BLACK CHRISTMAS (2006), Review.

Posted by Adam Charles - July 22nd 2009 @ 10:24 am

Directed by Glen Morgan, 2006
Written by Glen Morgan, Roy Moore (1974 Screen Play)

I’m really curious how this current generation of minors turns out, assuming that they also stay up late to watch R-Rated films past their bedtime.  I was one of those kids roughly fifteen years ago and I stayed up into the wee-hours to watch films like HALLOWEEN, MY BLOODY VALENTINE, FRIDAY THE 13TH, and others of their kind.  I knew that if I was patient I’d see a breast, somewhere.  I also knew I’d probably have trouble sleeping, but once my REM kicked in the luscious image of the naked woman would be there to comfort me throughout the night, forcing the image of a lunatic with a knife into submission.  No guts, no glory.

I’m sure today’s youth will probably have the same kind of experience.  Only, I wonder if their dreams of naked women are just bad remakes of mine.

BLACK CHRISTMAS (2006) is another in the constantly growing canon of horror film rehashes.  The original, which is an overlooked landmark in the slasher film sub-genre, was made by Bob Clark who is one of the most under-acknowledged filmmakers in the latter half of the 20th century.  While 1974’s BLACK CHRISTMAS isn’t nearly as well known as the more popular titles in the horror film catalog it is about as revered, amongst those that have seen it, as some of the genre’s best.

The story for the newer film involves about five or six fully clothed sorority breasts having a minimal Christmas celebration in the sorority house.  The same night of their party a yellow-skinned incarcerated mental patient escapes from his cell and returns home to kill whomever is living in his old house.  That house is the sorority house of the said fully-clothed pairs of breasts having a party.

One of the party’s later arrivals is an ex-sorority breast who has come to pick up baby sister breast, who is the first to go missing. And thus begins the massacre and endless flashbacks to explain everything about the killer, because otherwise we couldn’t enjoy ourselves.

I don’t mean to reduce the women involved in the film to their busts, but it’s obvious why they were all picked because there really wasn’t anything for them to do except get killed; so they had to, at the very least, look sexy when it happened.  In that respect the film passes with flying colors.  It stars very pretty people being terrorized by very ugly people.  As does the new HALLOWEEN….and FRIDAY THE 13th….and MY BLOODY VALENTINE….and TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE…

There is one sorority girl that’s cast to throw us off because of her more homely looks, so therefore she can’t be a victim (or can she??!!), and must be the killer (or MUST she??!!).

This new film, directed by Glen Morgan who is responsible for the underrated WILLARD remake, I can grant had very little chance to add any of its own flavor to the material to make something just as tasty as the original.  The same also applies to most of the other remakes.

However, it’s very clear that Morgan has little interest in retaining anything about what made the original film work so well; or just isn’t as good of a filmmaker as Bob Clark is. Both ringing true isn’t out of the question.

What Morgan decided on to give his own unique spin was to identify the murderer this time around, add a back story, and obsess over the singular eye image of the killer in the original film to such an exaggerative degree that it becomes the focus of nearly every scene.

It starts almost as an homage to the original, and then quickly develops into a game of “Where’s Waldo?” with us trying to locate an eye somewhere in the frame.  Whether it be a screensaver, or just a picture on the wall it’s there somewhere – staring at us as we wrestle with the urge to just yell “ENOUGH ALREADY!!”

By the time the reason behind the eye fetish is revealed we’ve already grown too agitated, and the payoff itself is just a bland and useless attempt at gross-out horror.  The rest of the material just tends to follow along the same, dull path.

At this point I doubt we can expect studios to stop making horror remakes anytime in the near future.   They’re too easy to make, and too profitable to ignore.  All we really have left to look forward to is the well of available titles running dry.  Otherwise, the next generation of pre-teens will only dream bad copies of this generation’s dreams; which are just bad copies of mine.

I don’t know if I’d go as far as to say that BLACK CHRISTMAS (2006) is the worst of the bunch, but it’s at best just as forgettable.  Your dreams will probably neglect it as well, and cry in the corner as they envy my originals.

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  1. July 22nd, 2009 | 10:52 am | #1

    “I’m sure today’s youth will probably have the same kind of experience. Only, I wonder if their dreams of naked women are just bad remakes of mine.”

    If you were in my office right now you’d hear me giving those two sentences a slow clap. Unfortunately my cats aren’t joining in the clap, so I just look like a crazy person.

  2. Brian
    July 22nd, 2009 | 11:04 am | #2

    Very enjoyable review Mr. Charles. Looking forward to more from you.

  3. Dave
    July 22nd, 2009 | 1:50 pm | #3

    Nice review. I actually haven’t seen this one myself, because after reading some things about it, I couldn’t possibly imagine it even coming close to the original, which I love. Thank you for giving me even more reason to avoid this flick.

  4. adam charles
    July 22nd, 2009 | 3:12 pm | #4

    Thank you.

    On a separate, yet related, note: SEE the original if you haven’t yet. It’s insanely unsettling. It precedes HALLOWEEN by about 4 years, and it gives it a run for its money in terms of creeps. No joke.

    I don’t think I’d call it a “better” film than HALLOWEEN, but it’s at worst only marginally inferior. The score for HALLOWEEN may put it over the top.

    I think the more people that get exposed to the original the more you’ll see it ranked amongst the greatest horror films, or at the very least the greatest slasher films. In terms of slashers I’d consider it somewhere in the top 5, if not top 3.

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