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Black Christmas
cast: Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, Andrea Martin and John Saxon

producer and director: Bob Clark

98 minutes (18) 1974
widescreen ratio 1.77:1
Tartan Terror DVD Region 0 retail

RATING: 8/10
reviewed by Donald Morefield
Predating Halloween (1978), this Canadian produced horror flick has its feisty or frightened college girls stalked by a maniac at their sorority house, where there's an obscene telephone caller on a line from inside the house, an idea furthered in Fred Walton's When A Stranger Calls (1979). Also, the old dark house becomes like another character in the film, too, explored in detail by a prowling camera in a slick expressive style that was later championed by Argento for Suspiria (1976) and Inferno (1980). However, there's far more here than just the anticipation of slasher trends, and Black Christmas (aka: Silent Night, Evil Night; or Stranger In The House) is one of the greatest suspense thrillers of the mid-1970s, its cast of genre stalwarts, including Margot Kidder of Brian De Palma's Sisters (aka: Blood Sisters, 1973), all seemingly at home with this exploitation material, and there's much enjoyment to be found in the likeable characters' lively banter.
   Director Bob Clark came to this project from the weird and unsettling Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things (1972), going on to make the Sherlock Holmes' classic mystery Murder By Decree, the hugely successful but actually pretty lame teen crowd-pleaser Porky's (1981), and underrated satire Turk 182! (1985). Clark has since acquired something of a cult following, one that's well deserved on the evidence of this, still very impressive, low-budget feature.
   Tartan's region-free DVD release offers a superb re-mastered and anamorphic presentation with a Dolby digital 5.1 soundtrack. Disc extras include two location documentaries: And All Through The House and Black Christmas Revisited, plus alternative title sequences, a director's commentary, stills and artwork galleries, a trailer and TV spots.

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