EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|BLACK CHRISTMAS (aka: STRANGER IN THE HOUSE) (director: Bob Clark; screenwriter: Roy Moore; cinematographer: Reginald H. Morris; editor: Stan Cole; music: Carl Zittrer; cast: Olivia Hussey (Jess), Keir Dullea (Peter), Margot Kidder (Barb), John Saxon (Lt. Fuller), Marian Waldman (Mrs. Mac), Andrea Martin (Phyl), James Edmond (Mr. Harrison), Doug McGrath (Sgt. Nash), Art Hindle (Chris), Lynn Griffin (Clare), Leslie Carlson (Graham), Bob Clark & Nick Mancuso (Phone Voices); Runtime: 98; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Bob Clark/Gerry Arbeid/Findlay Quinn/Richard Schouten; Warner Home Video; 1974-Canada)|
of the better slasher films."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Director Bob Clark's ("Porky's"/"Deathdream"/"A Christmas Story")
thriller is successful thanks to a well-executed
twisty ending and the
director's skill in building suspense. It's cleverly
written by Roy
Moore, and was shot
with a $620,000 budget in Toronto.
A maniac during the Christmas season is making
obscene calls to a college sorority house, while
secretly living in
their attic and using the house mother's phone. When
one of the girls,
disappears, the sorority sisters notify the police.
But the police ignore
concern until a 13-year-old local girl from the town
turns up dead in
park. Head of the investigation is Lt.
(John Saxon), who puts a tap on the
The few girls who
the house for the holiday break either get strangled
or slashed to
death. Even the hapless drunken house mother (Marian Waldman) gets murdered when she
goes up to the
attic to look for her missing cat. Jess (Olivia Hussey) is the only survivor, as
the police prove
to be inept in protecting the girls. The music student
boyfriend of Jess, Peter (Keir
Dullea), is upset that she wants an abortion and
refuses his marriage
proposal, and becomes the main suspect because of his
Margot Kidder as the
foul-mouthed sorority sister is a hoot, as is Doug McGrath as the inept
Otherwise all the senseless violence (not graphic for
the most part,
except for the horrible shrieks over the phone by
makes the crude comedy attempts appear misplaced even
if they're funny.
I'm not a fan of slasher films (most being created by copycat hacks), but I must say this is one of the better slasher films despite its faults.
REVIEWED ON 12/24/2010 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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