Pre-dating 1978's Halloween by four years, Black Christmas may well have been responsible for establishing the stylistic foundations for John Carpenter's seminal slasher. The dialogue and performances are far greater than we've come to expect from films of this type and the scenes from the point of view of the killer are genuinely frightening even today. A masterpiece of the genre and criminally underappreciated.
This is an important but lesser known early contribution to the American slasher film and its sometimes claustrophobic nature. The camera movements through staircase and corridors are an important motif that seems to have been introduced here and was taken over by other directors. Also Shirley Walker's music has some unusual features in using only the piano inside during the culminations.
Has my distinction of being one of the better horror films for pure scares, as well as perhaps the best slasher film ever, and is one of the better horror-comedies. It's a terrifying and nerve-shredding film that is even better than its seminal predecessor, Halloween. Scary killer, great atmosphere, good dark humor, very stylistic, and a great downbeat ending make it a masterpiece of terror.
A landmark of slasher films, BC is a fine example of a horror film that gets under your skin. It absolutely has atmosphere, just a little more quiet one instead of the frolicking teenagers. The slow moments build tension to a point when you start looking over your shoulder in a dark house. In addition to the fantastic camerawork, BC has a strong sense of realism unlike anywhere in the genre.
Stronger than Halloween without doubt. Lead Jessica and her abortion, chilling phone calls and dark effective humor that becomes trumped by the evil upstairs. I never really attached myself to the Carpenter pioneer slasher film as I did this and that is likely 50% of the characters' doing. Barb the drunk and the crass house mother are tops! "Just like having a wart removed."
Wins already, as the rare slasher film I can (mostly) shamelessly enjoy without flagrantly compromising all my values. Now that I'm so no longer willing to put in the work to rationalize away my cognitive dissonance at problematic (misogynistic etc) tropes being exploited on screen... The phone stacks & Ineffectual Cop stock gags are hilariously of the time. And Margot Kidder is a goddamn delight! 3.5