I walked into Black Christmas expecting a dead house. Who really wanted to see this thing? Certainly not me.
On my way in, a security woman stopped me and checked to see if I had a ticket. When I inquired why, she said the theater was packing up, and too many were trying to sneak in. I must admit, this got me psyched. Maybe word of mouth had gotten out on the Internet that Black Christmas was an instant cult classic and must be seen immediately! Maybe I was in for a kickass horror flick, one that would sneak up on me and send me home crying!
Well … naaah.
Black Christmas isn’t awful. It’s just not very good. A remake of the Bob Clark cult classic that some say spawned the slasher pic (I say Psycho, but that’s me), it’s stacked with your typical big Hollywood gore and interchangeable characters. Seriously, names of characters were being shouted out throughout the film, and I couldn’t keep track of them. They were all the same to me.
It’s Christmas Eve, and things are a little tense in a sorority house where some college girls have either been stranded by weather or didn’t plan on going home for the holidays in the first place. The house they sit in has some history, a la The Amityville Horror: a former resident went nuts and killed his family. Unlike his Amityville counterpart, he cut his mom’s flesh into Christmas cookie shapes and chowed down.
The house mother (SCTV‘s Andrea Martin, who appeared in the original film) tries to keep things jovial by playing the Secret Santa game, handing out presents and encouraging merriment. Little does she know that Billy, the flesh-cookie-eater, has broken out of the sanitarium and is “coming home,” much like one Michael Meyers did in Halloween.
What follows are some not altogether ineffective scares, some weak attempts at humor, and some nasty gore effects often involving eyes being gouged out. In one moment, a killer holds up some eyes still connected to ropes of flesh and bites into them. The resultant eye juice squirt was something I wasn’t in the mood for, but it made some of the folks I watched this with scream with glee.
Speaking of folks with whom I watched this unquestionably ugly film, there was a full family seated in front of me. A dad and mom brought their little kids to the flick, including two little girls who couldn’t have been more than 6 years old. Dad and mom went to sleep (no kidding) while the two little girls remained very much awake, squirming in their seats. They truly could’ve used a little help getting through the experience. If you are crazy enough to bring your kids to crazy shit like this, you could at least stay awake and hold the children’s hands during the scary parts. You, my friend, get my “Parent of the Year” award. As for the kids, I was impressed with their ability to endure. A couple of real troopers.
There are some recognizable faces in this one besides Martin’s. Lacey Chabert (Party of Five, Mean Girls) is decent enough as slasher fodder and she dies with much gusto. I was surprised to see Michelle Trachtenberg slumming in this flick, figuring that this talented actress shouldn’t be trafficking in such swill. Still, one of the film’s more clever moments would be the former star of Ice Princess getting taken out by a skate blade.
I admit to being slightly amused by this one, although I’m far from recommending it. As trash horror goes, it has its place, and that would be a cold Friday night with the DVD player. A night where you want to shut off your brain and watch crap to take your mind off the workweek. By all means, don’t plan on making this one a holiday tradition. Your friends and family will find you completely lacking in taste and undeserving of the gifts they bought you.