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
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 Psychoand 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 thirty-four years ago.
Black Christmas comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. Though there is improvement from previous home video releases. This transfer leaves plenty of room for improvement.
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. Other extras include, two alternate audio mixes for two scenes from the film and a Q & A with director Bob Clark, actor John Saxon and composer Charles Zigner (20 minutes 21 seconds). Rounding out the extras are three interviews Olivia Hussey (17 minutes 21 seconds), Margo Kidder (22 minutes 30 seconds) and Art Hindle (23 minutes 47 seconds) and a featurette titled The 12 Days of Black Christmas (19 minutes 48 seconds). Content wise, the extras give a thorough overview, from the cast and crew, who are all candid in their recollections. Overall Black Christmas gets a good release from Somerville House / Critical Mass.