02 September 2014

Black Christmas (1974)
98 min.
Directed by Bob Clark.
With Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, John Saxon, Andrea Martin, Marian Waldman, Art Hindle, Lynne Griffin, Douglas McGrath.
Sensational slasher from director Clark is one of the best and brightest of the subgenre.

School's out for Christmas. The young women of Pi Kappa Sig prepare for their holiday vacation as the sorority house quickly begins to empty out. A few girls remain behind for a lowkey xmas celebration of their own. You know, those girls who don't have any plans of their own, or who might be estranged from their families.

Meanwhile, a psychotic maniac stealthily enters the house and takes residence in the upstairs attic. Soon the deranged madman is slashing his way through the (near) abandoned hallways...Who will survive the carnage? Level headed Jess (Hussey)? Foul mouthed Barb (Kidder)?

Sound formulaic? It's anything but. Exceptionally well made from beginning to end, and helped by the deceptively snowy calm setting, this is the most potent horror from director Clark (1972's Deathdream notwithstanding).

Believable performances from Hussey, Kidder and co. propel the clever plot along and maintain interest throughout; clearly inspiration for John Carpenter's 1978 breakout hit Halloween.

The brave and uncompromising ending remains ballsy and jawdropping to this day.

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