Black Christmas (1974)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Black Christmas</strong> (1974)

(In French, On Cable TV, July 2018) Perhaps the most noteworthy detail about Black Christmas is the date at which it was produced—1974, four years before Halloween (to which it has a clear kinship) would popularize exactly the kind of film that Black Christmas is both in subject matter, attitude and technique. Some of the filmmaking is limited by its low budget, but most of it reflects almost shot-for-shot the kind of films that slasher horror filmmakers would churn out for years after John Carpenter’s success. A made-in-Canada success story, Black Christmas does feel in advance of its time, although it certainly does not escape from its own subgenre. This being said, there are performances here by Margot Kidder, Keir Dullea and a young Andrea Martin, plus an energetic directing style from Bob Clark. Unusually (and unsatisfyingly) enough, the film does not reveal the identity of the killer nor punish him, reinforcing its futility. Alas, the flip side of anticipating the slasher subgenre is that it can and does feel like more of the same … which doesn’t help if you don’t like the kind of movie that it launched. 

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