Whilst it’s true that John Carpenter’s Halloween was the first film to introduce the slasher genre to a mainstream audience, it was by no means the first of its kind. That distinction probably goes to Mario Bava for either Blood and Black Lace or A Bay of Blood, but if truth be told it was a culmination of many things. Arguably the biggest influence on today’s slasher movies (and Halloween for that matter) was Bob Clark’s Black Christmas.

With Christmas just around the corner, most of the sorority house has already left for the festive season. There are a few still left though. Including Jess (Olivia Hussey), who is trying to cope with her temperamental boyfriend Peter (Keir Dullea) who doesn’t want her to get an abortion. Whilst Barb (Margot Kidder) spend much of her time drunk; oscillating between cynicism and anger. The Housemother (Marian Waldman) is still around to keep any eye on things, between covertly swigging whisky from bottles she’s hidden around the place. All is quiet until Claire (Lynne Griffin) disappears and the calls they’ve been getting from a man they’ve dubbed as ‘the moaner’ are becoming increasingly disturbed.

Even after all these years, Black Christmas still holds up as an extremely impressive horror film (and looks stunning with this 2k print). From the opening sequence from the outside of the beautifully festive house, the camerawork is beautiful. Clark makes brilliant use of the house to build tension and suspense, using some clever point of view shots. It’s shockingly sweary at times, but never even leans towards exploitation. By mixing in social issues of the time (abortion/casual sex/alcoholism) Clark adds an extra dimension and layer to proceedings. The female-led cast was also way ahead of its time. Black Christmas is a brilliantly creative festive slasher which still casts a shadow over most of its peers.

Extras:

  • Film and Furs: Remembering Black Christmas with Art Hindle
  • Victims and Virgins: Remembering Black Christmas with Lynne Griffin
  • Black Christmas Legacy
  • Original TV and Radio spots
  • 40th Anniversary Reunion Panel: Fan Expo Canada 2014

Black Christmas is released on Blu-ray and DVD by 101 Films on 6 November.