There are very few movies
in the world that I can think of that are less worthy of a remake than
Black Christmas, a cheesy mid-70s potboiler and one of the earliest
slasher films. It was written and directed by a young hack named Bob
Clark, who would go on to create some truly awful films over the years (including Porky's,
Rhinestone, Baby Geniuses, Loose Cannons and Popcorn) and somehow lucked into making
one true all-time classic (A Christmas Story).
It was a simple story.
A psychopath is stalking a snowbound sorority house
full of 70s hotties who looked at least a decade too old to be in college
including Margot Kidder, Olivia Hussey, and... oddly enough... a pre-SCTV
Where the movie really got
weird was the villain, though. We didn't really see much of him, but
we heard him throughout and he was beyond over the top. He was mad in
a campy, pre-politically correct way. He was a gimp; a loony who
cackled, panted and cursed profusely using the one word that women hate
most (yes, the c-word...) repeatedly in constant, nearly Tourrette's-like
bursts. He used the trappings of the season icicles, Christmas
ornaments, glass unicorns and... ummm... garbage bags as weapons.
Okay, yes, there was a
certain amount of irony mixing the holiday season with violent death.
wasn't an overly original idea even back then. In fact, Black
Christmas was just one of two dueling Christmas slasher movies released
in 1974. (The other one was
Silent Night, Bloody Night.)
In this version of the
movie, at least, most of the hot sorority girls really do appear to be in
their early twenties including Michelle Trachtenberg (Eurotrip,
Harriet the Spy), Lacey Chabert (Party of Five) and Katie Cassidy
(daughter of 70s teen heartthrob David).
And... oddly enough,
again... Andrea Martin is in this one, too though thankfully this time
around she plays the house mother and not one of the sorority sisters.
Congrats, Andrea, you are the only actor in the world who has been in both
Black Christmas movies. That will look good on your résumé.
They call this a
modernization of original, but other than the fact that they give much more
back-story on the maniac and he now has a crazed sister, it doesn't seem all
that different. Actually, the original was more daring for leaving
the identity of the killer much more up in the air. The movie does
ramp up the violence exponentially in fact, once the killing gets into
gear it comes at a dizzying pace but it is too wimpy to totally give in
to the gonzo campiness of the original film (and the killer never once uses
any politically incorrect curse words.).
Like the original and
way too many of these films the girls of the sorority are spectacularly
dumb. They go alone into the dark rooms with weird sounds emanating
from them. They check under the porch and in the dark attic.
They keep looking around the house when they should get their asses out of
there. Not to be mean, but they might just be so stupid that they
deserve to die. (12/06)