When I rented this film around the Christmas season of 1999, I did not know what to expect. The only reason why I rented it was that Olivia Hussey and Keir Dullea were in the leading roles (I have a strange and sick obsession with Olivia Hussey and I liked Keir Dullea in 2001). But then when I first watched it that dark and cold Saturday night, I was amazed.
The film's style was very dark and mysterious, as well as bizarre. While watching the film, I saw where John Carpenter might have gotten a lot of his filming technique from his 1978 classic, Halloween (one of my personal favorites). It, like Halloween, involves the murders of young women. And in the case of Black Christmas, it's sorority girls.
What set this apart from Halloween is that the killer is less human than Michael Myers. You saw Michael Myers, but you do not see the killer in Black Christmas. Plus the killer is insane, especially when he rants. His rants make no sense, making his intentions unknown. He just kills, not for revenge like most horror films. But he just kills. I don't know about you, but that is what makes this film even scarier, aside from the spooky musical score.
They say that Jamie Lee Curtis is the "scream queen." Well whoever thinks that obviously has not heard Olivia Hussey's lungs in action. That woman can SCREAM.
It's best if you watch this film alone in a quiet house at night during the Christmas season. I did that the second time I watched it. I tell you the truth, I had a hard time walking downstairs to go to the bathroom I was so scared. And no horror film has ever done that to me since the first time I saw Scream about three years ago.
Some may argue that the characters in the film are not very developed, but that does not matter because most of them die anyway. One of the few characters that stood out in this film was Barb (Margot Kidder). She is a drunk, trash-talking sorority girl who manages offend just about everybody. The woman who played the sorority house mother, Mrs. Mac (Marion Waldman), also stood out as a trash-talking, drunken woman. Olivia Hussey's character is a bit snobbish, like any sorority girl, but not to her other sisters. Keir Dullea's character is high-strung and unpredictable, which adds to the film mysterious style. But as for the rest, there really was no room for them to grow. Besides, like I just stated, most of them get killed off anyway.
The end really surprised me. I mean, really. No questions asked. It even shocked me, but I'm going to spoil it for anyone. But if you loved John Carpenter's Halloween, you'll love this film even more. I guarantee it.