Warning includes mature content.
Now that Christmas is THIS WEEK, I thought instead of looking at some of the traditional Christmas films you see every year, I would look at a cross over genre horror film. Now I know what you may be thinking ‘Krampus’ (Michael Dougherty, 2015) is exactly that, a new Christmas horror film BUT it is not the original. In 1974 Bob Clark directed the original Black Christmas. However, instead of looking at the classic, I wanted to review the remake because let’s face it; the remakes are always easier to pick apart.
When William Edward (Robert Mann) was young he did not have your normal childhood, he suffered from liver disease, was locked in the attic, was raped by his mother (Karin Konoval), causing her to become pregnant and was classed as a murder after killing his family and eating his mother using cookie cutters. Yikes! As a result of his bad behaviour he is locked in a mental asylum, only to escape and return back to his childhood home and kill the current residents in some rather creative and horrific ways. Kind of like a more disturbing version of John Carpenter’s ‘Halloween’ (1979). Nothing screams Christmas like someone screaming on Christmas.
The film opens with your typical holiday setting, the tree is up, the fairy lights are on and people are wrapping Christmas presents. If I would have though any better I would have believed that I was watching Elf (Jon Favreau, 2003) but this was quickly ripped from my mind after someone shows up and sticks a fountain pen in some poor girl’s eye. Yes, I will warn you in advance, if you do not like horror related to eye balls, please don’t watch.
We then cut to a mental asylum, the most Christmassy location there is. This is where we get to see our terrifying cannibal escape the asylum, so yeah ‘Halloween’… uh I mean’ Black Christmas’ starts off well. But despite all the horror there is a bit of humour, Santa checks to see if Billy is naughty or nice and a patent who thinks he is Jesus gets a “happy birthday”.
There are also a lot of stars in this film. We have Katie Cassidy from Arrow and Supernatural, Michelle Trachtenberg from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Mary Elizabeth Winstead from Scott Pilgrim, Lacey Chabert from Mean Girls, Crystal Lowe from Sorority Row, Andrea Martin from New York minute and Oliver Hudson from Rules of Engagement and Scream Queens. Lots of people you will think ‘I know them from somewhere’.
After we have had your stereotypical introduction to our bitchy sorority girls who happen to live in Billy’s old house, we are given a delightful flash back of Billy’s life over the Christmas holidays. And with a life as bad as his you can’t really blame him for falling off the wagon. If I saw my mum kill my dad, it would have messed me up a bit to. But if you also add your mum trying to then kill you and then have sex with you to the equation, it calls for an interesting outcome. If you are going to make a horror film you need the killer to have a back story and trust me ‘Black Christmas’ can deliver. However, the film doesn’t need to spend half of the movie telling it. But to keep the audience at bay, they give us creepy Christmas presents, phone calls and boyfriend drama.
The film then spends the rest of its time by killing of the characters one by one, only for the other characters to stumble upon dead bodies and argue on what they should do about it. So your stereotypical ‘cabin in the woods’ type film. And as this is a slasher we get the typical ‘I think you are the killer’, which of course calls for more drama. Now I know where ‘Sorority row’ (Stewart Hendler, 2009) gets its flair.
The film then ends on a delightful plot twist, with the killer in fact being killers, two of them… dad/ brother and daughter! At least the family made it home for Christmas.
Again, like all horror films the fun doesn’t stop there, the killer always come back for a good scare, so when the victims are brought to hospital , they all have a few final scares and access to some resuscitation paddles, very much like scream 4 (Wes Craven, 2011). It really is a shocking ending.
So Black Christmas may not be your typical Christmas movie but if you ever get sick of all the jolly feel good films, just put on this cross over horror. It will murder Santa and the whole idea of Christmas being the most wonderful time of the year.
How have you not seen this? – Deathbyapril- April Ely.
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Sorority Row (Stewart Hendler,2009)