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According to director Bob Clark the original script for the film featured murder scenes that were more graphic. Clark, however, felt that it would be more effective if the murders were toned down and kept subtle on screen. Writer Roy Moore liked the idea as well.
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NBC scheduled this film for its prime-time network debut on January 28, 1978 under the title "Stranger in the House." On January 15th, 1978, two female students at Florida State University were murdered by an assailant who broke into the sorority house where they lived. Three other young women in the immediate vicinity were attacked and assaulted. NBC received numerous pleas from locals to pull the movie from broadcast in light of the crimes, and after first stating that they would offer the local affiliates an alternative movie to broadcast, they decided to just pull the plug on the movie altogether. Instead, the film "Doc Savage: Man of Bronze" was shown. NBC instead ran "Stranger in the House" as a late movie on May 14th the same year. The perpetrator of the crimes at Florida State University was later identified as serial killer Ted Bundy.
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In 1986, Olivia Hussey met producers for the film Roxanne (1987), since they were interested in casting her for the title role. Roxanne co-star Steve Martin met her and said "Oh my God, Olivia, you were in one of my all-time favorite films." Thinking it was Romeo and Juliet (1968), Olivia was surprised to find out it was actually Black Christmas (1974). Martin claimed he had seen it around 27 times.
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The audio for the demented phones calls was edited into the film during post-production. While shooting the footage for the phone call scenes the actresses were actually just reacting to threatening dialog being spoken from director Bob Clark from off-camera.
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The film is regarded as being one of the first slasher films (with The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), A Bay of Blood (1971), Psycho (1960), and Peeping Tom (1960) preceding this film). It set the layout for films such as John Carpenter's Halloween (1978). However, director Bob Clark considered it to be more of a psychological horror film than a slasher film.
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The original title of the film's script was "Stop Me." It was director Bob Clark who came up with the title "Black Christmas," saying that he liked the irony of something dark occurring during such a festive holiday. The title is also a tongue-in-cheek reference to the Christmas song (and 1954 film) "White Christmas."
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Reportedly, writer Roy Moore took inspiration for the story from an actual series of murders that took place in Montreal, Quebec around the Christmas season, along with the urban legend "The Babysitter and the Man Upstairs."
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The film had only moderate box office success and negative critical reception when originally released; however, the film went on to have a large cult following. It has since received a critical reevaluation and is now considered a classic.
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The snow seen outside of the sorority house was actually fake, because there had been surprisingly little snow fall during the filming. A foam material that was provided by the local fire department was used for snow on the lawn and according to cinematographer Albert J. Dunk the substance actually caused the grass on the lawn to grow greener than ever the following spring.
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Despite its ominous themes and plot, Olivia Hussey reassured that the set was a very light and happy place between takes, stating everyone got along with each other very well. She did, however, admit that Margot Kidder was rather distant from cast/crew during the filming.
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Nick Mancuso reprised his role as Billy's voice for an audio commentary as his character, for the 40th Anniversary Blu-ray release of the film.
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Keir Dullea worked only for a week on this film, never meeting Margot Kidder, Lynne Griffin, Art Hindle or Marian Waldman, and barely meeting John Saxon and Andrea Martin, but the film is carefully edited in such a way that he appears to be present throughout.
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Legend has it that this was Elvis Presley's favorite horror movie and his tradition was to watch it every Christmas. Further rumors say that his family kept the tradition alive and watched it in his memory. If true, Elvis would have celebrated this "tradition" a maximum of only three times before his untimely death in August of 1977, less than three years after the film's initial release.
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Upon initial release in the US the films title was changed to "Silent Night, Evil Night" because the American distributor feared the title "Black Christmas" might cause the film to be mistaken for a 'blaxploitation' flick. However the film didn't do well under the new title and it was changed back to the original "Black Christmas" title, under which it was a success.
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A novelization of the film, written by Lee Hays, was published in 1976, which offered more insight into the characters and more plot development. The book is rare, however, as it has since gone out of print.
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During an interview with director Bob Clark, Clark said Olivia Hussey's decision to take the role of Jess was based upon advice given to her by a psychic. According to Clark, Hussey said her psychic believed that the film would be successful and a wise career choice for her. She took the role.
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This film was initially thought to be the first slasher film ever to put the audience in the Killer's POV; however, Peeping Tom (1960) was the first. This convention was then popularized by Halloween (1978).
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Composer Carl Zittrer said in an interview that he created the bizarre music score for the film by tying forks, combs, and knives to the strings of his piano so the sound would warp as he struck the keys. Zittrer also said he would distort the sound further by recording audio tape while putting pressure on the reels of the machine to make it turn slower.
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Minimal vulgarity from the phone calls was initially scripted. Director Bob Clark read out rather tame dialogue for the actors to react to. However, stronger coarse language was later looped in post-production for a stronger reaction.
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Star Margot Kidder admitted in an interview that she never thought that the film would become a hit and was surprised to learn that it had gained such a large cult following over the years.
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The role of Peter was originally offered to Malcolm McDowell, but he turned it down, a decision McDowell regrets to this day when he saw the massive success of this film and its classic horror film status.
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According to director Bob Clark, there were three voices used for Billy's frightening phone calls, including actor Nick Mancuso, an unnamed actress, and himself. During a FanExpo panel in 2014 Nick Mancuso said that the actress was probably Ann Sweeny, though he was not entirely sure, as the film came out 40 years prior, and could not remember properly.
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The sorority house seen in the film was not a set constructed for the film but an actual house that had to be rented for the film's production. Some scenes in the script had to be slightly rewritten to accommodate the house's foundation and structure. It still stands to this day as a popular tourist attraction.
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None of the actors portraying teenagers in the film were actually in their teens. In fact, the oldest actor to portray a college student was Keir Dullea, who was 38 years old at the time. Lynne Griffin and Olivia Hussey were the youngest actors on set, being 22 and 23, respectively.
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The role of Lieutenant Fuller was originally supposed to be played by Edmond O'Brien, but due to failing health from Alzheimer's he had to be replaced. John Saxon (who was originally considered for the role) was brought in at the last minute when a space in his schedule opened up.
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Co-producer Gerry Arbeid cameos in the film as the cab driver that arrives to pick up Mrs. Mac.
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This film holds the honor of being the first seasonal slasher film (a horror movie taking place during a holiday) in horror movie history and would later be followed by Halloween (1978), Friday the 13th (1980), Prom Night (1980), Mother's Day (1980), Graduation Day (1981), My Bloody Valentine (1981), Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984) (which is another Christmas horror movie), and April Fool's Day (1986).
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Art Hindle, in an interview included with the DVD and Blu-ray, reveals that the fur coat he wore in this film was in fact his own. It still hangs in his closet to this day.
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Andrea Martin was the only cast member to return for the 2006 remake. She was hired to be in the remake as an attempt by Glen Morgan to pay homage to this film. The decision initially came down to her and Margot Kidder.
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"Black Christmas" was allegedly inspired by some real-life murders that occurred in Montréal, Québec, Canada during the holiday season. This is most likely based on Canadian serial killer Wayne Boden, who killed three women in Montréal, between October 1969 and January 1970. His fourth known victim was murdered in Calgary, Alberta, in May of 1971. Boden was known as the "Vampire Rapist."
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One of the main reasons Keir Dullea agreed to do the film was because it was being shot near where his parents lived and he wanted to go visit them.
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This film gave Olivia Hussey and Margot Kidder recognition as Scream Queens. Ironically enough, Olivia Hussey does not like horror films, as they scare her too much.
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Due to the film's low budget, some of the actors were encouraged to provide some of their own clothes for the film production.
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During the conversation between Phyllis, Mr. Harrison, Barb, and Mrs. MacHenry at the dinner table, Barb, in a drunken state, talks about a turtle that can have sex for three days straight. The species of turtle that can do this is the sea turtle.
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The film managed to gross $4,053,000 on a relatively small budget of $620,000 at the box office. By today's standards those numbers would be a $21 million dollar gross on a $3 million dollar budget, which would mean that the film grossed 6.5 times its budget, turning in a profit.
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Shooting the search party scenes in the park proved to be quite difficult, as the temperature was a freezing 10 degrees Fahrenheit (-12 Celsius) during the night of filming.
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An early example of a largely mainstream film containing the word "cunt." This was cut out for its UK release.
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It was composer Carl Zittrer who contacted star John Saxon, who he met on a previous film, about filling in for the role of Lt. Fuller at the last minute.
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Gilda Radner was offered the role of Phyllis Carlson. She was attached, but dropped out one month before filming began, owing to Saturday Night Live (1975) commitments.
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Bob Clark, the director, said the phone call scenes were filmed before they recorded the profane dialogue. He said he wanted girls' reactions to be kind of low-key and numb, as he didn't want them to overwhelm the shock dialogue they used for the scene. So, he edited the phone stalker recordings afterward, which were quite shocking.
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According to Bob Clark, Margot Kidder insisted on drinking real alcohol for the various scenes where Barb was to be drinking and be intoxicated.
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The role of Mrs. Mac was offered to Bette Davis, who turned it down. She would later work with Olivia Hussey on Death on the Nile (1978), though reportedly they did not get along while filming.
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Barbara Coard was intended to be a bisexual woman, as seen when she is talking about her past boyfriends and looking at Playboy magazines.
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Though some critical evaluations of the film interpreted the subplot with Peter and Jess as a feminist statement that defended a woman's choice to have an abortion, while also pointing out that this film came out a year after Roe v. Wade, Bob Clark and Olivia Hussey have dismissed such evaluations and claimed that the subplot was politically neutral and not meant to promote any pro-life or pro-choice message. It was simply meant to give the characters something to do and talk about in the film in between the murders and the investigations.
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Margot Kidder and Andrea Martin became close friends on the set of the film.
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The film's setting of Bedford is an intentional homage to another Christmas film classic called It's A Wonderful Life (1946).
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Bob Clark in a Q&A said that he had no inspiration for the film's concept, and that it was a completely original idea for him and Roy Moore. The only thing that inspired the film was the actual series of murders that occurred in Montreal.
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The film was shot in 40 days.
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In order to get the the proper creepy and raspy voice for Billy, actor Nick Mancuso had to stand on his head to compress the thorax in his neck.
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Debi Weldon, who worked on the costume department of the film, has an uncredited cameo as one of the sorority sisters.
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The film is listed number 87 on Bravo Channel's 100 Scariest Movie Moments.
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The film was initially rumored to have missing deleted scenes on the cutting room floor that were never released, but Bob Clark and Olivia Hussey have discredited these rumors in interviews. All the footage that was shot for the film was used in the final cut. The closest thing to a deleted scene that exists is an alternative take of the ending, with a different audio mix and sound effects (which is included on the Blu-ray).
With the exception of Keir Dullea, John Saxon, and Olivia Hussey, the former two being American and the latter being English-Argentinian, respectively, the entire cast of the film is Canadian.
The entire cast was filled with horror movie veterans, or soon-to-be stars of the genre. Olivia Hussey would star in two horror classics, this movie, and It (1990), the TV miniseries based on the Stephen King novel. John Saxon would star in this and A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), another horror classic, playing a cop in both. Art Hinkle would star in this and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978). Margot Kidder had just starred in Brian De Palma's Sisters (1972) before she starred in this, and would later star in The Amityville Horror (1979).
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Lynne Griffin and Art Hindle, who play onscreen lovers, met each other on the set and would go on to date in real life during production.
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Although the audience never finds out anything about the mysterious killer - or even if his name is really Billy - Bob Clark worked out a backstory for him; he was abused as a child, locked in the attic and eventually killed his parents. The Agnes he keeps referring to was his little sister, whom he tried to kill but she escaped - giving Billy his dislike of girls. These elements were incorporated into the 2006 remake, which had Bob Clark's approval.
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Billy's erratic phone calls made after each murder seems almost eerily similar to serial killer Paul Michael Stephani's actions. Stephani is known as the "Weepy-Voiced Killer" and the moniker was developed due to his habit of calling the police after committing his crimes to confess. His and Billy's ramblings are similar, as they were confusing and disorienting, with changes in the voices meaning that they could not be properly identified. However, unlike Billy, Stephani was not vulgar in his calls and was confessing to his murders.
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While helping Roy Moore rewrite the script, Bob Clark based the personality and mannerisms of Mrs. Mac on his real-life aunt.
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Bob Clark sought out Keir Dullea for the role of Peter, as 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), which Dullea starred in, was one of Clark's favorite movies. He was his first and only choice.
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Olivia Hussey plays a character who is pregnant but wants an abortion. In real life, however, Hussey had just given birth to her son before taking the lead role in the film.
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Although this film's original title was Silent Night, Evil Night it shares no connection to the Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984) film, another Christmas horror movie, or any of its sequels. Another similarly titled film called Silent Night, Bloody Night (1972) also has no relation to the film.
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The line "Alligators come through the gate but goodbye leg if you get away late" sung by Mrs. Mac while she's preparing her luggage is from Billy Jones and Ernest Hare's 1925 song, "As a Porcupine Pines for Its Pork."
The original script was over 166 pages long before Bob Clark came in to do some rewrites (the unaltered script, if filmed, could have easily produced a near 3 hour film). This script was used for the basis of the long out of print novelization written by Lee Hays.
When the house was initially rented for film production, it had been unoccupied and in poor shape, with old wallpaper and chipped paint, requiring the production designers to repaint every wall with a fresh coat and replace the wallpaper. A chief reason for the house being picked was because of its ominous staircase, and Bob Clark liked that he would be able to get a good shot of someone's feet at the top without seeing their body.
Oscar winning actor Edmond O'Brien was initially cast as Lt Fuller. Bob Clark however saw danger signs when he was collected at the airport and they found him in a wheelchair. He did get up from the chair and walk, giving them some relief, but at a lunch later he became convinced he was in his hotel room and not the restaurant. It turns out he was suffering from Alzheimer's. Bob Clark has said that if the film hadn't required outdoor filming in freezing Canadian weather, they probably would have kept him on. Co-producer Gerry Arbeid had to be the one to tell the actor he wouldn't be able to do the part, and recalled witnessing this Oscar winning actor in tears at the news as one of the most traumatic memories of his life. With production set to begin only days later, had John Saxon not come on board last minute to fill the role, the film would have been cancelled.
Olivia Hussey was excited to be in the film, since she had never done a horror movie before in her career (even though she does not watch them, as they scare her too much) and this would have been her first film since giving birth to her son. She had also never been to Canada prior to this film's production.
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During Nick Mancuso's audition for the role of Billy's disembodied voice, Bob Clark had Mancuso sit in a chair facing away from him, so as not to see the his face; he wanted his audition to rely solely on his voice acting and not on facial expressions. Clark then had Mancuso experiment with different voices in order to come up with one that was right for the character. One of the methods used was having Mancuso compress the thorax in his neck by standing on his head.
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Carl Zitrerer took inspiration for the film's score from Tõru Takemitsu and his score for the film Kwaidan (1964). Takemitsu used an unconventional scoring method, which included integrating sound effects into the music and turning the music into sound effects.
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A strict rule that Clark had set for himself when it came to writing the female characters was to never objectify them sexually or give them nude scenes. He wanted the college girls to come off as real people and not disposable horror characters waiting to die.
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The crimes of Canadian serial killer Wayne Boden, who was known as "The Vampire Rapist" was the case that inspired screenwriter Roy Moore for the main plot of film. Boden murdered three women in Montreal from November 1969 to January 1970; he later relocated to Calgary where he claimed a fourth victim in the spring of 1971 and was apprehended soon after. He was sentenced to four life terms and died in 2006 at the age of 58.
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Olivia Hussey for years turned down offers to appear at annual screenings of the film in Los Angeles (not out of dislike for the film, but shyness around large crowds). Bob Clark, who frequently attended, would always ask her personally. One year, she finally agreed and attended alongside her director and John Saxon. Three months later, Bob Clark and his son died in a car accident.
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The film was financially successful in Canada, becoming the third-highest-grossing Canadian film of all time in 1974, with a gross of $4 million, behind The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1974) and the French language Deux femmes en or (1970).
Phyllis is often assumed to be possibly Jewish based on her Semitic appearance, including her hair. Her last name Carlson, however, is not a typically Jewish name but rather Swedish. The actress Andrea Martin is Armenian in real life.
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There's a scene in this movie where Margot Kidder tells the police officer her number is "Fellatio 20880" (this was back when phone numbers all had letter codes as prefixes, and the police officer character is obviously not meant to know what fellatio means). The police officer then repeats this at the station as he is typing up his report, and the other officers laugh at him. This is very similar to another Bob Clark moment in Porky's (1981): one of the female waitresses gets a call for a "Mike Hunt," and asks for this mythological person ("Has anyone seen Mike Hunt?"), much to the laughter and hilarity of the other people at the restaurant. It's also similar to another Bob Clark moment, in A Christmas Story (1983), when Ralphie says the F word (he was just repeating what his father had said earlier), and this gets repeated by various characters in the movie (Darrin McGavin, the father, tells Melinda Dillon, the mother, who then confronts Ralphie about it, who then says his friend told him the word, and then Melinda Dillon tells the other boy's mother, who then screams at and hits her son, and so on). Again, this was another hilarity ensues when someone innocently repeats profanity in public scene invented by director Clark.
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Marian Waldman would only do one more film after this one, Phobia (1980), before her untimely death in 1985 at the age of 60.
Art Hindle met with Bob Clark at a hotel to audition for a role in the film. Hindle initially wanted to play Peter but because Keir Dullea had already been cast, he got the role of Chris instead. Clark told him after shooting that although he really wanted Dullea to be in the film, he would have cast Hindle as Peter if he had met him sooner. They would go on to collaborate in more films in the future, such as Porky's (1981).
The scene where Chris plays Hockey was filmed at a real University in Toronto. Hindle already had experience playing Hockey so the scene was of little difficulty for him to shoot. The extras were played by the University's actual Hockey team.
Lynne Griffin has remained in close contact with Olivia Hussey and Art Hindle after shooting ended, as they had become good friends on the set. She was particularly excited to meet the former as she became a fan of her work after watching Romeo and Juliet (1968).
Gene Siskel, Roger Ebert's fellow colleague, was notoriously prudish and dismissive of horror movies, and treated this film no differently, giving the film a very low 1.5 stars out of 4. He was also critical of the actresses in the film for taking on what he considered to be "junk roles" in this film.
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Director Clark claims that he re-wrote a lot 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.
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There were several attempts over the years to produce a sequel for the film. After the failure of the remake Bob Clark began work on the sequel before he tragically passed away in a car crash, due to a drunk driver, in 2007. In all these attempts Olivia Hussey and John Saxon were to reprise their roles of Jess and Lieutenant Fuller, respectively. Jess would have become the new housemother of the sorority in Clark's treatment for the film back in 2007.
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Bob Clark stated in an interview that he couldn't recall whose eye was used for that famous shock scene where Jess sees "Billy" staring at her from behind the door. It was possibly Albert J. Dunk, the camera operator who played Billy during some of the murder scenes, but it has never been confirmed just whose staring eye has given countless viewers nightmares for all these years.
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Cinematographer Albert J. Dunk created Billy's POV shots by rigging up a camera harness that would mount the camera on his shoulder as he walked about the house and climbed the trellis and attic ladder himself.
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After seeing the ending of the film, studio executives asked director Bob Clark to change the ending. The proposed idea was to have the cops leave Jess alone with Chris, Clare's boyfriend. She wakes up and he says, "Agnes, don't tell them what we did." Then he kills her. Clark refused and kept his original ending.
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Warner Brothers initially insisted on a more conclusive ending but Bob Clark was determined to keep it unclear. That decision has largely played into the film's current cult status.
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Actress Lynne Griffin revealed that for the scenes where she's wrapped in the plastic bag she would rip a hole in the bag, stuffing the opening into her open mouth and poke nose holes in the bag with a pencil so she could breathe during filming. Being a swimmer also helped with holding her breath in the bag.
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In order to raise more suspicion for Peter possibly being the killer Billy, Nick Mancuso, who voices Billy, overdubbed 6 of Keir Dullea's lines of dialogue.
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"Billy" is mainly embodied by camera operator Albert J. Dunk, who not only did the POV shots from the killer's perspective, but also played him during a few of the murders. It was his hands that were seen by the audience. Nick Mancuso, the main voice actor as "Billy," was not on set. Both director Bob Clark and Keir Dullea confirmed that Dullea at no point contributed to "Billy."
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Regarded among horror fans as the first film to come up with the popular convention of a killer calling from inside the house. However, it was preceded a year earlier by The Severed Arm (1973), in which a radio announcer is called repeatedly by the killer who the operator soon discovers is inside the studio on another phone, and then by the TV movie Mousey (1974), which featured star Kirk Douglas terrorizing ex-wife (Jean Seberg) with calls that the police eventually trace to a room upstairs (dialogue between the police inspector and Seberg is almost identical to that between Jess and Sgt Nash in this film). Both likely set the precedent for this convention popularized by Black Christmas (1974).
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The convention of a killer calling from inside the house that was utilized in this film would serve as inspiration for the legendary opening 20 minutes of When a Stranger Calls (1979), which would only come out five years later. Both films are inspired by the urban legend "The Babysitter and the Man Upstairs."
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For the scene where Claude the cat jumps on Clare's corpse and starts licking the bag over her head, Lynne Griffin's face had to be sprayed with catnip so that the cat would jump on top of her, as it had refused to do so otherwise.
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If looking closely during a few scenes in the sorority house during the dark with the girls, one can spot the occasional shadow in the background, revealing that Billy is stalking the girls throughout the film.
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The killer, popularly know as Billy, was never confirmed by name. Much like other aspects of the movie, not knowing the killer's identity is meant to increase a sense of fear. According to Bob Clark, not knowing anything about the killer was intended to make him less relateable, to have a much more suspenseful impact on the audience.
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Body Count: 8 - Clare Harrison, Mrs. MacHenry, unseen character Janice, Barb Coard, Phyllis Carlson, Officer Jennings, Peter Smythe, and Jess. Peter was the only victim in the film that was not murdered by Billy. At the end of the film, Clare and Mrs. Mac's bodies are still undiscovered, and although it is arguably ambiguous, the ringing telephone, an event that occurred after each murder, implies that it is the killer calling once again (and there is nobody there to answer it). The only other person in the house other than the killer is Jess. The implication is that Jess was murdered by Billy just before the credits begin to roll.
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While writing the script, Roy Moore and Bob Clark could not decide whether or not to have Jess killed off, or let her live, and so they decided to write two alternative endings to the film, one where she dies and one where she survives. Neither ending was ever filmed and so they decided to leave the ending and Jess' fate ambiguous, and stuck to this ending, despite interference from the studio.
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Though the film ends rather ambiguous, with Jess laying in bed and her ultimate fate unknown while Clare and Mrs. Mac's bodies are still undiscovered in the attic, it is worth noting that Mrs. Mac told the sorority that she was returning home for winter break to visit her sister, who was expecting her. Her sister would certainly call the sorority to inform them that she never showed up, warranting a more thorough investigation of the house. Furthermore, the original mono track has a line of dialogue in the background where the police officers state that investigators are heading over to look through the entire house for evidence. They would never skip over the attic (especially if there already isn't a decaying smell from their bodies).
Lynne Griffin's agent was her own mother at the time, and she introduced her to Bob Clark on the chance that she'd get a role in the film. Griffin was initially upset when she found out that her character Clare was to die first.
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Clare's reaction when Billy starts to strangle her with a laundry bag is real, as the actress Lynne Griffin didn't know what to expect.
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The exact same line "The calls are coming from inside the house!" is uttered in this movie and When a Stranger Calls (1979).
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Marian Waldman had to wear a harness every time she was to shoot a scene featuring her character's corpse hanging from the hook in the attic. She did not find this to be particularly comfortable.
Bob Clark was off-screen rocking the chair Clare's corpse is sitting on with his foot whenever they were to shoot the attic scenes.
When the killer peers at Jess from behind the door, his eye is clearly brown. Peter's eyes are blue. This should be a tip-off to both Jess and the audience that Peter is not the killer... if either is in an emotional state to process that information.
At the very end, the phone rings thirteen times.
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Mrs Mac's death via meat hook required the use of a harness. According to costume designer Debi Weldon, a man arrived from New York with the harness, dropped it off and then left immediately. She had to then test it out on the first crew member she saw.
While shooting the scenes of Clare's body in the attic rocking chair, the cat ran across the floor, and Bob Clark was inspired to add in the famous moment of Claude crawling on the corpse and licking her face. Ironically, getting the cat to actually crawl on her was tricky; eventually the director had to be just off camera and physically throw the cat onto Lynne Griffin.
Though often labeled as a slasher, Billy only kills one of his victims in the entire film via stabbing. He kills Barbara Coard by stabbing her to death with her glass unicorn ornament. Debatably, his other victim Mrs. Mac dies via a meat hook dropped into her neck. Officer Jennings and Phyllis die off-screen via unknown methods (though it's implied the former had his throat slit), and the first victim, Clare, was killed using plastic to suffocate her.
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