The Film (5/5)
Black Christmas is THE standard by which all slasher films should be judged against. It is the initial prototype for the genre, and though Halloween would essentially place the genre into the popular consciousness 4 years after Black Christmas' release. All the elements were in place with Bob Clark’s creepy holiday classic.
Black Christmas opens with an unidentified killer creeping his way into the attic of a sorority during a small Christmas party that is occurring before the girls go off on their respective winter breaks. The killer has spent some time harassing the girls in the house over the phone, and has developed a nickname, "The Moaner", and during the party he calls and harasses them. Before the party is over, he will have taken the life of Claire, and hidden her body with him in the attic. The next day Claire's Father arrives at the college to pick her up, and take her home for break. He becomes concerned, as he cannot find her. This sets forward an investigation into Claire's whereabouts while at the same time more murders begin to occur around the sorority.
Black Christmas is a film I have seen so many times by this point, that it has sort of become a murderous warm blanket, especially during those yearly holiday season viewings. The film is an undeniable classic of the horror genre that has stood the test of time for over 40 years, and a remake. The film is deeply engaging from the first moment to the last with a memorable cast of characters that while not exactly deep manage to at least be interesting.
The performances from the main cast are of course, pitch perfect, but the cast includes Olivia Hussey, Margot Kidder, and John Saxon, so Clark and company brought some excellent talent to the film. The direction from Clark keeps things suspenseful throughout, and paced quite well. I've seen this film over a dozen times and am never bored watching it. The score by Carl Zittrer is an effective piece that works well for the material.
Last year Anchor Bay Canada released Black Christmas the Seasons Grievings Edition. It used the same master as Critical Mass did for their Blu-ray, but managed to make it look quite a bit better. Scream Factory have done all fans of the film quite a service and have managed to secure the negative for the film (which I was under the impression was lost), and scanned it in 2k. The results look quite good, and much better than prior releases, while maintaining the overall natural look of the film that fans have to expect.
The Blu-ray transfer has nice filmic textures, a nice organic grain field, that gets quite a bit strong in darker moments. Colors are stable, and nicely reproduced for the most part, but do occasionally fluctuate from frame to frame. There is some minor damage from the source, but nothing major, and honestly this is the best Black Christmas has ever looked on home video, so there are more positives then negatives here.
There are 2 audio options present a DTS-HD MA 5.1 track in English, and a DTS-HD MA mono track also in English. Both tracks are quite serviceable with dialogue and score coming through clearly, and no issues to report.
Disc 1 has 3 commentary tracks. The first is with Bob Clark, the 2nd with Keir Dullea and John Saxon, and the third by Nick Mancuso acting out Billy. The second disc contains most of the significant extras We get multiple documentaries, interviews, archival interviews, trailers, TV spots, radio spots, and an alternate title sequence.
Allow me to cut to the chase. Black Christmas is an undeniable classic slasher, and Scream Factory's Blu-ray is as good as the film has ever looked and sounded on home video. The extras are out of this world, and so yeah. This release is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.