Tuesday, December 19, 2023

holiday horror

 One of my favorite holiday horror offerings, perhaps only second to the original Halloween, is the 1974 Black Christmas, which, like me, has the honor/terror of turning 50 next year. I re-watch it every few years, appreciating it for its slow burn home intrusion terror, its misogynistic weirdness that is only compounded by never quite being explained, and its strangely feminist take on undergrad life in the early 70's --a time where I often forget--women were finally granted the ability to have their own credit cards and bank accounts independent of men. 

The women in Black Christmas are beholden to men--to fathers, to boyfriends, to the almost comically incompetent police department that fails them when they need them most.  That explains away disappearances of women like swatting a fly. A movie that touches on choice and abortion, and whose final girl, though she is failed in the end, is brave enough not to go out the door when the call is coming from inside the house, but decides to fight back years before Laurie Strode was on the tongue of slasher fans. Texas Chainsaw Massacre came out the same year, though I do not love it half as much, mostly cause there feels like so much more horror in danger in familiar spaces than unfamiliar ones. A cozy sorority house over break than the wilds of rural America. Places you are supposed to feel and be safe versus obviously dangerous ones. 

This week, over at the Logan, was the first time I ever caught it on the big screen, and I noticed things I may not have before in terms of camera work and suspense building--how much this little film would influence the slashers that followed in the next decade and a half. (also Margot Kidder, though she doesn't make it out alive, is one of the best loose-cannon bad girls of horror in this.)

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