"Black Christmas" (1974) | Sam Gall Movie Review Issue #85 Gem Mint 10.0


“Black Christmas“ (1974)

Director: Bob Clark

Writer: Roy Moore

Starring: Olivia Hussey, Margot Kidder, John Saxton, Keir Dullea, Lynne Griffin, Marian Waldman

Rated: R for strong language, some frightening images and violence

Runtime: 1h 38min

Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Country: Canada

Language: English


"During their Christmas break, a group of sorority girls are stalked by a stranger."


You might like this if you like: Horror Movies, Mystery Movies, Thrillers, Crime Stories, Christmas Movies, Slasher Movies, Psychological Thrillers, College Thrillers, Olivia Hussey, Margot Kidder, John Saxton, Keir Dullea, Lynne Griffin, Marian Waldman


"Black Christmas" (1974)


I can’t remember how I discovered this one exactly but I know it’s one of my favorite Christmas films / thrillers. As a big fan of his, I do remember Quentin Tarantino praising this film, so it could’ve been one of his recommendations.


I love the setup of the sorority at the center of this thriller. The young group of people feel so right to have in a slasher flick along with your older townsfolk. A grittier “Stranger Things” for teens but without the supernatural.


Olivia Hussey in "Black Christmas" (1974)


It’s a strong predecessor to John Carpenter’s “Halloween” (1979), particularly the opening POV shots which are also sprinkled throughout the film, but the overall feeling of a small town, holiday themed and a rampant killer stalking the streets. “When a Stranger Calls” (1979) & the (2006) version are more homages to this Christmas classic.

Margot Kidder aka “Louis Lane” was a standout for me especially in the first half of the film. John Saxton is always a treat to watch. Could’ve used more of him but I get it wasn’t his story. I wasn’t too familiar with the rest of the cast, except for Keir Dullea from “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968), but the whole cast is just terrific.


Margot Kidder in "Black Christmas" (1974)


For a simple, even predictable (though I’m a strong believer in that even if we know how it ends we don’t how we get there, just like in life, it’s the journey I enjoy) story I keep finding it upon rewatch to be more compelling than the last. And continually terrifying. That early image with plastic wrap still haunts me to this day.


"Black Christmas" (1974)

It’s a true genre pleaser with such a great group of characters, strong female leads and magnificently directed by Bob Clark. It really is my John Carpenter’s "Halloween” (1979) for Halloween but for Christmas. Two perfect holiday thrillers in my mind. This is up there with my all time horror / thriller films like “The Exorcist” (1973) and “The Thing” (1982).


Written by Sam Gall on 12/17/19


CGC Grading: Gem Mint 10.0


"...Black Christmas is a holiday classic and a film that builds horror's foundation for more than its kills. It is with us 45 years later because of how it establishes tropes and how it presents a depiction of being a woman in a real and authentic way." - Kate Sanchez, But Why Tho? A Geek Community


"Something of a period piece, though an influential one -- and still an effective festive horror, as a killer stalks the young women of a sorority while the men in their lives also try to control them. Margot Kidder is fantastic as the damaged Barb." - Sarah Cartland, Caution Spoilers


"There's no doubting that Black Christmas had all the advantages of being first of its kind. The film stands as the mother of the modern slasher. It was able to make its own rules, and subsequently created a template for the films that came after." - Jourdain Searles, Thrillist


"A well-made excursion into the bloody unknown, driven by characterization and modulated by a tone that knows when to amplify the scares and when to back away from them, usually at the service of a story with the morbid curiosity to investigate further." - David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org


Official Trailer:

Behind the Scenes:


Available on various VOD platforms


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