Musings in the Dark: Horror 102: Holiday Horror


Horror 102: Holiday Horror

I saw the original Black Christmas (1974) about fifteen years ago after reading about how influential it was on later horror movies, such as When A Stranger Calls and my beloved Halloween.  Being that it was from 1974, I felt good that it was going to be a worthwhile watch.  One minute in, I was not disappointed.  The movie opens from the killer’s perspective; he’s peeking into the windows of a sorority house, finds a rose trellis and climbs it, gaining entry to the house via the attic.

Downstairs, the sorority sisters are doing sorority sister things.  What’s interesting is that periodically, one of the sisters will go upstairs to do something or get something and is murdered by the creepazoid and stashed either in the attic or in one of the bedrooms...and for the longest time, people don’t notice that they don’t come back downstairs.  The killer crank calls the girls, using language that he heard them say in conversation. The father of the first girl that was murdered, Clare, comes to pick her up and is frustrated that she cannot be located.  

The police get involved, but don’t take Clare’s disappearance seriously; they think she’s shacked up with her boyfriend.  The crank calls continue, sorority sisters die, and the cops believe that Jess’s (the main character) boyfriend Peter is the culprit behind the crank calls because he is upset that she wants to have an abortion.  No one knows about the dead bodies upstairs, but other dead bodies are found in different locations and the cops struggle to figure out whodunit. They learn that the crank calls are coming from inside the house and rush over to save Jess.  Peter, a volatile sort, returns to the house to try and convince Jess not to have the abortion. Jess ends up killing Peter with a fireplace poker and the cops surmise that he was the killer.  They leave a sedated Jess alone in the house with a guard at the front door and the real killer climbing down from the attic, and then the movie ends.

This movie scared the shit out of me.  The night I watched it, I made sure every window in my house was locked and double- and tripled-checked the doors just to be sure.  And even with all that, I was not able to sleep.  I sat in my bed, my arms folded around my legs, and stared at the window most of the night.  The whole idea of the killer gaining entry through an upstairs window...and never being discovered...shook me to my core and I haven’t been right since.


  1. I saw reviews of the Black Christmas re-make. Now I am really starting to see why people say Hollywood is running out of ideas. Damn!!!

  2. That remake was some fresh bullshit. Stick with the classics.

  3. Until now, I didn't even know half of these things were re-makes.


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