Original Black Christmas

When remaking a classic, it often seems like a Catch-22. You veer far away from the original storyline and it gets accused of being a remake in name only. But if you remain too faithful to the source material, then it might get written off as an unoriginal clone. Both remakes of the classic Black Christmas seem to fit into each category, with the newest version seemingly falling under the former and the 2006 version falling into the latter. Regardless of how many re-doings it may get, the original 1974 version still serves a template that has influenced subsequent slasher films. One that captures what feels like a lost art within the genre. 

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Movies to Watch With Black Christmas

Like the works of Shakespeare, Black Christmas has now been remade more than once.

The Canadian cult slasher that predates Halloween by four years has its ups and downs, but it warranted retreads because it captures a very special time of year. Not just as subversive counter-programming for the twee holiday season, but as a horror film that takes place in the safe space of a college campus that becomes isolated when everyone else leaves for the break. Its hollowed-out familiarity makes it ideal for a slasher stalking their victims.

The film also doubles down on the myth of Stranger Danger (it’s usually someone you know that harms you! Sleep tight, everyone!). Uncertainty, mystery, and our friends showing up murdered? Solid grounds for panic.

Here are 6 other films to give you the holiday chills.

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Scariest Scene in Black Christmas

(Welcome to Scariest Scene Ever, a column dedicated to the most pulse-pounding moments in horror. In this edition: Black Christmas ushers in an exhilarating climax with a minimalist approach to the horror and a peeping eye.)

Director Bob Clark helmed not one, but two definitive Christmas classics in his career; A Christmas Story and Black Christmas, two widely varying takes on the holiday. While the former elicits endless replays on cable and theaters this time of year, the latter established itself as a prototype to the slasher subgenre and played a vital influence on John Carpenter in the creation of Halloween.

Initially released in the U.S. under Silent Night, Evil Night, on December 20, 1974, audiences failed to show up. It wasn’t until the original title was restored and re-released in theaters a year later that Black Christmas finally found its audience. Audiences who were then promptly terrified with Clark’s minimalist approach and a refusal to reveal the killer’s identity outside of a few key POV shots and obscene phone calls. It all culminates in a thrilling final act that begins with a crucial scene; one that that heightens the fear dramatically with the startling sight of a peeping eye.

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Black Christmas trailer

We’ve already seen two versions of the holiday horror film Black ChristmasBob Clark‘s low-budget 1974 original cult classic, and Glen Morgan‘s slicker, more expensive remake in 2006. But now the story of a group of sorority sisters terrorized by a serial killer during the holidays is getting a woman’s touch: Sophia Takal (Always Shine) is directing another remake for Blumhouse that puts a new spin on the familiar story. Check out the first trailer below.
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black christmas remake cast

Cary Elwes, best known for making people swoon in The Princess Bride, and then cutting his own foot off in Saw, has joined the cast of Blumhouse’s Black Christmas remake. Like the original – and its other, previous remake – the story will focus on a group of female college students terrorized by a stalker. No specifics are available regarding Elwes’s character, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess he’s not playing one of the college girls.

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black christmas remake

Bob Clark’s iconic proto-slasher pic Black Christmas is getting yet another remake – this time from Blumhouse. The studio will release the holiday horror film just in time for next Christmas, and they’ve lined-up some impressive talent to make it happen. Sophia Takal, director of the fantastic indie horror-drama Always Shine, will helm the film. And Green Room‘s Imogen Poots will star. Merry Christmas, I guess!

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best christmas horror

(In The Rank Off, Rob Hunter and Matt Donato come together to settle once and for all who is better at ranking movies on the internet. Hunter, the wily veteran with years of movie blogging under his belt. Donato, an up-and-coming youngster poised to snatch notoriety from the “seasoned” journeyman. Who wins this round? You decide.)

For our inaugural The Rank Off topic, we’ll be ranking our favorite Christmas Horror films. What’s better than corrupting holiday innocence and yuletide cheer with a little murder, bloodshed and gore? Gingerbread houses splattered with spilled guts and what have you. Christmas is just too easy – and enjoyable – a target. Who’s ready for a little holiday genre stack-up?

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slashfilmcast550

This week, Dave, Devindra, and Adam discuss the creative laziness of The Hangover: Part II, wonder why there couldn’t only be one Highlander film, and complain about having their every whim catered to by movie studios. Special guest Matt Singer joins us from IFC. Note: In the time since this podcast was recorded, the Hangover tattoo case has been settled.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. We’ll be back in a couple of weeks to discuss Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

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