I resisted the pull of Black Christmas (Clark, 1974) for a very long time. Too long. I thought it was going to be too scary (it is), or too violent (it’s not), or too gory (not really). When I finally watched it several years ago, I was delighted that it continually ratchets up the tension and terror through an iconic soundscape and a fiendishly economical script full of complex characters and situations. If you are a script aficionado, study this one. Assess what it leaves out yet manages to build and achieve in atmosphere, dialogue and character development. How does this little film manage to remain so ambiguous and yet so memorable?
Though I chose Black Christmas to kick off our Cole-o-ween October celebration, I think it can be appreciated during the Christmas season as well. Because nothing says togetherness like gathering your loved ones ’round to watch death by asphyxiation, impalement, exsanguination, and blunt trauma. It could come right after your viewing of A Christmas Carol, the original holiday horror.
What you’ll find in this episode: an analysis of the level of violence in the film, the song stylings of Ericca, genre tropes pioneered by this film then evolved or forgotten later, and 1001 places to hide a bottle of sherry.
Links and Recommendations:
Check out Black Christmas on IMDB.
Ericca’s further viewing pick of Good Neighbours.
Cole’s further viewing pick of Alice, Sweet Alice.
Just a few of the reasons why Canada is awesome.
A brief review of some of the best and worst depictions of abortion in film and television.
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