© 1974 Vision IV

Black Christmas (1974)

Friends and I got together yesterday on Christmas in order to take in some Christmas horror flicks, and I watched Silent Night, Deadly Night for the second time in three days, and Santa’s Slay, which was so much better than I expected that I was left speechless when it ended. We did not have time to get to Black Christmas, and since my appetite for Christmas horror was not quite satiated, I decided to see it today, even though Christmas is over, rather than wait until next year.

Giving further evidence to my theory that all good things originate in Canada, this 1974 slasher flick set in a sorority house that is emptying out ahead of the holidays establishes many of the earmarks of the genre. These include using a shaky hand-held camera to give the point of view of the killer, heavy off-screen breathing, juxtaposing angelic Christmas carolers with shots of a stabbing, the line “the calls are coming from inside the house!” and the idea of casting John Saxon as a police sergeant, concerned father, or both.

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“How can you trust a man who wears both a belt and suspenders? The man can't even trust his own pants.”
-Frank (Henry Fonda)
from Once Upon a Time in the West