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Black Christmas
Silent Night, Evil Night / Stranger in the House / Jessy - Die Treppe in den Tod

Canada 1974
produced by
Bob Clark, Findlay Quinn (executive) for Film Funding of Canada, Vision IV, Canadian Film Development Corporation, Famous Players
directed by Bob Clark
starring Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, John Saxon, Marian Waldman, Andrea Martin, James Edmond, Doug McGarth, Art Hindle, Lynne Griffin, Michael Rapport, Leslie Carlson, Martha Gibson, John Rutter, Robert Warner, Syd Brown, Jack Van Evera, Les Rubie, Marcia Diamond, Pam Barney, Robert Hawkins, David Clement, Julian Reed, Dave Mann, John Stoneham sr, Danny Gain, Tom Foreman
written by Roy Moore, music by Carl Zittrer

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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A mysterious madman has hidden up in the attic of a girls' dorm and treaqts one of its tenants, Jess (Olivia Hussey) to obscene phonecalls before killing her friends one after the other and hiding their bodies in the attic with him. Eventually, Jess informs the police led by Lt.Fuller (John Saxon), but while the cops do everything to find her missing friends, they fail to search the attic.

Jess tells her boyfriend Peter (Keir Dullea) that shes pregnant from him but wants an abortion, which totally throws him off-balance, so much so that she eventually suspects him to be the killer.

Eventually, a tap is put on Jess's phone to find out where the obscene phonecalls are coming from, and she is told to remain inside the dorm at any cost - but then it's found out that the calls are actually coming from inside the house, and when she tries to leave, it already seems to late ... but Jess puts up a fight, and eventually she kills an intruder she thinks to be the killer, who then turns out to be Peter.

It's only when the police and ambulance have come and gone, and the attic still hasn't been searched, that whoever it is calls again ...

Margot Kidder plays Jess's constantly drunk friend and is even more annoying than unual.

 

For some reason, this film is regarded as a cult classic, and thought to be the first to incorporate the slasher formula later popularized in the wake of John Carpenter's Halloween - which is of course not true, at least one film, the little-known Teen-Age Strangler from 9 years earlier has already all the slasher-elements in the right places.

But enough hair-splitting, the problem is that Black Christmas simply is not a very good movie, its direction is very impersonal and lacks style and panache, its creation of suspense is very conventional and not at all helped by the total lack of atmosphere, the weird phonecalls that are supposed to be nerve-wrecking are rather silly actually and one can't really figure why all the girls get so frightened by them even before the murders occur, and the ending leaves quite a lot to be desired. About the cast: John Saxon as cop gives a solid if routine performance, but Olivia Hussey isn't really good, Keir Dullea is a bit annoying and don't even get me started about Margot Kidder, who really sinks her role.

In all, I haven't got the slightest idea why anyone even remembers this film much, and am at a total loss why it's so fondly remembered, even.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD

 

 

Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...

 

Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!

 

Bauliche Angelegenheiten
ein Roman von
Michael Haberfelner

 

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