job of a first transfer. And very nicely priced, too, especially given it was a new transfer, not just ripped from the laserdisc (which was a horrible matted faux-widescreen).

02-17-2001, 04:50 PM
Thanks for the welcome Mark.

Napalm, I don't know their Email address, if they even have one. Calling from North America, their phone number is (416) 538-2535 (overseas callers have to use additional area codes). Their address (I don't know the postal code, but any mail should arrive even without it) is: 77 Mowat Ave. , Toronto, Ont. CANADA
I'm sure they would appreciate any signs of appreciation from fans and encouragement for future projects.

02-18-2001, 03:52 AM
I finally got my back order copy of Black Christmas and I am pretty pleased with it. The transfer looks much better than I thought it would, and it is nice to see that some work was put into the DVD. I am not sure if we've debated this on this form yet, but I have questions regarding as to whether or not BC was actually intended for a 1.33:1 aspect ratio. There are several scenes that seem real cramped, and there were a couple times where the boom was visible (take a look at 6:57), and although it says on the packaging that 1.33:1 is the true ratio, I somehow trust IMDb a little more than VSC. Besdies, if you look at movies like Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things, which was released before BC, or Breaking Point, which was released shortly after, they had 1.85:1 and 2.35:1 ratios repectively, so I highly doubt it was shot in full frame. Regardless of the ratio complaints, this is definitely a great restoration and a nice DVD. :)

02-18-2001, 04:28 AM
If several scenes looked really cramped, imagine how cramped they would be is you had a matt at the top and bottom. It is open matte, not P&S - so regardless of any WS aspect ratio, the picture width would not change.

I tend to trust Critical Mass more than IMDB...

02-18-2001, 11:25 AM
I just find it hard to believe that someone would go from shooting a series of 1.85:1 and 2.35:1 films to a 1.33:1 ratio for BC...

02-18-2001, 11:56 AM
You could be right. But as I only have a 4:3 TV, I like it in this open matte version.

06-03-2001, 03:49 AM
Wow! This was a great movie. Incredible. I cant believe I let it sit on my shelf for so long. I wanted to add one thing to the comment rhett made about it being an ambigious and unimpressive ending. BUT IT IS A SPOILER.


The killer only made the phone calls AFTER he committed a murder. As the camera pulls back you hear the phone ringing. I found that chilling. Way more than anything they could have possible shown onscreen.

06-04-2001, 01:46 AM
When I mentioned the ending I was referring to the climax in particular.


I love the phone ringing at the end, it is indeed very eerie and a great way to tie up the film. But the climax just fell short for me, as I was expecting much more from the confrontation between Jess and Peter. Don't get me wrong though, this is one of my favorite horror films and the DVD has had quite a lengthy play life in my player. I just think that as far as slashers go Halloween is the best, bar none. BC may have inspired it, but Halloween does it all better.

06-07-2001, 06:58 AM
I really loved this film but I was kinda dissapointed that the killer was never revealed. I also would have enjoyed a lengthier climax between Peter and Jess.