Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 18th, 2017
Theatrical Release Date: Canada, 1974
Director: Bob Clark
Writer: Roy Moore
Cast: Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, John Saxon, Andrea Martin, Doug McGrath, Art Hindle, Lynne Griffin, Michael Rapport, Leslie Carlson, Nick Mancuso
BluRay released: November 20th, 2017
Approximate running times: 98 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: LPCM 5.1 English, LCPM Stereo English
BluRay Release: 101 Films
Region Coding: Region B / Region 2 PAL
Retail Price: £22.99 (UK)
Black Christmas was directed by Bob Clark a versatile director who other notable films include, Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things, Deathdream, Breaking Point, Porky’s and A Christmas Story. Key collaborators on Black Christmas include, cinematographer Reginald H. Morris (The Shape of Things to Come) and composer Carl Zittrer (Deranged: Confessions of a Necrophile, Prom Night).
Visually is where Black Christmas is most effective. And nowhere is this more evident, then when it comes to the killer’s point of view. The main location, the house that the sorority girls live in, is shot in a claustrophobic way that further drives home the building tension. And this film also features many memorable death scenes. Most notably Barb’s death scene, where the killer stabs her repeatedly with a glass unicorn.
Another strength of this film is its solid cast. Which includes Olivia Hussey (Romeo and Juliet, Turkey Shoot), Keir Dullea (2001: A Space Odyssey), Margot Kidder (Sisters) and John Saxon (The Girl Who Knew Too Much, Tenebrae). All around all the cast are very good in their respective roles.
The slash and stalk visual style in Black Christmas, bears many similarities to the visual style employed in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho and Italian thrillers. And In the years following the release of Black Christmas, many films like Halloween and the Friday the 13th films would employee a similar visual style.
The plot for Black Christmas is meticulously laid out. The film’s open-ended finale that leaves the killers’ fate unresolved is a very satisfying conclusion. Ultimately Black Christmas is an underrated thriller that is just as effective today as when it was released forty-three years ago.
Black Christmas comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. This 2k transfer appears to have been sourced from the same master that was used for Shout! Factory’s region A Blu-ray. Colors and flesh tones look accurate, details look crisp, black levels remain strong throughout, grain remains intact and there are no issues with compression.
This release comes with two audio options, a LPCM 5.1 mix in English and a LCPM stereo mix in English. Both audio mixes sound, clean, clear and balanced. It should be noted that the film’s original mono audio mix has not been included with this release.
Extras for this release include, original television and radio spots (3 minutes 9 seconds), an interview with actor Art Hindle titled Film and Furs: Remembering Black Christmas (26 minutes 11 seconds), an interview with actress Lynne Griffin titled Victims and Virgins: Remembering Black Christmas (26 minutes 35 seconds), a documentary titled Black Christmas Legacy (40 minutes 22 seconds) and 40th Anniversary Reunion Panel: Fan Expo Canada 2014 (18 minutes 2 seconds).
Topics discussed in the interview with Art Hindle include, his audition for Black Christmas, director Bob Clark, background information about his career prior to Black Christmas, preproduction related topics, the cast, onset memories, Canadian cinema in the 1970’s and his thoughts about Black Christmas.
Topics discussed in the interview Lynne Griffin include, his origins as an actress, Bob Clark, Black Christmas and her thoughts about her character, onset memories / her characters death scene and her thoughts about Black Christmas.
The extra titled Black Christmas Legacy is a well-rounded discussing about the film’s legacy that has comments from Bob Clark, the cast, composer Carl Zittrer and film critics.
Also, included with this release is a DVD that has the majority of the content included on the Blu-Ray included as part of this combo. It should be noted that the extra titled 40th Anniversary Reunion Panel: Fan Expo Canada 2014 is only the Blu-ray.
Overall Black Christmas gets a strong release from 101 Films.