Nine years after the Yuletide slasher flick Black Christmas, Porky’s director Bob Clark once again took on the holiday genre, switching from gasps to laughs with A Christmas Story. Adapted from a memoir by humorist Jean Shepherd (who narrates), the film centers on Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley), a young boy living in 1940s Indiana, desperately yearning for a Red Rider BB gun for Christmas. Despite protests from his mother (Melinda Dillon) that he’ll shoot his eye out, Ralphie persists, unsuccessfully trying to enlist the assistance of both his teacher and Santa Claus. All the while, Ralphie finds himself dealing with the constant taunts of a pair of bullies and trying to not get in the middle of a feud between his mother and father (Darren McGavin) regarding a sexy lamp.
Bob Clark began making independent low-budget features as a writer/director with the transvestite comedy The She Man in 1967, and his horror films of the early ‘70s, made with writer/actor Alan Ormsby, are fondly remembered: Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things (signed as Benjamin Clark) and Deathdream (aka Dead of Night; Night Walk). Clark also won admiration for his Sherlock Holmes film Murder By Decree, scripted by John Hopkins. None of this could compare to the box-office success Clark would find in the early ‘80s with his seminal low-brow sex comedy Porky’s and its first sequel. Reviled by critics but eaten up by audiences, the films’ horny-yet-nostalgic tone would forever influence the world of teen movies. It was Clark’s 1983 project, however, an adaptation of Jean Shepherd’s writings called A Christmas Story, that would prove to be the director’s finest moment. The pitch-perfect holiday farce failed to find an audience despite strong reviews upon its initial release, but… read more
No matter how many years this movie is played back to back for 24 consecutive hours on Christmas day... I will never get tired of it.