Black Christmas (1974)

aka Silent Night, Evil Night
Article 3296 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 7-7-2010
Posting Date: 8-23-2010
Directed by Bob Clark
Featuring Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder
Country: Canada
What it is: Prototypical slasher film

Members of a sorority are being killed off one by one by a mysterious obscene phone caller.

Director Bob Clark had a very interesting career which largely began with a trio of horror films during the early seventies. This is one of his best, a prototype of the slasher film that would become popular in the wake of HALLOWEEN and FRIDAY THE 13TH, though this taut and suspenseful movie may be better than either of them or their spawn. The characters are three-dimensional and well acted here; one feels and cares about them because they don’t act like the usual slasher fodder. Granted, certain plot twists have now become cliches, and there is at least one moment in the movie where one character acts with a certain amount of stupidity, but at least you can understand that her motivation may be concern about her sorority sisters. The final twist isn’t extremely original, but it’s handled with such panache that you’ll like it anyway. And I always admire a horror movie that knows how to use silence rather than shrillness for its scares.


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