Friday, December 21, 2007

slay ride.

A festive film favourite with the kids for you now.....

Black Christmas (AKA Silent Night, Evil Night, Stranger in the House 1974).
Dir: Bob Clark
Cast: Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, John Saxon, Michael Rapport, Lynne Griffin, Marian Waldman, Andrea Martin.



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If this movie doesn't make your skin crawl... It's On Too Tight!


Tis the season to be jolly, there's snow on the ground, love in the air, the smell of chestnuts roasting and, in a sorority house at an unnamed university, the students (including a pre-mentalism Margot Kidder and pony faced Olivia Hussey) are receiving a series of obscene phone calls from a strange perv nicknamed the moaner.

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"No deal".


No one takes his calls seriously tho' and some actually look forward to his nightly messages, that is until one night there are the screams and gasps of a woman in the background.

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"Try and shite in mah mooth now you bastard!"


Cutesy Co-ed Clare Harrison (Lynne Griffin) becomes moaners first victim, a plastic bag wrapped around her head as shes dragged to the attic and sat in a rocking chair, but, it's only when a 13 year old girl goes missing that local police good guy Lieutenant Fuller (top hard man John Saxon) begins to take things seriously.

Meanwhile the moaner is continuing his calls and long chinned, flaxen haired Jess Bradford (Olivia Hussey) becomes the main focus of his attentions. Spookily he appears to know she is pregnant and considering an abortion and even goes so far as to quote conversations exchanged between Jess and her angry boyfriend Peter (2001's Keir Dullea saddled with really gay hair) which understandably causes the police to think he's the prime suspect, making him a wee bit angrier than normal.

Adding to all the stress of the on campus killings is the fact that kindly 'house mother' Mrs. MacHenry (Marian Waldman), has lost her beloved cat. Luckily she finds the precious moggy in the attic, unfortunately she also finds the killer, who promptly wedges a hook in the face.

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John Saxon receives a call from his agent
offering him the lead in Cannibal Apocalypse.


Fuller pools all his resources to stop the moaners reign of, er..moaning, unfortunately his only mistake is to discount the bizarre 'second extension' that is built inside the sorority house, thinking that there would be no way a killer would hide inside it, listening to peoples conversations, actually making calls from inside the house etc.

Using the dulcet tones of the local carol singers (who just happen to be visiting the house) as cover, the killer stabs busty Barb (Kidder) to death with a statue and, when she goes to check on her, murders Phyllis (Andrea - I appeared in the remake too don't you know - Martin) too (can you tell the climax is approaching fast?).

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"Hallo? French Polishers?
you might just save my life!"


The police are hot on the trail and manage to trace the moaners calls.....to inside the house!

Fuller warns Jessica to leave the house immediately and wait for him outside but, being a girl she gets lost on the way from the living room to the front door and heads upstairs (armed with a poker at least) instead where (surprise) she is jumped by the killer.

Managing to escape she runs back downstairs completely missing the front door (again) and heads into the basement.

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"Door?...no, teevee set?...no, um
hang on I know this one..."


And who could be skulking there? yup it's her grumpy guy Peter, whom she is convinced is the killer.

As he approaches her to talk Jessica bludgeons him to death with the poker.

Ouch.

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Vote Saxon.


The police arrive to find her hunched over Peters body and decide that the case is closed. It's possibly their Christmas night out so understandably they want to get everything down as soon as, you can imagine the conversation between Fuller and his men; "Aye, that Peter was a wee bit angry with his girlfriend not wanting to marry him so he must be the killer and the fact that we've found his aforementioned estranged girlfriend leaning over him holding a bloody poker means it must have been him! Right! mines a Babycham!".

They pack up the bodies, clean up the blood and bid their farewells to Jessica, leaving her alone (in a major crime scene) to sleep off the excitement of her friends being murdered and killing her boyfriend.

We cut to the attic one last time and see that there are two dead bodies that have yet to be discovered......a mans voice whispers out thru' the darkness.

"Agnes, it's me, Billy."

The phone begins to ring.

Possibly the first of the modern 'slasher' cycle made famous by Halloween and Friday The 13th, the late, great Bob Clark's genre defining Black Christmas is unfortunately overlooked by all but the most rabid horror fans and Clark is better known for his seminal holiday classic A Christmas Story and Porky's than for this and the fantastic Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things. Which is a shame as Black Christmas has much to offer, not just of historical interest but as a darn good frightener in its own right.

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Hat.


Featuring a decidedly eclectic cast—from Superman's Margot Kidder to cult stalwart John Saxon via the Star Child himself Keir Dullea, and many shots and set ups that would become genre mainstays, Clark's movie, with it's Christmas setting almost co-incidental to the plot (apart from the aforementioned Carol singing scene) deserves to be sought out by any self respecting film fan if only to see where the stalk and slash histrionics started.

It's not too late to rush out and buy it to watch on Christmas Eve (tho' make sure you don't pick up the shite 2006 remake by mistake).

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