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Face-Off: Billy's calls (Black Christmas) Vs. Ghostface's calls (Scream)

Mar. 18, 2013by: Mike Catalano
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I thoroughly enjoyed the feedback I got with our last Face-Off. You guys seemed to enjoy the "girl exorcism" theme and I believe the final resulted in a tie. So I guess that Face-Off remains firmly stuck in between Heaven and Hell.

Today, we are trying something a little new and different with our latest Face-Off. With the hope of tying it in to something current and scary, I drew inspiration from Halle Berry's The Call, which opened last Friday (yes, it was slim pickins in terms of current inspiration). However regardless of my lesser affinity for Berry's latest debacle, I believe an interesting battle got phoned in (so to speak). There have been some pretty frightening phone calls within our beloved genre and today, we match up two top-notch dialers with the creepiest of voices: Billy from the original Black Christmas Vs. Ghostface from Scream!

Initial Call
Snorting, cackling, and horniness. That is basically what would describe the first call we see Billy place to the sorority house. And it works to his advantage. With all his talk about licking the sorority girls' "pretty pink c*nts", he tricks them into thinking that he is merely some sick pervert and not a psycho hiding in their attic. However, his ominous "I'm going to kill you" which he exhales before hanging up is an eerie hint towards the audience at what they are in store for.
Ghostface's opening call to poor Drew Barrymore will go down in history as one of the greatest beginnings to a horror movie ever. Balancing all parts creepy, menacing, sadistic, and fun, he became a brand new icon in horror by asking the simple question: "Do you like scary movies?" The horror movie game he plays with Drew projects a wit so sharp, he could have used it for stabbing her to death.
Creepiest Lines
"Agnes, It's Billy! Don't tell what we did!"

"I'll stick my tongue up your pretty pussy!"

"Little baby bunting/Daddy's went a-hunting/Gonna fetch a rabbit skin to wrap his baby Agnes in."

"Filthy Billy, I know what you did nasty Billy!"

All of these lines clearly define one severely f*cked up son of a bitch.

"Never say "who's there?" Don't you watch scary movies? It's a death wish. You might as well come out to investigate a strange noise or something."

"No you listen to me you little bitch! You hang up on me again and I'll gut you like a fish!"

"What's your favorite scary movie?"

"Do you want to die, Sydney? Your mother sure didn't."

Clearly, these lines signify a psycho with an agenda who is gong to pull no punches.

Scary Tone
Billy's vocals definitely do a great job of crossing way over the wacko line. It can be very gruff like when he is taunting the girls sexually in the beginning. Then, the tone shifts completely from one pitch to another that actually gives the impression that more than one person is on the phone. It's a perfect sign of Billy's totally f*cked up mental state. And whenever that tone turns into that barbaric roar, it is downright frightening.
Ghostface's screechy tone, credited to an electronic vocal machine, definitely has this nasal-y sharpness to it that seems to automatically induce goosebumps. And when he gets pissed, the louder and more psychotic that tone becomes. It's sharp and swift and the perfect precursor to what comes when he finally hangs up and makes a grand appearance.
Humor
Some of Billy's sexual jabs at the beginning do come off as kind of funny in a very sick and disturbing sort of way. You'd think the many difference voices he spits out, both male and female, would be a hoot, but it is just so loud and repeatedly menacing that it is hard to find much humor. Plus, the disfunctional family motif that he's clearly laying out is too dark to laugh at.
Okay, Ghostface definitely knows how to have a scary, silly time. From the snarky jabs at his potential victims to his unabashed love of scary movies, there are lots to laugh at while he's on the line. He's just got this I-don't-give-a-f*ck approach when it comes to terrorizing that leaves room for some extra sharp quips. While playing his "trivia game" with Drew at the beginning, he actually comes off as some sadistic game show host when she incorrectly guesses who the killer is in the original Friday the 13th. Horrifying hilarity ensues.
Look After Hang Up
Other than a pair of maniacally clenching hands, the only real look we get of Billy is a closeup of his wide, gleaming eyeball. You'd think that wouldn't be so bad, however what it actually creates is a classic case of less is more... is frightening! After enduring all the chaotic calls and brutal strokes of violence, the only visual closure we are offered is of this psychotic eyeball. To me, that is worse than any other look the filmmakers could come up with.
An ideal example of both the movie's title as well as what his victims usually do, the plain white face elongated into a screaming-type expression surrounded by black nicely complements the scares that initially spring up through the phone lines. The fact that his movements are just as swift and pulse-pounding as his voice only heightens the horror.
Ghostface's Calls
Oh boy! It looks like a lover of scary movies took this Face-Off cake! Are all the horror classic lovers gonna come out of the woodwork and choke me with a plastic bag? How about ya'll spit dem bullets below and let us know which horror phone voice truly deserves to be tops? And feel free to send any future Face-Off ideas to me at mikecatalano@joblo.com.

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1:11PM on 03/19/2013

Initial Call

"Ghostface's opening call to poor Drew Barrymore will go down in history as one of the greatest beginnings to a horror movie ever."

I was a youngin' when I first saw this movie and that opening call with the meta references and the "i just want to know who I'm looking at" was just horror fanboy bliss.
"Ghostface's opening call to poor Drew Barrymore will go down in history as one of the greatest beginnings to a horror movie ever."

I was a youngin' when I first saw this movie and that opening call with the meta references and the "i just want to know who I'm looking at" was just horror fanboy bliss.
Your Reply:



8:23PM on 03/18/2013
Billy for sure. Ghostface is fun, and in a lot of ways, according to your criteria, is an easy win (humor and first call would go to that one), but Billy is one seriously screwed-up individual. And all the more so because there's never any reveal on who he is. Black Christmas is still one of the best slasher movies ever made, and a big part of that is the mystery surrounding Billy, and his sick voice.
Billy for sure. Ghostface is fun, and in a lot of ways, according to your criteria, is an easy win (humor and first call would go to that one), but Billy is one seriously screwed-up individual. And all the more so because there's never any reveal on who he is. Black Christmas is still one of the best slasher movies ever made, and a big part of that is the mystery surrounding Billy, and his sick voice.
Your Reply:



1:49PM on 03/18/2013
While I prefer Scream as a movie overall, I think Billy is the winner. His phone calls are terrifying creepy and he is just frakkin' crazy! There is no rhyme or reason to what he does. Ghostface's calls are creepy but fun. Billy's phone calls aren't fun; they're just terrifying!
While I prefer Scream as a movie overall, I think Billy is the winner. His phone calls are terrifying creepy and he is just frakkin' crazy! There is no rhyme or reason to what he does. Ghostface's calls are creepy but fun. Billy's phone calls aren't fun; they're just terrifying!
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12:12PM on 03/18/2013
***SPOILER ALERT*** ***SPOILER ALERT*** ***SPOILER ALERT***
Billy for me. It really worked because you don't fully see Billy, just his eyeballs and hear his scary voice.Moreover, the ending of Black Christmas you hear the telephone's ring all throughout the end credits. Wrong number? Or is the real killer still out there? No one knows. Black Christmas is such a classic.
***SPOILER ALERT*** ***SPOILER ALERT*** ***SPOILER ALERT***
Billy for me. It really worked because you don't fully see Billy, just his eyeballs and hear his scary voice.Moreover, the ending of Black Christmas you hear the telephone's ring all throughout the end credits. Wrong number? Or is the real killer still out there? No one knows. Black Christmas is such a classic.
Your Reply:



11:15AM on 03/18/2013

Billy!

Billy is the winner in my book. Where Ghostface is somewhat controlled via his phone calls, Billy is off his rocker, totally out there and much scarier/creepier IMO. "I'll stick my tongue up your pretty pussy!" Nough said!
Billy is the winner in my book. Where Ghostface is somewhat controlled via his phone calls, Billy is off his rocker, totally out there and much scarier/creepier IMO. "I'll stick my tongue up your pretty pussy!" Nough said!
Your Reply:



11:03AM on 03/18/2013

A vote for Billy

Ghostface lives in the house that Billy built. Billy was first, and Black Christmas influenced immensely subsequent horror from When a Stranger Calls to the Scream franchise. Bob Clark's masterpiece "created" the scary phonecall that others have since expanded upon. Scream is just an offshoot of a more significant entity.
Ghostface lives in the house that Billy built. Billy was first, and Black Christmas influenced immensely subsequent horror from When a Stranger Calls to the Scream franchise. Bob Clark's masterpiece "created" the scary phonecall that others have since expanded upon. Scream is just an offshoot of a more significant entity.
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