It’s time for Christmas break, and the sorority sisters make plans for the holiday, but the strange anonymous phone calls are beginning to put them on edge. When Clare disappears, they contact the police, who don’t express much concern. Meanwhile Jess is planning to get an abortion, but boyfriend Peter is very much against it. The police finally begin to get concerned when a 13-year-old girl is found dead in the park. They set up a wiretap to the sorority house, but will they be in time to prevent a sorority girl attrition problem? –IMDb
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
It didn’t used to be, but this is slowly rising to the top of my slasher heap. A few reasons why: The camerawork. Not only the 1st-person giallo stuff that leads Billy up the trellis at the beginning, but the way the camera then prowls around the interiors of the sorority house … this extends to a number of specific moments as well--full review: http://mubi.com/reviews/28955
Arguably the original slasher film (although the giallo movement was well underway by now), Black Christmas relies not on quick thrills, but on a gradual build-up of suspense and atmosphere and effective use of light and dark. The constant use of POV shots provide an immediate hook in the film's opening sequence and adds a touch of Argento throughout. A film of understated influence: Halloween, Elm Street, Scream, When a Stranger Calls were all born from this - did any of them surpass Clark's festive slaying? I'm not sure they did.
What this film actually succeeds in doing, is leaving the audience in doubt and suspense throughout the entire film. Even the ending makes you question what really happened here? Not all things are answered, which is exactly what makes this film so realistically terrifying. Although it moves slower than the slashers to follow, this film builds up certainty and fear in your mind, then completely breaks it down.
Innovative trend setting Canadian horror film predating most of the slasher movie genre. Films conceits would later be seen in Friday the 13th, Halloween, When a Stranger Calls etc etc. Casting elevated it to more than just another horror flick featuring Olivia Hussey (Romeo & Juliet), Keir Dullea (2001) and a scene stealing pre-"Superman" Margot Kidder. A Christmas tradition for non-traditionlists.