“Black Christmas” (1974) – A group of sorority girls hope to spend a joyous holiday over Christmas break, but a maniac – with unknown motivations – attempts to murder them one by one. Director Bob Clark gives “Black Christmas” a raw and unsettling edge by employing shifty, handheld camerawork that walks up and down empty stairs and hallways of a 4,000 square foot house, and many times without an accompanying score.
John Carpenter’s “Halloween” (1978) might be considered the first mainstream slasher film, but director Clark’s picture arrived in theatres four years earlier. The tones will remind you of “Halloween”, but minus the bells and whistles, and couple that with numerous obscene phone calls that terrorize the young women, and “Black Christmas” is a cinematic present wrapped in newspaper and barbed wire. Margot Kidder stars in probably her third most famous role, behind “The Amityville Horror” (1979) and the “Superman” trilogy.
Image credits: Warner Bros.; Trailer credits: Shawn Everidge