Scream Factory gives this horror classic a great treatment just in time for the Holidays!
“The college town of Bedford is receiving an unwelcome guest this Christmas. As the residents of sorority house Pi Kappa Sigma prepare for the festive season, a stranger begins to stalk the house.
A series of obscene phone calls start to plague the residents of the sorority and it becomes clear that a psychopath is homing in on the sisters with dubious intentions. And though the police try to trace the calls, they discover that nothing is as it seems during this Black Christmas. “Stuffed with extremely tense moments, chilling cinematography, amazing characters and long-lasting dread… [this] genuine classic is completely deserving of every bit of respect and admiration it’s picked up over the last 40 years” (addictedtohorormovie.com).”
They don’t make them like they used to, and thank goodness. Although considered a classic which admittedly set the bar for certain aspects of the genre, in other aspects it has yet to reach the certain evolution of horror films that took place in the 80’s.
Throughout the film we follow a group of girls in a sorority who most look to be in their 30’s. It’s Christmas time, and what else is there to do for sorority girls to do but drink incessantly? While having a good time, one of their friends mysteriously vanishes inside the house. Also a real buzz kill is the prank phone calls the sorority keeps receiving with a real creeper on the other end making some very strange and sexual noises.
Unbeknownst to the girls, the killer has taken refuge in their attic. We know this because of the painful use of the point of view of the killer, slowly moving about the house, watching the girls from afar. Although utilized in a much better fashion in John Carpenter’s Halloween, in which we watched as Michael Myers moved in closer than any of his victims could have imagined, in Black Christmas we watch from a distance while nothing happens. It’s slow, it’s boring, and not creepy in the least.
As the phone calls become more frequent, the police do little to offer any assistance until another girl is murdered. Throughout the investigation and attempts to trace the phone calls, we are given plenty of evidence to suspect certain characters, but of course that usually means the opposite in horror films. Fortunately this leads to a very climactic and suspenseful third act that takes the slow pacing of the rest of the film and finally gives us some excitement.
I can say that the ending is unique and one of the best things about the film. Without giving anything away for those who haven’t seen it, the shortcomings and severe lack of creepiness of the rest of the film are close to being redeemed. Although I found the majority of the film to be bland, it was one of the first films to utilize creepy calls coming from inside the house; and those calls should be included in an entirely different category as Black Christmas, as they are chilling and horrific.
Black Christmas is presented in High Definition Widescreen 1080p 1.85:1 with a new 2k scan from the negative. The existing source print has a bit of damage that can be noticeable at times in the form of scratches in the film and other minor defects. To get this as close as possible to the original intent of the filmmaker, little was done to clean up the excessive grain, which is explained at the beginning of the film with a disclaimer. This keeps the feel of the film intact for fans, and given a very respectable treatment.
The audio is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and Mono. There are no noticeable problems or defects with the track, with most of the audio coming from the center channel, utilizing the surrounds for the soundtrack mainly. Levels are good, with a very piercing ring from the telephone which is almost a character in itself in the film. Very fitting.
Scream Factory has given this set a great treatment and has loaded it with special features that fans of the film won’t want to miss. These include:
- NEW 2016 2K Scan Of The Negative (1.85:1) – DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, DTS-HD Master Audio Mono
- Audio Commentary With Director Bob Clark
- Audio Commentary With Actors John Saxon And Keir Dullea
- Audio Commentary With Billy (Actor Nick Mancuso)
- Audio Interview With Director Bob Clark
- 2006 Critical Mass HD Master (1.78:1) – DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- NEW Film And Furs – Remembering Black Christmas With Art Hindle
- NEW Victims And Virgins – Remembering Black Christmas With Lynne Griffin
- Black Christmas Legacy
- 40th Anniversary Panel At FanExpo 2014 Featuring John Saxon, Art Hindle, Lynne Griffin & Nick Mancuso
- On Screen!: Black Christmas Featurette
- 12 Days Of Black Christmas Featurette
- Black Christmas Revisited Featurette
- Archival Interviews With Olivia Hussey, Art Hindle, Margot Kidder, Bob Clark, & John Saxon
- Midnight Screening Q&A With Bob Clark, John Saxon And Carl Zittrer
- Two Scenes With A New Vocal Soundtrack
- Original Theatrical Trailers (English And French)
- Original TV And Radio Spots
- Alternative Title Sequences
- Still Gallery
Black Christmas was instrumental in paving the way for the quickly evolving horror genre. Although a lot of its methods are outdated, there are moments in the film that will stay creepy in any decade. For fans, this Collector’s Edition is well worth picking up.