THIS REVIEW IS BASED UPON THE RETAIL BLU-RAY RELEASE PROVIDED BY ANCHOR BAY ENTERTAINMENT CANADA FOR REVIEW
To be completely honest, I am not sure where to start with this review. It’s Black Christmas! One of the most influential, creepy, effective and well done horror films ever created. Every now and then a film comes along that changes the landscape of the horror genre that it becomes an instant classic. Movies like 1931’s Universal double hits Dracula and Frankenstein, 1960’s Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece Psycho, 1968’s George A. Romero directed seminal Night Of The Living Dead, and 1978’s John Carpenter low budget Halloween. They all represented a tonal change and the birth of new sub-genres. Most people look to Halloween as the birth of the slasher genre, but anyone who is more than a casual horror fan will look back further to 1974 and credit that to Bob Clark‘s Black Christmas. And while the argument can be made for Psycho as the first slasher, the tried and true formula really was born in a small little Canadian film that no one expected to go anywhere, but has instead moved into the pantheon of the most important horror films ever made.
If you’re here on this site and don’t know Black Christmas, do me (and yourself) a favor and go watch it right now. Then watch it again. Then come back after you’ve had your pants soiled by the thought of Billy in the attic and we will continue.
Black Christmas is the story of a deranged man who targets the Pi Kappa Sig sorority house and picks victims off one by one over the Christmas holidays. Featuring an incredible cast with Olivia Hussey (Franco Zeffirelli‘s 1968 Romeo & Juliet, IT), Keir Dullea (2001: A Space Oddysey), Margot Kidder (Superman, The Amityville Horror), John Saxon (Enter The Dragon, A Nightmare On Elm Street), Andrea Martin (Cannibal Girls, SCTV), Lynne Griffin (Strange Brew, Dream House) and Art Hindle (Philip Kaufman‘s 1978 Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, The Brood). It is arguably the greatest cast for a low budget horror movie ever assembled, let alone one coming from Canada!
As the film progresses the sorority house receives increasingly disturbing prank phone calls from a man they dub “The Moaner”. The girls in the house are methodically picked off one by one as the police become involved. Upon tracing the phone calls they discover they are coming from inside the house (and this was several years before the release of the original When A Stranger Calls) and only one girl is left to survive. To go into more detail about the film would be to rob the film of its effect, and as I’ve already stated, there is no reason any horror fan should not have viewed and be familiar with the film.
To celebrate the 41st anniversary of the film’s release, Anchor Bay Entertainment Canada have put together a Blu-Ray package more than fitting enough for the legendary film. Loaded with bonus features that are taken from previous releases as well as put together for this release, the Black Christmas Season’s Grievings edition is without a doubt one of the most beautiful special editions ever released to home video.
First of all, the film has never looked and sounded better. The transfer is absolutely beautiful, and certainly a step up from the old DVD copy I have. The film sounds great as well. But the real attraction of this release is the bonus features, and none are more hyped and important than the brand new documentary, Black Christmas Legacy. Directed by George Mihalka (director of the original 1982 My Bloody Valentine) and Justin McConnell (The Collapsed) the documentary features interviews with most of the cast as well as several critics, including Dave Alexander (editor of Rue Morgue magazine), Chris Alexander (editor of Fangoria magazine) and several others who have a tie to the film in some way, such as “Ghoulish” Gary Pullin, who is responsible for the brand new beautiful and chilling art work on the release. The documentary also features archival interview footage with the late Bob Clark, including a great story on the truth behind Black Christmas‘s influence on the making of John Carpenter‘s Halloween.
Also included are a series of older features from previous releases, as well as even a commentary with Nick Mancuso reprising his iconic role as Billy. Truthfully, this is the absolute definitive release of one of the most important horror films ever made, and I honestly cannot see another release coming along that could possibly top this one. This is a must-have for any horror fan’s collection, and I cannot urge you enough to make sure you pick up a copy of this release. Anchor Bay Canada has done us proud fellow horror fans.
Pick up a copy of Black Christmas Season’s Grievings Edition from the Deadstore