Saturday, December 23, 2023

K.A.C. 2023 - T - 02 Days ...


1974 - Following up yesterday's entry regarding THE EXORCIST, we have the first (but not the last) Christmas 'slasher' film made by a major studio, BLACK CHRISTMAS (aka SILENT NIGHT, EVIL NIGHT). I remember seeing this in its original release with my buddy David and being properly skeeved out by it. For a low budget item, it had an impressive array of actors - just look at that cast list on the poster, featuring Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder and John Saxon. Set at a college sorority house over the holidays between semesters, this is one of the earliest 'killer is in the house' (spoilers) trope movies, when it was new. The genius of the film is that even by the end credits, you're not sure who the killer was. Check that: you THINK you know, but the ambiguous ending and the way director Bob Clark handled 'Billy' was decidedly unique and unsettling. I remember as a teenager standing up and getting my coat, saying to David, "There's no way 'X' was the killer", and when he asked why not (and a few people around us stopped to hear my answer), I said, "because 'X' had brown eyes and the killers' were green" (or whatever color they were). At right is the shot that convinced me. The other folks looked surprised by that detail, while David just shook his head and said, "Only you, Sherlock." 😄

     For what it is, and if you're in to this kind of film, BLACK CHRISTMAS is quite inventive. Unlike the passive victims in a number of later films, these ladies put up quite a fight, especially Margot Kidder's Barb. Note: Avoid the remakes like the plague! For more on both the film and the whole 'Billy' mystique, read the articles below - however, if you think you want to see this, watch the film first, as both entries are FILLED with spoilers:

     Now you would think I would have learned my lesson about attending Christmas slasher films, but you'd be DEAD wrong, as ten years later, in '84, I doubled, nay, TRIPLED down on my not-well-thought out choice of viewing and came within a hairsbreadth (or shall we say, a camera's eye) of unexplainable trouble! The new film was called SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT. The whole sordid saga of what Laura likes to call "one of my favorite stories of yours" was an entry I wrote back in 2009 - at the time I wrote it, the Brattle Theater in Boston was showing a double feature of these two films and I said, "It's playing with 1974's BLACK CHRISTMAS, which I also saw when it first came out ... but that's another story. ;)". Well, what do you know? It only took 14 years, but here's the 'other story' at last! Looking it over, I see 'Billy' is up to his old tricks ... the same one or a different one? We may never know:  

     You can read about what I unknowingly walked into under the 'Controversy and Censorship' part of the Wiki entry below:,_Deadly_Night


     The name of our second film triggered a rabbit hole dive for me and my memory did not deceive me ... behold the same-named story of Marvel Two-In-One # 8, also from '74, wherein The Thing and Ghost Rider CRASH THE NATIVITY - I'm going to step aside and let Chris Pearce and his Teachable Moments Comics Blog explain this one!

     One more to go, as we wrap up the K.A.C. with a look at 1975!

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