Black Christmas CoverBUY IT AT AMAZON: CLICK HERE!
STUDIO: Dimension Films
MSRP: $29.95
RUNNING TIME: 94 minutes
A Director’s Journey featurette
Alternate endings
Deleted scenes
Remaking Black Christmas featurette

The Pitch

Let’s assemble some of the most attractive young ladies working Hollywood today and then stab them all to death! Feminine theorists should have a field day with all the “knife = erection” subtext.

The Humans

Katie Cassidy, Michelle Trachtenberg, Kristen Cloke, Crystal Lowe, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Lacey Chabert

Think of the janitors. Make your kills neat and tidy to avoid spillage.

The Nutshell

Billy Lenz is a psycho murderer who understands the magic of Christmas. It’s that one special day of the year when he likes to celebrate the birth of Jesus by violently murdering everyone he can get his hands on. During Billy’s formative years, his mother murdered his father and locked the little tyke up in the attic for over a decade. That kind of thing usually stunts a boy’s development. He becomes a social retard by force — not by choice, like people who lock themselves in attics to play World of Warcraft all day.

That’s not to say that dear old mom doesn’t show the kid a little love now and then. She keeps it in the family by riding on his candy cane and even gets pregnant with some inbred spawn. Billy doesn’t appreciate all the attention his mother lavishes on the new kid and eventually snaps, worming his way through the walls like the mutants in The People Under The Stairs and escaping. He commits some good old fashioned matricide and eats his sister’s eye, which gets him locked up in the loony bin.

Santa should really get a colonoscopy.

The house of horror becomes a house of whoring after it’s bought by one of the local sororities. It’s Christmas 2006 and some of the sorority sisters are spending the holidays together since their families hate them. Unfortunately for these lovely ladies, Billy has escaped from his cell and wants these girls out of his house. In a way, they are encroaching on his property and he may be well within his means as a homeowner to brutally murder them.
The Lowdown

The original Black Christmas was an influential horror film that beat Halloween to the holiday murder punch. The slasher genre has been beaten into the ground for decades which would put the remake at a disadvantage if it tried to be as innovative as its forefather, but it doesn’t even try. It’s as thoughtless and generic as any direct-to-video cheapie and seems to revel in its blandness. Dressing up a slasher plot this vanilla with tinsel and lights doesn’t make it special. Getting socks on Christmas is more exciting than watching Black Christmas.

This week on Alton Brown’s Good Eats – freshly baked flesh cookies in under ten minutes!

The point of any slasher is to deliver some bloody carnage, but most of them aren’t so overt about it. Most slasher films at least make an attempt to create some suspense or sense of dread, but it never happens in Black Christmas. The killer practically announces his presence at every opportunity and then pops quickly on screen like you’re supposed to be frightened. Cheap jack-in-the-box scares don’t work when the killer is practically making an appointment to murder the victims a week in advance. It doesn’t help that when the kills actually happen, they’re lame and predictable.

The killer simply isn’t that creative. If it’s sharp and pointy, it’s going through somebody’s eyeball. Turning a candy cane into a shiv is only moderately clever the first time. By the fourth time, it’s just annoying and a waste of good candy. Icicles, unicorn horns, pencils and gardening implements – no stabbing utensil goes unused in the killer’s quest to remove the peepers from hapless victims. A more swarthy film critic would say something akin to “by the time the movie enters its third act, you’ll wish someone would stab out YOUR eyeballs!” Then they’d twirl their moustache molest a child in the same manner they violate the English language.

A tree even Charlie Brown could be proud of.

The Package

The “A Director’s Journey” featurette is certainly one of the more interesting behind the scenes features to be included on a DVD. Rarely will you see a director be more candid about his career situation and the film he’s making. After serving up a gigantic bomb with Willard, Glen Morgan is well aware that Black Christmas may be his last shot at filmmaking. He admits to including jack-in-the-box scares, something he personally hates, in the film merely to please the audience.

At no point does he seem passionate or excited about what he’s doing on the set. It’s a cash grab movie designed to make up for Willard and give him another chance in the business. With an estimated budget of nine million and a US gross of sixteen, maybe it did well enough to boost his Hollywood standing and allow to him to direct something he actually loves in the future.

Let’s take this party downstairs.

The remaining features are the standard stuff you’re used to seeing on any DVD. The alternate endings reflect the fact that the filmmakers apparently had no idea whether or not they wanted an ambiguous slash film ending with the killer “surviving” or a definitive one. Test screenings by unhappy audiences probably resulted in the latter. Those test screeners should be commended as heroes for preventing any sequel possibilities.

The deleted scenes feature plenty of character development for the two-dimensional caricatures populating this film. None of the scenes really add much to the movie for the most part, but the person responsible for excising Lacey Chabert’s fondling of a dildo should probably be fired. It’s hard to think of a more important scene in the history of cinema.

3.5 out of 10