Ten things might not know about Black Christmas

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Christmas time is here! and it is also a great time to be a horror fan! We have Krampus, Ash vs Evil Dead, and no doubt someone, somewhere, is making a movie involving a Killer Santa. But let’s take a look at some trivia for the original Christmas horror ‘Black Christmas.’

10. The Director went on to direct another Christmas movie, but it certainly wasn’t a horror…

In 1983 the director Bob Clark directed the much loved film ‘A Christmas Story.’ Unlike his previous seasonal film, A Christmas Story does not involve people being strangled, stabbed, using the word “cunt”, or have John Saxon playing every horror role he’s done. Instead, A Christmas Story is a heart warming comedy about how a child views Christmas. A pretty large departure from Black Christmas, but that’s all right, A Christmas Story is another classic movie, and makes a great double bill with Black Christmas!

9. The scary phone calls were made using different voices. 

According to director Bob Clark, there were three voices used for the frightening phone calls, including actor Nick Mancuso, an unnamed actress, and himself. Although the voices are distinct, the director confirmed that they are all supposed to be the character Billy. Although Clark insisted things be kept pretty ambiguous, he did reveal that Billy and Agnes were siblings, and that there may have been a baby/abuse involved.

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8. The director doesn’t really consider it a slasher movie. 

The film is widely regarded as being one of the first slasher films (with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Psycho (1960), and Peeping Tom (1960) preceding this film). It set the layout for films such as John Carpenter Halloween (1978). However, director Bob Clark always considered it to be more of a psychological horror film than a slasher film.

7. It started the trend of holiday horror. 

If it wasn’t for Black Christmas, we wouldn’t have a lot of other films we now consider classics. It holds the honour of being the first slasher (sort of…technically? Can we call it a psychological slasher?) to be set on a holiday. It set the trend for Halloween (1978), Friday the 13th (1980), Prom Night (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) to follow.

6. Writer Roy Moore never confirmed whether the film is based on real events, or simply a creepy urban legend. 

It is thought that the script was based on a series of real-life murders in a Quebec sorority house. However, some have speculated that the truth is less frightening, it it may be inspired by a 1960s urban legend called The Babysitter and the Man Upstairs. The story, which has been adapted for screen many times, is about a teenage girl babysitting children who receives telephone calls from a man who continually asks her to “check the children”.

5. The poster is a dark Christmas illusion. 

Have seen the poster all our lives, we admit we hadn’t noticed this one. But for someone with no context of what the film is about – I can see how they could see it. The film’s theatrical release poster is an optical illusion. At first glance it looks like a Santa Claus figure but upon closer inspection presumably after seeing the film, it is in fact a picture of a dead Clare in the rocking chair.

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4. There was a planned sequel…and it sounds a lot like another horror movie. 

At one point in time, director Bob Clark had brainstormed a sequel to the slasher film, which would take place on Halloween and see the killer from the first film being released from a mental institution. When Clark no longer wanted to continue the project, he revealed the story ad gave his blessing for John Carpenter to make Halloween. That kind of makes Halloween Black Christmas sequel of sorts.

3. Like most of the iconic slashers, Black Christmas was remade into a much gorier film in the 2000s (with an interesting Easter Egg).

In the remake’s  sorority house, those with a keen eye will spot the iconic leg lamp from Clark’s A Christmas Story. 

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2. The iconic score was made using household objects. 

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.

1. We have no idea who to credit for the movie’s most famous shot. 

Bob Clark has revealed that he couldn’t recall whose eye was used for that infamous 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.

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