11/23/2017  
Take Me To The River on Blu-ray & DVD Feb 5Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956) on Blu-ray & DVD Jan 5Condemned on DVD & Blu-ray Jan 5Broad City: Season 2 on DVD Jan 5McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Jennifer Esposito Is Your Newest NCIS Agent in Season 1...
Critics Are Split on Ghostbusters Reboot ...
'Respect is key': The Game, Snoop Dogg lead march to LA...
Kristen Stewart's Sheer Dress At 'Equals' Premiere -- S...
"A Slow Slipping Away"-- Kris Kristofferson's Long-Undi...
Fox News' Roger Ailes Sued for Sexual Harassment by Ous...
Garrison Keillor Retires from 'Prairie Home Companion' ...
Jennifer Aniston is Pregnant: Star Steps Out in Loose D...
Hiddleswift Is One Big Song Promotion -- A Theory...
Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley files for ...





Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Critical Mass presents
Black Christmas: Special Edition (1974)

"Darling, you can't rape a townie."
- Barbie (Margot Kidder)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: December 12, 2006

Stars: Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea
Other Stars: John Saxon, Andrea Martin, Art Hindle, Lynne Griffin, Margot Kidder
Director: Bob Clark

MPAA Rating: R for (language and minor horror violence)
Run Time: 01h:37m:43s
Release Date: December 05, 2006
UPC: 880934124191
Genre: horror


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ B+A-A A

DVD Review

It's been released on DVD twice before, but that isn't preventing a third edition of 1974's Black Christmas. Directed by Bob Clark, the same man behind another Christmas classic (of an entirely different sort), A Christmas Story, this horror movie trend-setter still holds up despite being over 30-years-old.

The Pi Kappa Sigma sorority house is full of Christmas cheer, with many of its inhabitants staying behind for the holidays to celebrate. With the egg nog flowing and the festive songs echoing throughout the house, none of the girls notice a killer making his (or her) way to the upstairs attic. At the same time, a series of disturbing prank phone calls come in to the house, complete with strange whining and demonic noises. When one of the girls, Clare (Lynne Griffin), doesn't meet her father for an arranged visit, the police become involved and begin attempting to trace the phone calls. Barbie (Margot Kidder) is too drunk to realize what's happening, but Phyllis (Andrea Martin) and Jessica (Olivia Hussey) are terrified. Lt. Fuller (John Saxon) believes that Jessica's boyfriend, Peter (Keir Dullea) is behind the whole thing, but it won't be long before the killer, whoever it is, strikes again.

The body count is kept surprisingly low and we don't get to see much blood, but this is still considered a pioneering "slasher film." It's a solid, stylized thriller, but the rather large contingent that considers Bob Clark's picture to be superior to Halloween is overdoing their praise a bit. Still, the numerous "killer phone calls" are the major aspect that set this apart from other copycat thrillers, in that the strange noises and voices we hear are truly cringe-inducing. One of the earlier calls sounds eerily like that of Mercedes McCambridge, who voiced the possessed Regan in The Exorcist. It's not actually her, but these noises only add to the overall scare factor.

As a horror movie fan my entire life, I'm shocked that it took me this long to actually see Black Christmas. I had always heard random mumblings about how good it was, but there was never the sense of urgency to see it as there was for fare like Halloween or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. But despite the dated look and countless, similar horror flicks I've seen since, this one really had me hooked and on the edge of my seat the whole time.

A warning for you Superman fans; the Margot Kidder in Black Christmas is no Lois Lane. She's far from it, actually, doing a great job playing a drunken sorority girl who winds up so far gone that she's oblivious to her impending doom. The rest of the cast is stellar as well, with a post-Romeo & Juliet Olivia Hussey shining in what turns out to be the lead role. Saxon plays a cop yet again (he was one in A Nightmare on Elm Street also) and SCTV-alum Andrea Martin gives a touching performance as one of the geekier girls in the house.

Don't be lulled to sleep by a few slow spots in the middle, because the movie's ending and the true identity of the killer has been argued for decades now. It's nice to see that the increased presence of the film (thanks to the three DVD releases) has only heated up the debate again in recent years. The ambiguity of Clark's ending is what really takes Black Christmas to the next level and beyond being just a run-of-the-mill horror film.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: After a pair of failed attempts, we finally get Black Christmas on DVD in its proper aspect ratio. This 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation still can't hide the film's age, but things have been cleaned up quite a bit for this release. Not all of the grain and blemishes could be removed, and these flaws are especially prevalent during the darker sequences, of which there are many. Overall, image detail is high, and the color scheme is well-rendered, providing a marked improvement over the previous DVDs.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglish, Frenchyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: The looks of Black Christmas are nice, but the audio mix has always been its bread and butter. This time around we get not only the original mono track from the previous releases, but a brand-new, revelatory Dolby Digital 5.1 blend as well. The spooky phone calls take on a life of their own, thanks to this track's ambience and liberal use of directional effects. Carl Zittrer's creepy score is also given some breathing room, and the dialogue is flawless.

Audio Transfer Grade: A

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 36 cues and remote access
1 Documentaries
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. "Uncovered" Sound Scenes - Alternate mixes for two scenes.
  2. "Midnight Q&A" - 2004 post-screening session with John Saxon, director Bob Clark, and composer Carl Zittrer.
  3. Interviews - Talks with Olivia Hussey, Margot Kidder, and Art Hindle.
Extras Review: Leading-off the wonderful extras collection is the documentary 12 Days of Black Christmas, which runs just under 20 minutes. Narrated by John Saxon, himself, and made possible in large part by Dan Duffin, the webmaster of a Black Christmas fan website, this piece gives us an extensive history of the film. We get numerous, recent interviews with quite a few of the cast members, including Olivia Hussey and even Margot Kidder. The most interesting aspects involve a discussion by Albert Dunk, who handled the unique camera shots.

There are a pair of sequences viewed with "Uncovered" Sound Scenes that are worth a listen, as well as a 20-minute look at footage from a Q&A session that followed a special screening. Taking place at "The Nuart" in Santa Monica, California in December of 2004, this segment features Saxon, composer Carl Zittrer, and even director Bob Clark. The first question Clark gets involves the identity of the killer, and his answer is much more fulfilling than I thought it would be, even hinting that the upcoming remake might delve further into the matter.

We also get interviews with actors Olivia Hussey, Margot Kidder, and Art Hindle. Hussey's talk lasts 17 minutes, and is a candid one, where she muses about the highlights of her career, and how Black Christmas isn't one of them. Kidder speaks for 22 minutes, coming across as very flighty, but still managing to give us some juicy tidbits about the shooting. Hindle's interview is almost 24 minutes long, and he isn't as interesting as the ladies, but his poised speaking style is appealing and there's enough discussion on the film to make this worth a look.

Extras Grade: A

 

Final Comments

The third time's a charm for Black Christmas on DVD as Critical Mass has finally gotten it right with their special edition release. The film is as effective as modern horror releases, if not more so, despite its age. Plus, superb audio and video presentations and a ton of amazing extras make this the perfect adult stocking stuffer.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

television, jennifer esposito, blue bloods, ncis, mark harmon. duane henry, wilmer valderrama, michael weatherly, bull, movie, ghostbusters, comedy, chris helmsworth, melissa mcarthy, kristen wiig, celebrity, rap, game, shoop dogg, jayceon terrell taylor, alton sterling, kristen stewart, equals, jonathan simkhal, nicholas hoult, music, kris kristofferson, country music hall of fame, alzheimers, lyme disease, fox news, gretchen carlson, fox and friends, steve doocy, roger ailes, the real story with gretchen carlson, radio, garrison keillor, a prairie home companion, jennifer anniston, baby bump, justin theroux, taylor swift, tom hiddleston, calvin harris, lisa marie presley, michael lockwood, riley and benjamin keough, danny keough, michael jackson, nicolas cage, tom affleck, boston fan, bill simmons, hbo show, any given wednesday, tom brady, deflategate, hamilton, lin-manuel mianda, periscope, heart tweet machine, hamilton mixtape, cable, hbo, curb your enthusiasm, larry david, bernie sanders, saturday night live, maya and marty, christina grimmie, murdered, plaza live, before you exit, marcus grimmie, nashville, cmt, president brian phillips, the tonight show, jimmy fallon, president obama, the roots, hillary clinton, tim mcgraw, faith hill, maggie mcgraw, humble and kind, ellen degeneres show, titi pierce, coldwell banker robbins & free realty, hairspray live!, tracy turnblad, york theatre company, john waters, jennifer hudson, harvey fierstein, martin short, derek hough, j.k. rowling, harry potter and the cursed child, noma dumezweni, emma watson, judd apatow, paul freig, melissa mccarthy, romance, history channel, roots, remake, anika noni rose, t.i., malachi kirby, josh duhamel, transformers, fergie, black eyed peas, axl, double dutchess, abc, music city, grand ole opry, chip esten, lennon stella, the voice, alisan porterm, christina aguilera, ceelo green, ariana grande, sia, the little big town, 2016 billboard music awards, pink, just like fire, pamela neal, warrior princess, send my love (to your new lover), billboard music awards, adele, patrick daughters, bryan cranston, lbj, all the way, melissa leo, frank langella, todd weeks, hard sell, kristin chenoweth, wicked

On Facebook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store