One of my all time favorite horror films, returns for its annual showing. If you have never seen this film, you owe it to yourself to see it...forget the crappy remake, this is the real deal and was also a huge influence on the modern day slasher film.
Bob Clark's seminal horror classic Black Christmas is a chilling tale that ranks up there with the best of the genre, even if it's not as well known as its contemporaries. With genuine characters that defy latter-day splatter stereotypes and a risqué abortion subplot added into the mix, the film has a realistic feel that most terror flicks tend to ignore (or do very badly). By deftly utilizing sound and the first-person perspective (predating Michael Myers by four years), director Clark manages to bring the audience into the sick mind of the madman resulting in one of the creepiest maniacs in screen history. Humor is also a key ingredient in the story, as Clark (future genius of Porky's and the holiday classic A Christmas Story) adds enough laughs and smirks to balance out the drama and extreme scares. Margot Kidder has a blast as Barb, a constantly drunk college student who could easily be the focus of the story, though that pleasure belongs to Franco Zeffirelli's Juliet, Olivia Hussey. While her accent might be a tad grating at times, Hussey makes a fine lead, with her tense phone calls with the killer being the highlights. The backbone of the film, however, rests mostly on the supporting players, even if they don't have the most screen time. First and foremost, Marion Waldman is a hoot as Mrs. Mack -- the booze-guzzling head dorm lady. Almost funnier is Doug McGrath as the bumbling cop Nash, whose run-in with Kidder and scenes with genre-fave John Saxon are classic, to say the least. Also noteworthy is an appearance from 2001's Keir Dullea as Hussey's pseudo-crazy boyfriend and a very underrated performance by James Edmond, who brings a welcomed human element to the film as the grieving father of the first victim. Skillfully directed and stylishly executed, Black Christmas is one underappreciated classic sure to get under your skin and stay there long after the lights come up. A sequel taking place on Halloween night was once planned -- but a smash hit from a young director by the name of John Carpenter (coincidentally using the same premise and style -- no offense John) squashed those plans, changing the history of horror films forever.