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Black Christmas (1974)

Silent Night, Evil Night (1974), Stranger in the House (1974)

If this movie doesnt make your skin crawl... Its On Too Tight!

Directed by:

Bob Clark

Rating: 4/10

Running Time: 98 minutes

UK Certificate: 18

On DVD

Country: Canada

If you're after an alternative to the tinsel-draped merriment normally to be found in films associated with this time of year, you might think 'Black Christmas' as good a choice as any. You might be even more drawn to this one if old-fashioned slasher flicks are your bag. Both would seem like good reasons to give this low-budget 70s horror a whirl, particularly now that it's been given the remastering treatment by DVD distributors Metro Tartan. But what they don't tell you on the box is that this movie is absolute codswallop.

The tale centres around a gaggle of sorority chicks (among them Olivia Hussey and a pre-'Superman' Margot Kidder) who, one less-than-cheery festive season, find themselves the target of a frothing madman. They call him "the moaner", based on his tendency to phone them up and – erm – moan a bit. There's also some gurgling, mumbling, wailing and swearing thrown into the bargain. Well, even crazed psychopaths like a bit of variety.

There's only really one way to describe 'Black Christmas', and that's silly. The story makes no sense, we're always far too aware of the killer's presence for there to be any proper shocks, and the ending has none of the impact it should. Unsurprisingly from director Bob Clark, the man behind the likes of 'Porky's', the film takes a distinctly tongue-in-cheek approach to its subject matter. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but Clark's idea of humour is to end various scenes with somebody sticking up a middle finger, a gesture surely reserved in normal society for the totally witless.

With next to no violence shown on screen, and most of the scare tactics made redundant by poor direction, the only frightening thing about it is the array of giant 1970s hairstyles. This might have been one of the first in a long line of similar horror movies to have sprung up during the 70s and 80s, but it's certainly not one of the best.

It's Got: An old bat with a bottle of booze stashed in every nook and cranny, and a college himbo trying to be taken seriously whilst wearing an over-sized fur coat.

It Needs: To be roasted on an open fire, along with the chestnuts.

DVD Extras A directors commentary, a couple of vaguely interesting featurettes (Black Christmas Revisited and All Through the House), a stills gallery and some trailers. DVD Extras Rating: 5/10

Alternatives:

Friday the 13th, Friday the 13th, Halloween, Halloween, Scream, When a Stranger Calls

Summary

Less 'Black Christmas' than 'Cack Christmas'. I wouldn’t watch this again if you promised me a lifetime supply of selection boxes.

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