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Never Seen It! Sunday: Black Christmas (1974)

Posted on the 25 December 2011 by Cinefilles @cinefilles
You know when someone asks if you’ve seen their favorite movie and say you seen “parts of it” because you don’t want to seem like a total pop culture pariah? Yeah, we do too—and we hate ourselves for it! That’s why every other week, we’ve vowed to watch at least one movie we’ve put off, ignored, rejected or just plain-out forgotten about. Join us as recount the popping of our cinematic cherries, complete with awkward, over-analytical details!
Never Seen It! Sunday: Black Christmas (1974)Photo: allmoviephoto.com
BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974)
DATE RELEASED: October 11, 1974
DATE WATCHED: November 2011
WHY NOW? As the Charlie Brown tune (and Royal Tenebaums soundtrack highlight) goes, Christmastime is here. And yet again, I feel like a horrible horror fangirl for never having seen this yuletide-themed slasher.
WHY NOT THEN? I wasn't even on my 15-year-old's mom's mind (and even if I was, she wouldn't have seen it anyway -- she hates everything horror). Then, after I was born and old enough to choose my own movies at the videostore, I could never get her or my dad to watch it with me. Meanwhile, they made me rewatch It's a Wonderful Life year after year after year after year ...
EXPECTATIONS
  • Classic, stalk-and-slash kills all done from inside a 1970s sorority house on Christmas Eve.
  • Cameos from Canadian stars that I recognize but couldn't name on command. 
  • Lots of establishing shots of the University of Toronto campus.
  • The original Lois Lane successfully fending for herself, sans Superman.
  • Something to do with a dead girl in a rocking chair.

WHAT I ACTUALLY GOT
  • John "Nancy's dad in Nightmare on Elm St." Saxon!
  • Is that Andrea Martin?!
  • Olivia Hussey being the most annoying Survivor Girl of all-time. (Sorry, Hussey hussies.)
  • Classic stalk-and-slash kills done from inside a 1970s sorority house on Christmas Eve and from the POV of the never-unmasked, possibly asthmatic murderer.
  • The original Lois Lane (Margot Kidder) unsuccessfully fending for herself, sans Superman.
  • A whole lot of way-obscene phone calls that get traced back to another phone within the house. It may seem totally overdone now, especially after When a Stranger Calls and such, but this was groundbreaking, and thus extremely chilling, back then. Especially if you were not familiar with the "Babysitter" urban legend.
  • So much to do with a dead girl in a rocking chair beside the attic window. So much!
  • That grainy, '70s cinematography that makes everything seem scarier and more snuff-like to me. (See also: my inability to watch the first half of the original Last House on the Left without every single light in the house on.)
  • A nice, open-ended finale that will stay with you for at least the twelve days of laziness following Christmas.

ONE NIGHT-IN STAND OR SECOND DATE POTENTIAL? Not to get all Ted Mosby, but after just one viewing, I am happy to admit that ILOVED this. It's blends two of my favorite genres (overly holiday-themed movies and straight-up slashers) without going overboard with either one. Plus, it's genuinely creepy, something that I don't think can be said with most modern horror movies, which seem to prefer vaguely ghost-like figures and torture devices to the heavy breathing psycho you know could very well live next door to you. Or in your attic.

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