Exclusive: UK/US Black Xmas Comparisons
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:
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."
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...
Make plans to skip this one, please, in our forums!