Black Christmas (1974) 4.07/5 (2)


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Rating: The Good – 77.5
Genre: Horror
Duration: 98 mins
Director: Bob Clark
Stars: Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder

This was the movie that picked up where Psycho left off and in doing so started a sub-genre of horror flicks that would continue strongly to this day. A sorority house is terrorised by an unseen maniac who escalates his strange and deeply disturbing phone calls to a series of gruesome murders. Director Bob Clark brings a heavy atmosphere to the movie and fashions some truly frightening sequences each more original than the next. Roy Moore’s mature script gives each of the characters just the right pitch and Olivia Hussey as the most serious of the young women and Margot Kidder as the most free-spirited do an excellent job in bringing the different moods to the script to life. There’s a real edge to many of the relationships in the group and it provides Clark with an effective means to ratchet up the pre-slaughtering tension. Kier Dullea as the intense music scholar and John Saxon as the sheriff provide strong and interesting support and, even though this is a darker and sterner slasher movie than the Halloween and post-Halloween species, there are some genuine moments of humour many of them centering on Marian Waldman’s booze-swilling house mistress. That said, Black Christmas has been best remembered for its chill factor and in that respect it’s often (and with good reason) regarded as the very best of the genre.

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