Sunday, November 27, 2005

A very BLACK CHRISTMAS

Did any of you guys watch that program Bravo had on last Halloween about the top 100 scariest movie moments? My Netflix list expanded because of it; THE TENANT was one of the films I thought seemed really cool. Another one was BLACK CHRISTMAS, which has a cult following. It was made in the early seventies and stars Olivia Hussey and Margot Kidder as sorority sisters who have to deal with a killer who has set his sights on their campus house over the holidays. This movie came before HALLOWEEN or FRIDAY THE 13th and is said to be the “original slasher movie” (even though PSYCHO makes an argument for that, among other films).

I actually remember watching BLACK CHRISTMAS when I was younger, and Bravo’s special brought it all back to me. I know the film scared me, but not in a roller-coaster way. Basically, I didn’t remember a lot of the plot, but I recalled strong feelings of alienation and discombobulation, which is a far more effective horror than most movies provide.

So, here I was, really excited about watching it when it arrived in the mail. In the dark of night, I popped the disc into the player. “Hmm,” I thought to myself, perusing the menu. “It might be fun to see the trailer.” Don’t ask me why—I never look at those sorts of chaff extras on the DVDs. Boring. But I did this time.

And…five minutes later, I popped the movie right back out and decided to view it with my Thanksgiving company after the kids went to bed. Why? Because this killer in the movie makes really weird, freaky, hell-inspired phone calls and that got to me. You know when you experience something visceral and you can’t explain it? That’s what happened here. Seriously. When I finally watched the whole thing, it wasn’t so much the gory deaths or the oppressive atmosphere that made me anxious: It was those dang phone calls.

Thus, I’m recommending BLACK CHRISTMAS because it passed my own personal horror test. You might hate it. But if you’re anything like me—a person who got wiggy about the Blair Witch and was afraid that she was lurking just outside her window for three weeks after viewing the film—you’ll lock the doors extra tight and never answer the phone after twilight again.

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