"Agnes? It's me Billy. Don't tell what we did!"
You Know, I'm not really sure why this one has a negative (although, it is just barely negative) score on the tomatometer. I enjoyed it immensely.
Acting: Better than your average slasher flick. I especially liked Kier Duella (Dave Bowman, 2001: A Space Odyssey). He played his role very well. Also Olivia Hussey did a fine job as well. John Saxton (who seems to always play cops in slasher films. At least with what I've seen him in. He also played Sgt. Thompson in A Nightmare on Elm Street) does a good job as well but all he really had to do was play a cop which he did well. The rest of the cast did an alright job too. Not perfect but I liked it. There were times that I felt the tension of the girls and I wondered what would happen next. I was genuinely uneasy. Something that I haven't felt with a horror film in a long time. 9/10
Plot: Since it is the first film like it, I cannot call it stereotypical. I can see why people wanted to copy it though. I found that it actually creeped my out. I did the right thing with this one and I watched it right before I went to bed at around midnight so that only added to the atmosphere in the film. I felt the plot was very good and since it was the first, it was original. Not too bad. 9/10
Screenplay: any words that came out of the killer were awesome. They were usually random nonsense but it was creepy random nonsense. But, when the killer actually said something that you could understand, that got creepy pretty fast. There were actually some comedic moments that I liked a lot too. I laughed at this film. in a good way. again, not a perfect screenplay but for a film like this, from what I've seen lately, it was pretty good. 8.5/10
Likableness: very likable film. One of the few genuinely scary films I have seen in a while. I will admit that it made me jump at points. I don't usually jump at films like this. But it was also a very fun film to watch. I actually cared about some of the characters because they weren't one dimensional cardboard cutouts this time. 9/10
Final Score: 35.5/40 88% (N)
TRIVIA TIME: 1. The role of Mrs. Mac was offered to Bette Davis. Also, The role of Peter was originally offered to Malcolm McDowell, but he turned it down.
2. When NBC showed the film during prime time (under the title "Stranger in the House"), it was deemed 'too scary' for network television and was pulled off the air.
3. Around 1986, Olivia Hussey met producers for the film Roxanne, who were interested in casting her for the title role, co-star Steve Martin met her and said "Oh my God Olivia, you were in one of my all time favorite films", thinking it was her classical performance in the phenomenal Romeo and Juliet, Olivia was surprised to find out it was indeed Black Christmas, Martin claimed he had seen it over 20 times.
4. According to director Bob Clark about five people were responsible for voicing the frightening phone calls, including Clark, actor Nick Mancuso and an unnamed actress.
5. The original title of the films script was "Stop Me". It was director Bob Clark who came up with the title "Black Christmas" saying that he liked the irony of something dark occurring during such a festive holiday. However, Upon initial release in the US the films title was changed to "Silent Night, Evil Night" because the American distributor feared the title "Black Christmas" might cause the film to be mistaken for a 'blaxploitation' flick. However the film didn't do well under the new title and it was changed back to the original "Black Christmas" title, which it was a success under.
6. Reportedly the story was inspired to writer Roy Moore by an actual series of murders that took place in Montreal, Quebec around the Christmas season.
7. The snow seen outside of the sorority house was actually fake, because there had been surprisingly little snow fall during the filming. A foam material that was provided by the local fire department was used for snow on the lawn and according to cinematographer Albert J. Dunk the substance actually caused the grass on the lawn to grow greener than ever the following spring.
8. Shooting the search party scenes in the park proved to be quite difficult as the temperature was a freezing 10 degrees during the night of filming.
9. Despite its ominous themes and plot, Olivia Hussey reassured that the set was a very light and happy place between takes stating everyone got along with each other very well. She did however admit that Margot Kidder was rather distant from cast/crew during the filming.
10. According to director Bob Clark the original script for the film featured murder scenes that were more graphic. Clark however felt that it would be more effective if the murders were toned down and made more subtle on screen. Writer Roy Moore liked the idea as well.
11. Minimal vulgarity from the phone calls were initially scripted, director Bob Clark read out rather tame dialogue for the actors to react to. However stronger coarse language was later looped in post-production for a stronger reaction.