• Black Christmas (1974), Black Christmas (2006), Die Hard 2, A Christmas Story, Jackboots on Whitehall (631/361)

    by  • 12/27/2011 • film • 0 Comments

    BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974) – Oo… a bit of horror film history here – not only is this Canadian Content with Margot Kidder and Andrea Martin of all people, it’s also by director Bob Clark of the film with wider appeal, A CHRISTMAS STORY. Additionally, and possibly more importantly for horror and cult movie fans, this is the first appearance of the trope that has the scary calls originating within the house “We’ve traced the call… it’s coming from inside the house!”

    Jewish Santa has apparently had better days; “Ho, ho, ho, fuck.”

    There are a lot of side stories going on here, with boyfriends and family, and it does distract from the central plot a bit. Some of this seems to be designed to push suspicion onto people we’ve already seen on-screen. We only see the killer’s face, in shadow, later in the film, and for history, we have little more than snippets of seemingly random dialogue from the obscene phone calls.

    There are some really great write-ups on this film online;

    http://www.terrortrap.com/topten/blackchristmas/
    http://blog.moviefone.com/2010/12/25/black-christmas-movie/
    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheCallsAreComingFromInsideTheHouse

    BLACK CHRISTMAS (2006) – Andrea Martin is back in a new role as house mother, but this film is a reinvention, not a sequel. There are a done of references to the original and to other of Clark’s films A CHRISTMAS STORY, and arguably, PORKY’S.

    This version fills in more of the origin story of the killer, passingly referred to merely as ‘Billy’ in the original film. This remake brings in the name and story of Billy Lenz, psycho killer, right from the start. Much of the film is dedicated to describing just how screwed up he is. There’s an abusive mother, witnessing the disposal of his father’s body, and being locked in the attic. There’s also the matter with a little bit of incest, and fathering a child with his mother…

    Mother ends up treating Agnes as the favoured child, and finally Billy snaps, killing Mom and Step-dad. He even makes Mom Cookies and eats them with milk as the police arrive

    Calls still come from within the house, though it’s caller ID and cell phones this time, with no need for telephone linesmen to run through the switching room to trace calls.

    “This ain’t no place for Santa Claus – not at Christmas.”

    So, when would be a better time?

    DIE HARD 2 – There are a lot of horrible lines here that just don’t make any sense. Witty lines, surely, in some drunken writer’s mind, but I don’t think that they come out quite as well as they hoped.

    “What sets off the metal detectors first? The lead in your ass or the shit in your brains?”

    What? I’ve never heard of shit setting off metal detectors.

    “Listen you wise ass, we’re here to jerk off that cock sucker until he takes off!”

    Again… what? You’re here to manually stimulate a terrorist who performs fellatio while he’s on layover at the airport? That’s an interesting service for military to perform in those Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell days.

    They were given one last communication with the aircraft, and I’m not sure why the tower didn’t just say “Please re-route to Jacksonville” or something rather than risk so many aircraft circling for hours.

    A CHRISTMAS STORY – A bit sweet nostalgia, and a bit bitter truth. I figured it was long overdue that I watched this other Bob Clark film; seeing BLACK CHRISTMAS without seeing this more ‘accessible’ Canadian film seemed wrong.

    Not that I could tell that anything here was shot in Toronto; except for the old school Toronto streetcars in the background at the tree lot. Reel Toronto has more on the shooting locations.

    JACKBOOTS ON WHITEHALL – Marionettes? I did not expect that. I suppose this is TEAM BRITANNIA’s response to TEAM AMERICA, as if SPITTING IMAGE and ROBOT CHICKEN got together to make a film.

    A crazy looking vicar and a huge-handed hick come to the rescue of a completely defenceless London when the German army arrives via tunnel from The Continent. Goebbels, Goering and Himmler are surprisingly camp.

    Vicar: “Oh, shitbuckets.”

    No sooner than our heroes save England from one army of fascists, they fall to another fascist army; the damned Scots.

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