View Full Version : Black Christmas Laser Disk...

12-01-2001, 05:11 AM
I just got Black Cristmas in and the aspect ratio is 1.33:1. I recently found out that this is on Lsaer Disk in a letter boxed format. So I was wondering why the change. Any info would be appreciated .

12-01-2001, 08:25 AM
I'm assuming you got the Black Christmas DVD?

Yes, the Laserdisc was 1.85:1. What was freaky about this is that the LD came out in 1999, and was one of the last LDs ever produced by Warner Brothers.

The reason for the difference in aspect ratios, is that the film was SHOT in 1.33:1 ratio, but SHOWN in 1.85:1. To do this, they matte off the top and bottom of the screen. Now, even though this means LESS picture, the director is aware of this and composes his shots for the 1.85:1 frame. The "missing" stuff at the top and bottom of the frame is superfluous.

So the LD has the ratio one would expect at the theater. The DVD has the ratio it was shot in. Neither is "wrong" or "right"

All depends on which you prefer....original shooting ratio or original presentation ratio

p.s. Yes, I have this LD. And it's cool.

12-01-2001, 05:30 PM
Yes Paff your collection is VERY impressive. I would like to know about the picture quality though. I read that it was quite bad and that the DVD was an improvement. Now of course I havn't seen the LD but the DVD doesn't exactly dazzle me if you catch my meaning, so how bad is the LD realy?

12-18-2001, 04:58 PM
The LD is not bad at all, really. I find myself watching the LD more than the DVD anyway - I like the letterboxing composition better.

I have a question about Warner home video: whenever a movie is in the extra wide 2.35:1 ratio, they list on their box as the "anamorphic widescreen" version. When a flat widescreen film is 1.85:1 they always call it the "matted" version. Now, I KNOW there are not THAT MANY matted 1.85:1 films out there! I mean, you do lose side-info on a lot of those films when they're shown without the black bars.

12-19-2001, 01:41 AM
Warner is weird like that.
The one exception I can think of is their theater version of Natural Born Killers, which states "preserving the scope aspect ratio".
That movie is 1.85, and I'm pretty sure is matted. Then again I haven't seen fullscreen version in years, so maybe it's hard-matted like some 1.85 movies are.

12-22-2001, 08:27 PM
I have never seen, nor heard of, Black Christmas, until now. I read a few plot summaries on Amazon, but I'm still curious as to whether it's a film worth owning. God knows that the local Blockbuster doesn't have it for rental, and I won't buy any films without knowing that I'll definitley enjoy it. Any insight to the good points of this film would be greatley appreciated.

Joel Groce
12-22-2001, 09:32 PM
Black Christmas is in my top ten!

Black Christmas is a true classic! It helped to set the stage for so many slashers too follow - including, some say, "Halloween". I actually saw a great review recently to this movie in the Austin Chronicle, an alternative paper here in Austin, Texas. It was really well written - here is a transcript of that review:

Black Christmas (1974)
D: Bob Clark; with Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, John Saxon, Marian Waldman, Andrea Martin, James Edmond, Lynne Griffin.

Before there was You Better Watch Out, before there was Silent Night, Deadly Night, heck, before there was "And All Through the House," the Tales From the Crypt installment starring Larry "Dr. Giggles" Drake as a murderous Santa Claus, there was Black Christmas, a nifty little Yuletide slasher about the deadly goings-on at a sorority house. While the sisters of Pi Kappa Sigma pack up for semester break, sensible, poised coed Hussey receives obscene phone calls that veer between cunnilingus references, pig squeals, and ravings from an obscure conversation. No one is overly concerned until a priggish housemate (Griffin) goes missing. We know what the characters don't: The girl has been suffocated with a dry-cleaning bag and stashed neatly away in the house's attic. Will the next victim be salty sister Barb (a scene-stealing Kidder), a chain-smoking lush who calls her own mother a "gold-plated whore"? Perhaps the tippling housemother (Waldman)? Frizzy-haired, owlish Phyllis (yes, that Andrea Martin, of SCTV)? The pesky house cat, Claude? And what of Peter (2001's Keir Dullea), one of the sister's tortured-soul boyfriends? Along with seminal efforts like Halloween (released four years later, and by some accounts intended as a sequel to Black Christmas) and Mario Bava's Bay of Blood (1971), this modest Canadian production helped inaugurate the conventions of the slasher subgenre. The killer's perspective is rendered with shaky handheld camerawork, his (or her) snorty breath is all over the soundtrack, and the tranquil small-town setting plays for ironic effect, with solemn carols booming from the quaint campus bell tower. Composer Carl Zittrer contributes those rumbly, ominous bass piano notes ubiquitous in thriller films. It's not high art, but Black Christmas is a spare, efficient fright flick. Director Clark had already made something of a name for himself with 1972's zombie knock-off Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things. He'd go on to enjoy one of the most mercurial careers in film history -- you may know him as the director of that other holiday heartwarmer, 1983's A Christmas Story, but the rest of his résumé is a smorgasboard of turkeys, from Rhinestone to the lamentable Baby Geniuses. The surprise here is that Clark's direction is actually good; he draws out the tension with long, slow mise-en-scène shots of the house's spooky hallways and, in one scene, sets up a shot with a barely discernable human shadow in the back of the frame. Worth a look, even if only to cure the insulin shock from all the celluloid sugarplums dancing in your head this time of year.

Hope this helps.

12-22-2001, 09:48 PM
Thanks for the review. I'll probably hunt down the LD on ebay.

12-24-2001, 07:42 AM
I watched my Black Christmas LD tonight ('tis the season...).

Transfer is pretty piss-poor. It's nice to have it in widescreen, but I wanna see how the DVD compares. It's gotta look better. I think the LD has a better cover, but that's about it.

I wouldn't go broke looking for a copy.