Black Christmas: Unrated (DVD)

Black Christmas: Unrated DVD (click for larger image)Starring Katie Cassidy, Michelle Trachtenberg, Kristen Cloke, Crystal Lowe, Lacey Chabert, Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Directed by Glen Morgan

Distributed by Genius Products

Way back in 1974 a young film maker named Bob Clark created a movie that would go on to inspire some of the biggest films and franchises of our genre, including what some consider to be the granddaddy of them all, John Carpenter’s Halloween. Fast forward thirty plus years, and the industry has completely changed and not exactly for the better. Each year we’re spoon fed needless sequel, after needless sequel, and pointless remake, after pointless remake. It was only a matter of time before someone said to themselves, “I know! I’ll remake Black Christmas!” That someone ended up being Glen (Final Destination) Morgan. Honestly, I didn’t feel too bad about this. After all, his remake of Willard was a hell of a lot better than expected, and Final Destination kind of speaks for itself. On Christmas day of 2006 his remake of Black Christmas hit theatres. I’ve had a headache ever since.

To give Morgan credit, he didn’t just opt to make his film a direct rehashing of the original. Instead he wanted to tell his own story while trying to revere the movie that had come before his. Yet that’s where his credit ends. Before I get into the whole, “What the fuck was he thinking!?!” part of this review, lets take a look at what apparently had passed for a story.

Billy Lenz was born with a liver disease which resulted in the yellowing of his skin. As a result his mother decided to off his dad, and run into the arms of a waiting beau. She hated Billy and decided that he should be locked in the attic for the rest of his life. Momma’s new fling turned out to be a flaccid one as her new partner can’t keep it up without falling asleep. As a result of needing a high hard one, the sick bitch decides to screw her son. Little yellow Billy ends up getting mom preggers and before you know it, they welcome into the world baby Agnes, who is not only a normal color (personally, I was hoping for fuschia), but is embraced by the crux of the Lenz family while Billy fondles his telescope up in the attic.

Black Christmas: Unrated DVD (click for larger image)It’s not long before Billy decides he’s had enough, so he escapes his prison to kill his family. After which he is locked up for life in an asylum. There you have it, folks, a back story! Honestly it’s not a terrible one either. Too bad that it takes all of fifteen minutes to put that little bit of horrid history together. The other seventy-five minutes we are left with is void of any logic, any relevance, and most of all, any fun. We are left with a handful of cardboard characters that do nothing but act frightened, flip their hair, ignore sounds of people crying for help (even though they are in the very next room), and spout nonsensical dialogue such as, “I never did drugs, and I never knocked over a 7-11” out of nowhere. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my personal favorite line of the flick, “Dick Cheney is a better sister to you than she is!” What the Hell does that even mean? Is it a political statement? A brief fit of Republican Tourettes? Who knows? Who cares? By this point — not me.

Just when you thought things couldn’t possibly get any worse, the end of the film takes us to a local hospital where the night’s survivors, and of course the bodies of the killers, are brought to mend. It seems that the paramedics in this town are absolute schmucks who are not trained in little things like how to tell if someone is dead or not. Before you know it, our baddies are stalking again. Ponder that if you will — they were placed in body bags, while they were obviously still breathing. I’d almost like to see the killers file a lawsuit! Quick someone call Binder and Binder! Now I don’t mind putting my brain on auto-pilot at times, but come on! Don’t insult my intelligence. Yet, I was in for further insult. Not since The Fat Boys starred in Orderlies have I seen such incompetence at a hospital.

Let me describe a quick scene for you if only for my own catharsis.

Our heroine discovers that her nightmare is not over, so she breaks the glass on her hospital door as a means to escape. Just as she emerges while screaming like a banshee you can spy a nurse in the background calmly folding sheets. Am I seeing this? You’ve got to be kidding me, right? I guess that nurse was rocking out to the world’s loudest Ipod while wearing steel blinders. That would make sense! To make matters worse, yes, that’s right — worse, our fleeing protagonist then runs into another member of the hospital staff while big yellow Billy is about three feet behind her. The dude doesn’t even attempt to bat an eyelash much less help her. Who’s the head doctor around here, Kevorkian? These inconsistencies and ludicrous moments of total idiocy are indeed the icing on this rancid and stale cake. Again, Mr. Morgan, what the fuck were you thinking?!?

Black Christmas: Unrated DVD (click for larger image)I know what you’re wondering … “Creepy, is there anything at all good about this movie?” Yes. Morgan’s Black Christmas does two things right — it’s shot well (at times the film is downright beautiful to look at), and it’s pretty damned violent. Being that this edition is Unrated we do get some closer and nastier looks at the film’s money-shot moments. Still I can’t even say it’s worth it to stick around if only for the splatter. There’s just no getting around it — everything beyond the look of the film, and the liberal usage of the red stuff is as bottom of the barrel as it gets. I don’t know who the critic John Monaghan is who’s quote on the box reads, “One of the best horror movies of the year”, but if you’re reading … Dude, what friggin’ movie did you see?!?

As for supplemental material, (although I have no clue why you would want to watch any of it. Morbid curiosity maybe?) we get a decent little package. There are two featurette’s (one of which is ironically titled What Have You Done? ZING!) that run about a half an hour each, and offer a look at the making-of the film, and the people who put it all together. Honestly, I couldn’t even make it through the entire second featurette. It was comprised of masturbatory back patting and whining. Before my blood pressure rose any higher, I opted to just move on to the deleted scenes. Of the handful here there’s only one that’s worth a look and that’s Michelle Trachtenberg’s murder from the international version of Black Christmas (for those who forgot our friends overseas got a very different cut of the film). From there things are wrapped up with the three alternate endings, all of which were better than the one that we got. Go figure.

Black Christmas is cinematic plankton. A painful boil on the ass end of our genre which prevents us from sitting comfortably. The only purpose it serves is to remind us how much better the original was. Ho ho no.

Special Features
What Have You Done? The Remaking of Black Christmas featurette
May All Your Christmases Be Black: A Filmmaker’s Journey featurette
Deleted scenes
Three alternate endings


2 out of 5

Special Features:

2 1/2 out of 5

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Steve Barton

You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.