Sometimes, it does feel like I’m repeating myself over here. Twice this week I’m writing about a version of the film that most people weren’t a fan of, this time as you all see, I’m talking about the 2006 version of Black Christmas.
And on top of that, for some reason, I’m talking about the European version, because that’s the version that is on the Apple Store.
Sometime last year right before the latest iteration of Black Christmas (that I quite enjoyed actually), I revisited the original, and then watched the 2006 version. I’m about to make a statement that is asking for people to dislike me and fight me, I’m not a fan of the 1974 film.
Yes, it’s influential and helped start, create and solidify the soon to be super popular Slasher genre. Famously, John Carpenter asked Bob Clark what a sequel could look like, and Bob Clark roughly gave him the idea to Halloween. Soon after, Carpenter received the script for what was originally known as The Babysitter Murders but soon was changed to Halloween. There are tons of people out there who love the original, sadly, I am not one of them. But instead, my love is loyal to this version. And this version alone.
All three versions do have a lot of similarities, they take place at a sorority house on Christmas. They utilize the classic “the phone call was made from within the house” urban legend, and do so to varying degrees.
The best thing that the original has is that when the film ends, we aren’t given any answers about the serial killer whose eyes we’ve been looking out of for the duration of the film. It keeps you guessing until the novelization had come out and semi-explained and gave a name to the killer, Billy.
Glen Morgan helped write Final Destination before he wrote and directed Willard. The film was well-received at the time, and soon after he tackled another remake: Black Christmas. Morgan had been friends with Bob Clark and was given his blessing in the remake. Unfortunately, the film had a lot of behind-the-scenes problems for Morgan. The studios had a lot to say about the story and the killer. They also were obsessed with torture porn, so they asked to focus on that. This makes me curious about the film that Morgan originally wanted to make and I wish that the negative reviews didn’t put Morgan in director jail, because frankly, the film still fucking rules.
Visually, it’s gorgeous. The film is bleeding style in breathtaking ways. The kills are so brutal that watching it in 2020 surprises me that they were pulling this off in 2006. The film feels like a wild animal let loose, with nothing holding them back. It is angry and controversial with no fuck’s given. At a time in Hollywood when they were obsessed but grossed out by torture porn, Black Christmas feels punk-rock.
Speaking of punk-rock, I did love the first half of the latest iteration. Riley’s (Imogen Poots) performance is an absolute bad-ass and punk-rock moment. I felt the film fell apart in the second half. But it had held my attention more often than Clark’s version. But with Morgan’s version, if I wasn’t glued to the visuals, I was watching every brutal death and hauntingly graphic flashbacks at a neck-breaking fast-paced.
As films age, we reevaluate and constantly find hidden gems in films that were once hated. This speaks the truest to genre films. Recently, there’s been a lot of early 2000 horror films that have been recently revealed to be actually amazing, or just simply more fun than we originally thought. While the world is slowly realizing others, I’ll be glad to wait until the world comes around to this one. And then when Scream Factory releases a special collector’s edition of this, I’ll pre-order their blu-ray within seconds and tell the world how I’ve been waiting to get my hands on this ultra-violent slasher.