G, 98 minutes
Art Hindle; Olivia Hussey; Margot Kidder; Andrea Martin
After viewing Bob Clark’s Black Christmas, horror fans will struggle to view slasher classics like Halloween,Friday the 13th, or Nightmare on Elm Street the same way again. Black Christmas solidified the template that established many of the subgenre’s conventions and tropes, and withHalloween, laid the groundwork for Carpenter’s future success. In fact, Clark claims he gave Carpenter the idea forHalloween to direct as a sequel to Black Christmas. Each film is important, and each added new layers and dimensions to the prototype, but due to chronology alone, Black Christmas deserves serious props for being ahead of the pack.
Shot with a $620,000 budget in Toronto during a wintry eight weeks in 1974, Clark weaves a holiday setting, point of view shots, the ambiguous character of a sexually deranged stalker, elements of the final girl theory, and the creepy “crank-caller in the house” motif into a splendid tapestry of horror. Clark’s dynamic directorial skills are also apparent in comedy as well with classics such asPorky’s and A Christmas Story to his credit.