Black Christmas (2006), or Yuletide Fear (HA!)

30 07 2009

If slasher films were my prison cellmate, I feel like, for the most part, I’d be living on a constant supply of anal pounding and shame. They’re constantly lowering the bar for themselves. For every slasher I approve of, five more pop out that just suck sweaty prison taint. I’m not saying the genre’s ready for pasture; it just needs more invention. It needs another boom like it had in the 70s, where people were cranking these things out faster than you can say, “OH MY GOD, THERE’S SO MUCH BLOOD!” It’s a sad truth, but right now the wide-release slasher flick is in a slump. If you want something new, you have to go watch the independent DVD releases (which are doing a lot to bring the genre back up on its feet) or see an older one, because this decade has not had its fair share of serial killing goodness. Take, for example, today’s film, Black Christmas. Supposedly based on the 1974 slasher classic, it somehow takes a number of the same scenes and scenarios from the original, throws them in a blender with Scream and The Hills Have Eyes, and VOILA! makes a slasher smoothie that tastes exactly like unfulfilled expectations.

So, it’s Christmas Eve. At a sexy sorority house full of sexy little teenagers, girls are getting killed off one by one. The killer calls them, taunting them from a distance, telling them that he or she is going to kill them. The sexy teenage girls, Kelli, Leigh, Melissa, Lauren, Dana, Heather, Evelyn, Megan, Claire, the Housemother Ms. Mac, and Bashful the dwarf (nix that last one), are terrified, but constantly split up to do things. While trying to escape the killer’s wrath, we slowly learn the history of their sorority house, specifically the history of its last tenant Billy Lenz and his deranged, incestuous family. But Billy was sent to a mental institution after he killed his family on Christmas and cut Christmas cookies out of his mother’s skin and ate them (Yummy!). Could he have escaped and started killing people in his old house? Is it someone else? Can these interchangeable vacuous sorority girls escape whoever’s trying to kill them?

I’m always down for a good slasher movie, but this one was just not for me. For starters, calling this a remake of the original Black Christmas is like calling Prom Night a remake of Gone With the Wind; i.e. I don’t think so. Its premise is loosely based on the original from 1974, in that the killer’s name is the same, the setting is the same, and the time frame is (of course) the same. But other than that, I hope you didn’t have some sort of love for any specific character from the original, for some weird reason, because there aren’t any. No, instead all we have is a bunch of boringly pretty girls wearing skimpy pajamas talking about how hard their lives are in school (awww, boo hoo).

Which brings me to another problem I have with the movie; its teen-centricities. This happens to be a rated R movie (if you recall my rant from yesterday) that plays more like an NC-17 movie, but of course the dialog, the fashion, and the choice of perky, stick-figure actresses would let you know that this film is not for adults. If you are an adult, and you are a fan of this movie, you might be having either a mid or quarter-life crisis as we speak. This was not made for you; it was made for the gore-guzzling teenage masses who love to watch these movies despite the fact that they’re not officially allowed to see them. And while I can respect a film that takes care of its core competencies, I felt rather battered and worn down at the end of this endeavor, like I was taking care of someone younger than I and they mercilessly beat the fun out of me. I don’t know the next time I’ll smile, but it won’t be soon.

ATTENTION ALL GORE FANS! I know you’re out there. Let me be the first to tell you that I love gore in all its many grotesque forms. Hell, one of my earliest reviews was of Peter Jackson’s Bad Taste! So let me warn you by saying that the gore in this film is passing, but not great. I give it points for some chutzpah in some of the deaths, but the problem is its unoriginality. While the flashback of the killer’s childhood was surprisingly satisfying (nice Holiday touch, Billy!), the rest of the murders seem like poorly pressed Christmas-cookie cutouts of other cool deaths from other movies. And, yes, I know that there are only so many ways to kill another human being, especially with nothing available to a killer but what is in a typical sorority house, but have a little style! I mean, the whole point of a slasher flick is to be shocked, repulsed, and/or delighted by the horrible, gruesome deaths up on the screen, and if the best you can do is use the same stabbed-in-the-eye gag three or four separate times in the span of 90 minutes, perhaps one should reevaluate what kind of movie one is making.

I was not a fan of Black Christmas. It had potential early on, and I actually got a bit hopeful for a few minutes during the flashback scenes, but it quickly faded away to a sickly shade of bland. If you are a teen, and you like watching movies you are not supposed to, then this was tailor-made for you; it even has a little flap on the back where you can make number two and still keep warm during the cold December evening. But if you are over the age of 21, I do not recommend this. Good for a laugh, but not worth your time. Instead, go over to Goregirl’s Dungeon and check out the latest and greatest in quality horror independent releases and great wide release films of yesteryear. She’s got a lot to say on the matter, if the site name wasn’t a dead giveaway. I give Black Christmas 3 slasher smoothies out of 10. 😦

Tomorrow we take on pirates with the Graham Chapman vehicle Yellowbeard! A merry Thursday to all, and to all a good night!




One response

23 03 2010

“If slasher films were my prison cellmate, I feel like, for the most part, I’d be living on a constant supply of anal pounding and shame. They’re constantly lowering the bar for themselves. For every slasher I approve of, five more pop out that just suck sweaty prison taint. ”


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