Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bob Clark's Taleof Two Christmases

Director Bob Clark's "A Christmas Story" has become such a holiday icon that TBS plans to run it for twenty-four hours straight. I've come to prefer it to "It's A Wonderful Life." As I get older I find Wonderful a little treacly to my taste. There was a fatuousness in Frank Capra's populism that's come to irritate me. A Christmas Story on the other hand is a masterful depicition of an era and a family.

Of course Bob Clark did a Christmas film earlier in his career, one that likely influenced John Carpenter and his Halloween a great deal (though over the years I interviewed Clark two or thre times and he wouldn't talk about that, on or off the record). I watched it again the other night and it's as good in its way as Christmas Story. This is one you should definitely see--the original and not the remake.

From Wikipedia:

Black Christmas is a 1974 Canadian horror film, directed by Bob Clark, which has a very large cult following. It was written by Roy Moore, and based largely on a series of real-life murders in Montreal, Quebec, around Christmas time. Black Christmas stars Olivia Hussey as a young college student who must deal with a deranged killer lurking in her sorority house. It also features Margot Kidder and Andrea Martin, before either had gained fame in the United States, John Saxon and Keir Dullea round out the cast. The film's score is by Carl Zittrer, and was marketed with the tagline "If this picture doesn't make your skin crawl... It's on too tight!"


Tom Piccirilli said...

BLACK CHRISTMAS is the best of the slasher films, and probably the first of the modern era. It's atmospheric and eerie as hell, genuinely tense, and man, those phone call voices still spook me big time. There's an entire separate story going on that's brought out solely by the conflicted weirdo babyish voices used by the killer. And who hasn't picked up one of those stupid glass unicorns and thought about using it exactly as it's used in the film?

Fred Blosser said...

Funny, the older I get, the better I like WONDERFUL LIFE. Sleazy Pottersville reminds me of another post-war nightmare, Ross Macdonald's urbanscape in BLUE CITY. Let me get this straight, though -- Uncle Billy loses the money, George begs for an unsecured loan, and Potter turns him down. And Potter is the heavy? Seems to me we'd all be better off if Potter had been in charge of mortgage lending here in the real world in the last few years.

Filmpharm said...

I had the great honor of working with Bob Clark for over a decade and just completed a film about his life and works. I'm going to post a clip from the movie every night from now until Christmas.

Craig Clarke said...

It's ironic and sad that Black Christmas isn't remembered as well as Halloween, especially since Halloween was originally conceived as a holiday-themed sequel to Black Christmas that then (sort of) went its own way.