MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 82 this week

Black Christmas (1974)

R  |   |  Horror, Mystery, Thriller  |  20 December 1974 (USA)
7.2
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.2/10 from 19,500 users  
Reviews: 334 user | 192 critic

A sorority house is terrorized by a stranger who makes frightening phone calls and then murders the sorority sisters during Christmas break.

Director:

Writer:

(screenplay)
0Check in
0Share...

On Disc

at Amazon

IMDb Picks: May

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in May, sponsored by COVERGIRL.

Visit the IMDb Picks section

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 49 titles
created 16 Jan 2011
 
a list of 26 titles
created 29 Jan 2011
 
a list of 46 titles
created 27 Jun 2011
 
a list of 25 titles
created 12 Sep 2012
 
a list of 42 titles
created 03 Nov 2013
 

Related Items

Search for "Black Christmas" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Black Christmas (1974)

Black Christmas (1974) on IMDb 7.2/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Black Christmas.

User Polls

2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A group of auditioned stage actors rehearse for an upcoming musical production. While locking themselves in the theater for rehearsal, not knowing that an escaped psychopath sneaked into the theater with them.

Director: Michele Soavi
Stars: David Brandon, Barbara Cupisti, Domenico Fiore
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Slightly traumatized and painfully shy Angela Baker is sent away to summer camp with her cousin. Not long after Angela's arrival, things start to go horribly wrong for anyone with sinister or less than honorable intentions.

Director: Robert Hiltzik
Stars: Felissa Rose, Jonathan Tiersten, Karen Fields
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A man staying at a secluded historical mansion finds himself being haunted by the presence of a spectre.

Director: Peter Medak
Stars: George C. Scott, Trish Van Devere, Melvyn Douglas
Suspiria (1977)
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A newcomer to a fancy ballet academy gradually comes to realize that the school is a front for something far more sinister and supernatural amidst a series of grisly murders.

Director: Dario Argento
Stars: Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini, Flavio Bucci
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

After his parents are murdered, a young tormented teenager goes on a murderous rampage dressed as Santa, due to his stay at an orphanage where he was abused by the Mother Superior.

Director: Charles E. Sellier Jr.
Stars: Lilyan Chauvin, Gilmer McCormick, Toni Nero
The Haunting (1963)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A scientist doing research on the paranormal invites two women to a haunted mansion. One of the participants soon starts losing her mind.

Director: Robert Wise
Stars: Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

The Mafia tries to take revenge against a man who testified against them in court.

Director: Bob Clark
Stars: Bo Svenson, Robert Culp, John Colicos
Demons (1985)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A group of people are trapped in a large movie theater in West Berlin that is infected by ravenous demons who proceed to kill and posses the humans one-by-one, thereby multiplying their numbers.

Director: Lamberto Bava
Stars: Urbano Barberini, Natasha Hovey, Karl Zinny
Monkey Shines (1988)
Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A quadriplegic man has a trained monkey help him with his paralysis, until the little monkey begins to develop feelings, and rage, against its new master.

Director: George A. Romero
Stars: Jason Beghe, John Pankow, Kate McNeil
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A psychopathic killer terrorizes a babysitter, then returns seven years later to menace her again.

Director: Fred Walton
Stars: Carol Kane, Charles Durning, Rutanya Alda
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A decades old folk tale surrounding a deranged murderer killing those who celebrate Valentine's Day, turns out to be true to legend when a group defies the killer's order and people start turning up dead.

Director: George Mihalka
Stars: Paul Kelman, Lori Hallier, Neil Affleck
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

After a young girl is brutally murdered during her first communion, her strange and withdrawn older sister becomes the main suspect.

Director: Alfred Sole
Stars: Linda Miller, Mildred Clinton, Paula E. Sheppard
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Peter
...
...
Marian Waldman ...
...
Phyl
James Edmond ...
...
Sargeant Nash (as Douglas McGrath)
...
...
Michael Rapport ...
Patrick
Leslie Carlson ...
Graham (as Les Carlson)
Martha Gibson ...
Mrs. Quaife
John Rutter ...
Laughing Detective
Robert Warner ...
Doctor
Edit

Storyline

It's time for Christmas break, and the sorority sisters make plans for the holiday, but the strange anonymous phone calls are beginning to put them on edge. When Clare disappears, they contact the police, who don't express much concern. Meanwhile Jess is planning to get an abortion, but boyfriend Peter is very much against it. The police finally begin to get concerned when a 13-year-old girl is found dead in the park. They set up a wiretap to the sorority house, but will they be in time to prevent a sorority girl attrition problem? Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It's beginning to look a lot like -- bloodshed! Christmas is almost here, and a deranged, axe-wielding psycho is terrorizing a sorority. As it happens, the mad murderer also makes obscene phone calls -- and he lives right above the girls... See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 December 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Black Christmas  »

Box Office

Budget:

CAD 686,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Clark claims that he re-wrote half of Roy Moore's script, adding some humor into the film. Moore was also against the idea of never seeing the killer however when he saw the finished film, he was very pleased with it. See more »

Goofs

When Claire enters the closet to check Claud the cat the camera points to Claire and you can see moving in the background to her right a crew member and cord. See more »

Quotes

Barb Coard: [to Sergeant Nash] You know, for a public servant I think your attitude really sucks!
See more »

Crazy Credits

A telephone is continously ringing throughout the final credits. See more »

Connections

Featured in Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

O Little Town of Bethlehem
(uncredited)
Text written by Phillips Brooks (c. 1865)
Lewis composed "Redner's Tune"
Combined words and music first published 1906
Played on church bells
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

"If this movie doesn't make your skin crawl... then it's on too tight!"
3 November 2003 | by (Miami, Florida) – See all my reviews

Released and ignored in 1973, "Black Christmas" became a forgotten classic. The Canadian shocker was eventually re-released as "Silent Night, Evil Sight" in order to avoid confusion with the blaxploitation films of the time, but it bombed once again. In the early 80s, it was broadcast on cable as "Stranger in the House" in order to snatch up some rantings. Right when the movie seemed dead, NBC decided to cancel a prime-time airing of it because it was deemed "too scary" for network television. This was all film-buffs needed to go back and discover the wonderful "cool movie that you never heard of" that is "Black Christmas".

Before I go on, here it goes: "Black Christmas" is one of the scariest (and finest) horror films ever made. Major credit must go to director Bob Clark (who went on to direct the epic "Citizen Kane" remake and because of legal reasons had to change it's title to "Porky's") who like John Carpenter in "Halloween", is able to create a current and simplistic creepy atmosphere. "Black Christmas" is indeed very similar to "Halloween": Both movies are themed with a particular time of year, both movies feature a killer with breathing problems who loves POV shots, and both movies have a long and slow build-up that makes the audience care for the characters that are about to get slashed. The difference is that "Black Christmas" does it much better, in fact, I think it is a superior film.

The movie begins with a shaky POV shot of a stranger who decides to sneak inside a sorority house in order to get some fresh meat. That's it! Plain and simple. There is no "your father killed my cousin's cat" motive, the killer wants to kill because he simply wants to. Isn't it much scarier like that? No motive at all?

The cast is not your usual teen slasher stereotypes: There is the not-so-virginal sweet leading lady Jess (Olivia Hussey) who is having trouble because she wants to have an abortion. Her boyfriend Peter (Keir Duella) eventually disagrees. In the sorority house there are many other odd characters, including chain-smoking, foul-mouthed, heavy-drinking Barb (ironically played by Margot Kidder) who steals the show with the much-needed humor. Unlike the countless other slashers out there, "Black Christmas" takes time for the audience to get used to these characters and actually care for them. Unlike in "Halloween", the entire top-notch cast in "Black Christmas" give excellent performances. Olivia Hussey is perfect as not-so-innocent Jess, Keir Duella is scary and misleading as her deranged boyfriend. And of course, Margot Kidder steals the show with an excellent and amusing take playing herself. Also noticeable is cult star John Saxon as Lt. Fuller who many years later started showing his personal love for "Black Christmas" on interviews.

The well-balanced doses of drama and comedy connects the audience to the characters on screen so strongly that they sometimes we forget it is a horror movie. And when something scary eventually happens, it comes as a total shock. Bob Clark eventually became famous for his comedies, and you can sense his upbeat sense of humor though the entire film. Recent movie audiences lost their patience, so movies like that can't be made anymore. And there is a good reason "Black Christmas" is currently labeled as a comedy at the IMDb, it is really funny. So many memorable quotes here: "These broads could hump the Leaning Tower of Pisa if they could get to top of it!" or "I'm a drunk? Here we have the queen of vodka herself!" and of course, the whole Fellatio address.

But isn't this a horror film? It really lives up to it's tagline. To begin with, the killer is not a silent invincible maniac on a Santa Claus costume. Instead, he is never seen. Most of his moments come from POV shots and dark takes. He is confined to the sorority house's attic for most of the time. How is that scary? Sound comes to play. The killer calls the sorority girls though the phone many times (early shades of "Scream" and "When a Stranger Calls") and uses some of the most disturbing voices you will ever hear. He imitates pigs squeaking, perverted dirty talk, animal noises, screaming, heavy breathing, and many other weird sounds. Does it work? Of course. This guy makes Norman Bates look like Richard Simmons.

These disturbing elements are all put together though the brilliant cinematography by Reg Morris, who is able to capture the silent Christmas atmosphere perfectly with the wonderful use of silent snow-covered streets and decoration. Let's face it, Christmas is a bit creepy, isn't it? It certainly will be after watching this flick. The piano score by Carl Zittrer is simplistic and effective as well. The repetitive use of Christmas carols also add up to the tension.

Ignored over the years and unknown outside the cult horror fans, this is an underrated classic that deserves much more attention that it ever got. Everything is perfect in this Canadian chiller: The atmosphere, the music, the overall spooky look, and one of the scariest villains in history. No gore (although the killings are so disturbingly shot they don't really need any) no sex, no nudity, just plain old-fashioned horror. This is "Black Christmas": Snow-covered silent streets, creepy Christmas carols, spooky use of lightening and color, scary atmosphere and the overall look of the plastic bag suffocated victim in a rocking chair staring from the attic window. Trust me, you will never go to your attic the same way again.

"Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, a creature was staring..."


101 of 115 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
IMO The Ambiguous Ending Adds to This Movie's Cult Status ret_cpo
Weird Idea For Who Billy Is michaelbull31
Photo of Billy jgclay2003
Jess was horrible horneddemon
Do you think Billy killed Jess? BattleRoyale96
FUN LITTLE THRILLER...BUT NOT 'HALLOWEEN!!' BogieandBacallfan
Discuss Black Christmas (1974) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?