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Exclusive: UK/US Black Xmas Comparisons

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Horror and Dimension Films; they go together like pills and vodka. At some point, you have to wonder how many great movies have been ruined by the notorious Weinstein chop block. Case in point, the remake of Black Christmas. The production, a disaster of Cursed proportions, is well-known: filmmakers Glen Morgan and James Wong tangled with the studio from day one and the film was forced back into multiple reshoots and drastic re-edits. Sadly, the entire thing culminated in a fall-out between Morgan and Wong and the death of Shirley Walker – a tragic ending to the careers of some very gifted artists.

A large group of us saw the film Thursday night and the results are even worse than we feared. This abomination ranks among the worst remakes and seems to have been hacked up beyond all recognition by the studio. There’s no tension or style, the editing is incoherent and virtually everything in the film seems to be an after-thought (ed note: a full review is right here). The fact that there are studio people this incompetent calling the shots is downright depressing.

In the wake of the screening, an interesting development has surfaced. Slasherfan, one of our forum members, just pointed out that the UK version (which is already in theaters) is very different than the cut we’re being subjected to in the States. British company Pathé Distribution apparently picked up the film and released it before the latest round of Dimension butchery.

Be warned. The following contains HEAVY SPOILERS regarding both versions of Black Christmas:

***BEGIN SPOILERS***

One of the biggest differences is the death of Michelle Trachtenberg’s character. In the U.S. version she is quickly offed with a pair of ice skates in a quick blink-and-miss it scene. In the UK version, the build-up and demise is much longer. As she looks over a banister, a bag is pulled over her head and her eyes are pulled out. The killer puts his fingers in her sockets and drags her away by them while she screams bloody murder.

But the biggest change involves the ending. In the US version, the killer is revealed early on (through bad editing) as Billy’s inbred sister, Agnes. After a confrontation between the two siblings in a blazing sorority house, survivors Kelli (Katie Cassidy) and Leigh (Kristen Cloke) are rescued by authorities. At the hospital, both Billy and Agnes pop out of their body bags (apparently the coroner forgot to check their pulses), slice up a doctor and then crawl through the ceiling towards Kelli’s room. While Kelli is whisked off for tests, Leigh comes back in the room and sees blond hair, thinking its Kelli. Of course, it’s – *GASP* – Agnes, who makes short work of her. After a jumpy edit, Kelli is back in her hospital bed. She discovers Leigh’s bloody watch and runs to the door, which is conveniently stuck. Agnes drops down, there’s a struggle, and Kelli kills her with defibrillator paddles.

Billy drops down from the ceiling and chases her out into the hospital hallway (nobody else in the hospital seems to notice all the screaming), where she grabs a crutch and proceeds to beat him, shouting “Merry Christmas, motherfucker” (ugh). After a tussle by the staircase, Billy falls and is impaled on a Christmas tree.

“Our version was different,” says reader Slasherfan.“When we get to the hospital there is a nice emotional moment where Leigh opens her present from her sister, Claire. The police later come in and ask her to identify Agnes’ body. When she goes into the morgue and the police open the bag, they find Claire’s body. Leigh gets upset and the police tell her that body wasn’t in that bag. Leigh panics and runs back to Kelli. The ending continues as normal, but ends with death of Agnes. Billy dies in the hospital and we see his burnt body flat lining. The film ends with Kelli’s parents taking her home and the camera zooming in on a sign that says PEACE ON EARTH.”

****END SPOILERS***

The running time of the UK cut is 84 minutes. It is unknown how long the US version will run, as the studio is supposedly STILL making changes to the cut. Who knows how many versions are floating around at this point, but if there’s any justice in the world, we’ll see Glen Morgan’s original vision on DVD.

Once again Dimension Films proves completely oblivious as to what the fans want. If they only trusted their filmmakers (like a certain genre-friendly company called Lionsgate), they might come up with something besides disposable trash. Hopefully someone will one day write a book about the amount of behind-the-scenes bullshit at this studio…

Andrew Kasch

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Horror is Strongly Represented at This Year’s Oscars!

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The nominations for the 2018 Academy Awards have been released and both The Shape of Water and Get Out have received some serious nods in major categories!

Jordan Peele’s socially conscious horror/thriller got noms for Best Director, Lead Actor (Daniel Kaluuya), Original Screenplay, and Best Picture! For a directorial debut AND a horror movie, it’s amazing to see this film get some richly deserved love. Peele even tweeted, “I just spoke to Daniel. You know when you’re on the phone trying to disguise the sound of an ugly cry? I failed at that.

Meanwhile, Guillermo del Toro’s delightful fantasy creature feature The Shape of Water racked in this impressive list: Best Picture, Lead Actress (Sally Hawkins), Supporting Actor (Richard Jenkins), Supporting Actress (Octavia Spencer), Best Director, Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Film Editing (Sidney Wolinsky), Sound Editing (Nathan Robitaille, Nelson Ferreira), Sound Mixing (Glen Gauthier, Christian Cooke, Brad Zoern), Production Design (Paul D. Austerberry, Jeffrey A. Melvin, Shane Vieau), Original Score (Alexandre Desplat), and Costume Design (Luis Sequeira). WHEW!

Having seen The Shape of Water just recently, I can assure you that it deserves every one of those accolades. It’s a gorgeous movie that kept a smile on my face through pretty much every single moment.

Other nominations that are equally important for us are the Visual Effects nods to both War for the Planet of the Apes and Kong: Skull Island and the Day of the Dead-themed Coco getting attention for Best Original Song and Animated Feature.

Congratulations to all nominees and we can’t wait to see what happens this March!

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Ice Cream Man Comic Sells Out, Will Receive Second Printing

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If you happen to be one of the many people who believe that print media is dying, this news story will make you fuck right off. I’m talking about the fact that the first issue of Image Comics’ Ice Cream Man series sold out shortly after hitting shelves. Image have confirmed that the book will receive a second printing on February 14 to keep up with what they referred to as “overwhelming customer demand”. Retailers will need to order their copies by January 22.

Each issue of Ice Cream Man is a self-contained existential horror story revolving around the themes of sorrow, wonder, and redemption. As the name of the series implies, the titular ice cream man serves as the narrator of each particular tale, with the official synopsis below suggesting that he may be more than just the driver of a frozen pudding wagon.

The series is written by W. Maxwell Prince and illustrated by Martin Morazzo and Chris O’Halloran. If you can’t wait until the second printing, you can purchase a digital copy of #1 from either ComiXology or Image’s official website.

Ice Cream Man #1 Official Synopsis
Chocolate, vanilla, existential horror, drug addiction, musical fantasy…there’s a flavor for everyone’s misery.

ICE CREAM MAN is a genre-defying comic book series featuring disparate “one-shot” tales of sorrow, wonder, and redemption. Each installment features its own cast of strange characters, dealing with their own special sundae of suffering. And on the periphery of all of them, like the twinkly music of his colorful truck, is the Ice Cream Man—a weaver of stories, a purveyor of sweet treats. Friend. Foe. God. Demon. The man who, with a snap of his fingers—lickety split!—can change the course of your life forever.

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AfterShock Comics Announces New Series Brothers Dracul

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We’ve mentioned AfterShock Comics a few times around these parts, and now they’re about to release a new series that has Dread Central’s name all over it! Read on for the first word on Brothers Dracul from Cullen Bunn (X-Men) with art by Mirko Colak (The Punisher), who previously teamed up for AfterShock’s Unholy Grail.

Bunn and Colak are joined by colorist Maria Santaolalla and letterer Simon Bowland. Cover A is by Colak and Santaolalla while Francesco Francavilla provided Cover B.  Issue #1 hits stores on April 11th.

Bunn describes a bit of what the book is about and discusses working with the same creative team as AfterShock’s Unholy Grail“I’m thrilled to be working on BROTHERS DRACUL, a 15th century horror tale that explores the ‘true’ history of the infamous Vlad the Impaler. With this book, we’ve brought the entire creative team of Unholy Grail along. I’m working with artist Mirko Colak, colorist Maria Santaolalla, and letterer Simon Bowland once again. We had so much fun telling a horror story with King Arthur as its central figure, we had to get the gang back together for this story, featuring one of the most shocking icons of horrific history!”

Synopsis:
From writer Cullen Bunn and artist Mirko Colak comes a tale of brothers and blood that HAD to be told at AfterShock Comics.

The legend of Vlad the Impaler is the stuff of nightmares. The inspiration for the most iconic of monsters—Dracula, Vlad tortured and murdered thousands of victims. But what turned him into such a depraved killer? The truth lies in his teenage years, when Vlad and his brother, Radu, were held hostage by the Ottoman Empire. During this time the brothers learned many things—archery, riding, the art of combat, matters of court… and how to stalk and slay vampires.

Cover A

Cover B

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