The F*ckin Black Sheep: Black Christmas (2006)

THE BLACK SHEEP is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATH. We’re hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Dig in!

Black Christmas (2006)
Directed by Glen Morgan

“BLACK CHRISTMAS doesn’t give a damn about expectations.”

Out of all the 1970s slasher movies, HALLOWEEN obviously reigns supreme with good reason. It had the right cast, the right director, and the right William Shatner mask. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some other solid brutal flicks from that time - like the original BLACK CHRISTMAS, the "original" slasher. And, in our gotta-remake-everything world, what was once old is new again!

If anyone could make something old fresh, Glen Morgan seemed like a solid choice. After all, a time existed when director/writer Morgan was a name that deserved horror fans’ attention. Not so much on the director’s side (with only three directing credits including this movie, WILLARD and a brand new X-FILES episode!), but along with his longtime producing/writer partner James Wong, they helped define the X-FILES (with badass episodes like “Home”) and created the very popular (and seemingly forgotten) FINAL DESTINATION franchise. And then he made…BLACK CHRISTMAS.

Even Morgan himself once said something along the lines that if BLACK CHRISTMAS bombed, his directing career was finished. Which was basically correct even though that shit ain’t fair. Granted, it tanked (making about $16 million off a $9 million budget…though it made another $29 mil via home markets), but it’s a helluva film, completely underrated and misunderstood. In a lot of ways, Morgan’s BLACK CHRISTMAS plays like an early version of Fox’s SCREAM QUEENS, which makes sense considering Wong produces that as well. Like that show, no one gives a shit about these characters. The girls are so stereotypically catty and bitchy that their deaths are welcome (though SCREAM QUEENS does a much better job with character and humor).

Now part of the initial problem comes from the old “remake” label. It seems more and more that horror remakes suck donkey balls. Expectations remain too high and filmmakers can’t meet them or just don’t. With 1974’s BLACK CHRISTMAS, it isn’t exactly a household name, so it’s not as if the masses carry the same expectations as the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET or HALLOWEEN reimaginings (or whatever current term is popular now). Morgan’s BLACK CHRISTMAS doesn’t give a damn about expectations. It doesn’t attempt to be something it’s not beyond hot college girls running around (though they probably wear too many clothes), brutally bloody murder, money shot death scenes, and creepy dudes climbing around behind walls.

It has been a while since I viewed Bob Clark’s ‘74 BLACK CHRISTMAS. I dug it and was surprised by its creativity (and the fact it isn’t a major household name). Morgan’s 2006 remake obviously lacks theoriginal's creativity (when the slasher genre was an infant), but he brings his own flair in violence and gore. Morgan also avoids the full remake route, adding more humor and making the yellow killer Billy into something…else. At the same time, they brought back ‘74 star Andrea Martin to play the house mother, which was a nice touch.

Ok, I can’t deny that the plot is really, really dumb. While the original’s script was tight and focused, Morgan doesn’t give us much to care about. He seemingly either wrote the script on those little bar napkins or presented cue cards the day of shooting because nothing makes a lot of sense. Hell, I honestly have no idea who was which character and I really didn’t care. Why? Because that isn’t the point of this flick! Morgan wanted to make a splatter film, and he doesn’t mess around with the brutality. Holy cow. Eye balls get eaten, people get suffocated, heads are bashed, skin gets cooked (in the shape of Christmas cookies!). So if you watch this and expect what Bob Clark gave the world, drop that idea. Or if you watch this and expect a typical slasher exercise, don’t. Instead, put on your Dexter apron and watch Glen Morgan paint your screen red with absolute joy. ‘Tis the season.


Extra Tidbit: Are you a fan of the BLACK XMAS remake?



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