So, the Snooty Ushers have all got our own areas of expertise. I’m obviously well on my way to becoming a world-renowned Chritsmas film expert – but if there was a Superman Christmas film, I would ask Dave for some help. When Pretty Little Liars release a theatrical seasonal film, Welshy will be my first port of call. And with a horror film, especially one as iconic and influential as this one, I turn to the original Snooty Usher. For the first time this Countdown, I am turning the bulk of the review over to Dan, and I’ll be back again to give my thoughts. Take it away!
And today it’s…
28th November, Day 29
Black Christmas (Bob Clark, 1974)
It’s Christmas break and the girls of a sorority house are getting ready to meet family, friends and loved ones during the festive season. Then one night a haunting phone call comes in, and a mysterious caller breathing heavily down the phone disturbs the girls left at the house. After Barb (a pre Superman Margot Kidder) taunts the unknown caller, the voice responds threatening to kill them all. Not before long one of the girls falls victim to the unknown killer leaving the others paranoid and fearing for their lives.
Alongside Halloween, Peeping Tom and Psycho, Black Christmas is one of the forefathers of the slasher genre. In fact we love it so much it made Dans personal top 5 Christmas horror films. It’s a brooding, deftly paced slasher film that demonstrates excellence without getting gory. With confidence we can say that they don’t make them like this anymore. Now as good a horror film as this is, it’s most certainly not the most pleasant film to watch at Christmas. Creepy unsettling phonecalls and families losing loved ones aren’t themes that’ll make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, but they do contribute to an incredibly effective horror film.
Thanks a lot Dan. This really is a classic horror film, with a truly terrifying stillness. The tension created in the silence is remarkable. Although there is no gore, the murders are instantly memorable, and absolutely sickening. The father/daughter relationship is well done, and although the sorority are all teenagers (just about, some may be early twenties I suppose) they are presented as adults – silly adults at times, but still grown ups.
Probably most shocking of all, there are also some laughs in this film. These just makes the sheer horror of the events even more… horrific? I’m not sure enjoyable is the right word, but this a must for any horror fan. And what a final tracking shot!
Overall, I – we – give this
A belter of a horror film, there are some Christmas elements that make it work.
And that’s it for today, we hope you enjoy this slice of cheerful Christmas film. We’re 29 down, a few more to go, and up next is the Sinbad classic Jingle All the Way, (also starring Arnold Schwarzenegger).
Until next time, stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold. See you soonish.
PS Here’s my list so far
31st October, Day 1: The Nightmare Before Christmas
1st November, Day 2: Rocky IV
2nd November, Day 3: Edward Scissorhands
3rd November, Day 4: Trading Places
4th November, Day 5: Batman Returns
5th November, Day 6: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
6th November, Day 7: Gremlins
7th November, Day 8: Eyes Wide Shut
8th November, Day 9: Love Actually
9th November, Day 10: Lethal Weapon
10th November, Day 11: Die Hard / Die Hard 2
11th November, Day 12: About A Boy
12th November, Day 13: Trapped In Paradise
13th November, Day 14: Reindeer Games
14th November, Day 15: Joyeux Noel
15th November, Day 16: Nativity / Nativity 2 / Nativity 3: Dude, Where’s My Donkey?
16th November, Day 17: Jack Frost
17th November, Day 18: Jack Frost
18th November, Day 19: Arthur Christmas
19th November, Day 20: The Santa Clause / The Santa Clause 2 / The Santa Clause 3
20th November, Day 21: Miracle On 34th Street
21st November, Day 22: Miracle On 34th Street
22nd November, Day 23: Scrooged
23rd November, Day 24: Scrooge
24th November, Day 25: The Muppet’s Christmas Carol
25th November, Day 26: Elf
26th November, Day 27: Home Alone / Home Alone 2
27th November, Day 28: The Grinch
28th November, Day 29: Black Christmas