Written by: Michael Den Boer on January 8th, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: Canada, 1974
Director: Bob Clark
Writer: Roy Moore
Cast: Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, John Saxon, Marian Waldman, Andrea Martin, James Edmond, Doug McGrath, Art Hindle, Lynne Griffin, Michael Rapport
BluRay released: November 11th, 2008
Approximate running time: 98 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Sound: Digital 5.1 English, Dolby Digital Stereo English, Dolby Digital Mono French
BluRay Release: Somerville House / Critical Mass
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $29.98
Synopsis: During the Christmas holiday the girls at the Pi Kappa Sig sorority who have not went home for the holidays soon find themselves in the clutches of a killer.
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. Visually is where Black Christmas is most effective with its killer point of view cinematography. The film’s main location, the house that the sorority girls live in, is shot in a claustrophobic that further drives home the building tension. The film also features many memorable death scenes most notably Barb’s death scene, where the killer stabs her repeatedly with a glass unicorn.
The films features a solid cast which includes Olivia Hussey (Romeo and Juliet), Keir Dullea (2001: A Space Odyssey), Margot Kidder (Superman) and John Saxon (Enter the Dragon). All around all the cast are very good in their respective roles. The film also does a good job offsetting the violent tone with comedy bits. In the years following the release many films like Halloween and the Friday the 13th films would employee a similar visual style. 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 (Giallos). The plot for Black Christmas is meticulously laid out. The film’s open ended ending that leaves the killers’ fate unresolved is very satisfying conclusion. Ultimately Black Christmas is an underrated thriller that is just as effective today as when it was released thirty four years ago.
Black Christmas is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. Colors look nicely saturated and flesh tones look natural. Details look reasonably sharp throughout with only a few instances where the image looks a tad too soft. Overall while this transfer is not without its flaws it is an improvement over all previous home video releases.
This release comes with three audio options, Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Dolby Digital stereo English and Dolby Digital mono French. All three audio mixes sound clean, clear and evenly balanced.
Extras for this release include two trailers for the film, one in English and the other in French. Also included with this release are two alternate audio mixes for two scenes from the film. Other extras include a twenty minute Q&A with director Bob Clark, actor John Saxon and composer Charles Zigner. The main extra include with this release are three interviews Olivia Hussey (17:21), Margo Kidder (22:30) and Art Hindle (23:47). Rounding out the extras is a twenty minute documentary about the film titled “The 12 Days of Black Christmas”. The extras included give a thorough overview from the cast and crew who are all candid in their recollections. Overall Black Christmas gets a good release that fares well all around with the only misstep being the extra content that has not been carried over from the 25th anniversary DVD release.