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Black Christmas

by

Jeff Nelson

Watch this with the lights off at night....I dare you.

Black Christmas
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When looking at modern slasher films, they're all mainly gore and limbs flying across the screen. However, slasher flicks haven't always been like this. Even those who don't enjoy the modern slashers, but are pleased by horror movies should check out what started this sub-genre.

A sorority house is terrorized by a stranger who makes frightening phone calls and desires to murder the sorority sisters during Christmas break. This isn't all that's occurring throughout the movie. The audience needs to guess who the killer is as it isn't given away. The screenplay is well-written and paces itself well. This isn't a fast moving flick and takes its time to build suspense, tension, and fear. There's plenty of humor before everything goes to hell and the jokes are quite funny. It's only humorous when it's meant to be and never feels out of place. Actually, it makes the atmosphere of the film feel much more natural than it would otherwise.

As I mentioned before, this shouldn't be judged along with other slasher movies. The acting is convincing. Olivia Hussey is our main actress, Jess, and does a wonderful job. She expresses fear well without going over the top, as many actresses do in the more recent horror movies. Margot Kidder gives a fantastic performance as Barb and makes her character feel very natural for the viewers. John Saxon is a very popular horror actor and is definitely in familiar territory. Cops are generally unlikable characters in movies such as these and do ridiculous actions that nobody would ever do. John Saxon makes his character likable in all respects and brings a lot to his character.

This is a rated R slasher flick without loads of gore. There are deaths, some shown on screen and others not, but they are quite tame compared to today's standards. There's blood, but it's a small amount. The atmosphere is what makes this film so creepy. The house lighting alone sets the mood enough. It's often dim and works to the film's advantage.

This Canadian horror film is perhaps one of the very first slasher movies to ever be released across the world. It's before Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, and Jason Voorhees were in existence. I don't want to spoil any of the creepy moments, but the phone calls that occur throughout the film are some of the most emotionally disturbing scenes you'll witness. This film packs a punch that isn't easy to shake off. The ending is sure to confuse some, but it leaves the movie hanging for you to picture for yourself. Black Christmas (1974) is an outstanding horror film that just might convert the nay-sayers who say slashers don't have depth. This is a haunting and chilling film that sticks with you. Watch this with the lights off at night....I dare you.

My Rating = Four Stars

Next movie: Candyman
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