Christmas is over

And perhaps that’s a good thing

OOH, SCARY<br> There’s a killer on the loose but why would they run when they can look thoughtfully into the distance?

There’s a killer on the loose but why would they run when they can look thoughtfully into the distance?

Rated 1.0

Someone’s been naughty. And it’s not the sorority girls in Black Christmas, who get stabbed and beaten and have their eyeballs ripped out. Nope, the coal award goes to director Glen Morgan, who took a perfectly good ‘70s slasher flick, wrapped it in newspaper and dropped it in the fire.

This year’s holiday horror movie—which was so bad that even Santa wouldn’t leave it in our stockings on Christmas Day in Chico—is so bad it’s almost laughable (and parts of it are). It’s a remake of the classic 1974 film by the same name, which has been said to have launched the slasher genre.

The plot was simple but scary—a handful of sorority girls, still in the house during winter break, get harassed by a prank caller. When one of them goes missing, they call the cops, who eventually trace the calls to inside the house. It’s too late, though, and the bloodbath continues.

Morgan’s version takes the basic plot and expands on it, giving Billy, the killer, a whole backstory. And that’s what ends up being the real killer. We are first introduced to Billy inside a mental institution. It’s Christmas and he is locked in a cell. Billy, of course, breaks out of the institution, to very little fanfare considering he’s tried to break out every year since he was admitted.

Through flashbacks we learn about Billy’s past Christmases, which include lots of cigarettes and alcohol, murder, incest, and his mother telling him that Santa is dead. It’s all very cliché, really—except for the incest part, which introduces a whole new element of bad. And the scenes depicting Billy’s sister Agnes are simply laughable.

Meanwhile, the girls of Alpha Kappa gather around the tree to open their Secret Santa gifts. Their slightly loopy house mother looks around for about an hour to find everyone’s package and goes a little nutty searching for Billy’s present—it’s a tradition to give a gift to Billy, who used to live in the house. “Who chose Billy’s name? We can’t start until we have Billy’s present!” (In some strange circumstance this tradition could have made sense. But, as it turns out, the house mom doesn’t even know the whole story behind how Billy murdered his family in what is now their sorority house.)

Upstairs, one of the girls is suffocated and stabbed. The others get picked off one by one, and unfortunately even the suspense in each killing is ruined by repeated shots of the murder weapon before it is grabbed and used. A few new characters come to the house—a boyfriend, a sister—but the snowstorm outside is conveniently bad enough to keep the police away (apparently they’re unnecessary in this age of caller ID).

Just about the only redeeming quality of Black Christmas is the cast. The sorority girls, anyway—lots of recognizable actresses and all of them pretty good. Too bad for them their names are attached to such an unscary, disgustingly gory slashfest of a movie.