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January 16 2006

Michelle Trachtenberg to star in remake of "Black Christmas". Production will begin later this month in Vancouver.

Two reactions. First, good for Michelle. I can't wait to see what she does with the material.

Second, HOW CAN ANYONE REMAKE THIS MOVIE?! It was pretty damn near perfect the first time around. Although most people surely haven't seen it, it was probably the first real slasher movie ever made, and still one of the best three. (Nightmare on Elm Street comes close, and only Halloween surpasses it.) I mean, remaking this would be like remaking Psycho!

Oh, wait.
BAFfler I agree that Black Christmas is terrific and don't see how they'll come close. That said, I'll see it because Michelle is in it. Another early (or proto-) slasher film is Twitch of the Death Nerve by Mario Bava.

[ edited by Yefa on 2006-01-16 19:56 ]

[ edited by Yefa on 2006-01-16 23:24 ]
I've never heard of the original version. And I thought I knew my slasher movies *is ashamed*.
Yefa, I'd be careful about classifying any of Bava's work in the slasher genre. Generally speaking, people prefer to place gialli in their own separate category apart from slashers, which I feel is justified. Your average giallo tends to be more about setting a particular mood the upping a body count, whereas your average slasher sacrifices both mood and story in favor of a T&A show with gore. (See the Friday the 13th series for the best example of this phenomenon.)

Having said that, there's no doubt that Bava's work influenced the best of the slashers, in particular Black Christmas, Halloween, and the Nightmare on Elm Street series (especially parts 1 and 3). In fact, I would go so far as to say that Halloween and Halloween: H20, the only films in the series worth rewatching, could be classified more as gialli than slashers. But think about it this way...even though there's no way this remake will hold up to bthe original, at least it won't be anything as awful as Cutting Class. With the source material they have, plus Michelle, it has to be average at the worst.
Simon, it's okay...we forgive you. You're not as insane as I am. But if you like slashers at all, do make sure to look up the original version. You'll be pleasantly surprised...not only is it better structured than most of its kind, it's got actors who went on to become reasonably well-known stars (in particular Olivia Hussey, Margot Kidder, and longtime slasher player John Saxon--there's that Nightmare connection again).

(EDIT: Holy crap, Hussey was ALREADY a name star when she did this movie! Zeffereli's Romeo and Juliet had come out six years prior. This is the only case I know of, pre-1990's, where an actor who'd already had an acclaimed role played a part in a slasher film. While it happened with some frequency in the last decade, including SMG in IKWYDLS, it never happened back then.)

[ edited by BAFfler on 2006-01-16 20:23 ]
BAFfler, Olivia Hussey celebrated her 15th birthday while filming Romeo and Juliet. You might consider Black Christmas her first adult film.

[ edited by Lioness on 2006-01-16 20:29 ]
I've never heard of the original version. And I thought I knew my slasher movies *is ashamed*.

Maybe you know it under the American titles of "Silent Night, Evil Night" or "Strangers in the House"?
I've never seen it under any title other than "Black Christmas." Damn brilliant film. I screened a horror marathon with a group of friends last Halloween (A Nightmare On Elm Street, The Exorcist, High Tension, Halloween, and Black Christmas being the titles), and Black Christmas got the best reaction of the bunch.
Maybe you know it under the American titles of "Silent Night, Evil Night" or "Strangers in the House"?


No. *gets more ashamed*. I need to rent this film.
Lioness, I had forgotten how young Hussey was. So Black Christmas really is one of her first "young adult" features. But I don't know...I think Romeo and Juliet deals with some pretty adult themes. Yet we teach it in high school. Say, now, there's a thought -- we could start a crusade! More popular entertainment in high school and college! I want to sign up for "Young Feminist Icons" (because of course there will be Buffy) and "Modern Science Fiction" (Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, DS9). But if I do, where will I find time to squeeze in "The Rise and Fall of the Modern Slasher?"

Seriously, who would want to take courses like that? Show of hands?

The Dark Shape...you have EXCELLENT taste. I can think of a couple films I might have added, specifically April Fool's Day, Frailty, and The Omen (and maybe Deliverance, dependng on the people involved), and you need a Hitchcock film in there somewhere too, but I'd be hard-pressed to replace any of the films on that list. Oh, damn, and I forgot about the zombie films...anything by Romero, and Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later.

EDIT: But if you really want a horrifying film for your next festival, look up a Mae West bomb called Sextette. If you can find anyplace dumb enough to sell or rent it, that is. I'm dead serious...screen that film once, and tell me it's not the scariest thing you've ever seen.

[ edited by BAFfler on 2006-01-16 22:17 ]
BAFfler Generally you're right about the differences between gialli and slashers. Twitch of the Death Nerve, however, is widely acknowledged as a major influence on the slasher sub-genre (so much so that it was ripped off by the Friday the 13th series). Bava is one of my favorite directors. I'm really looking forward to the Tim Lucas book that should be out this year.
Yefa...five stars for the Death Nerve-Friday connection, which for some reason I had forgotten about. Also, they're doing a book on Bava? Definitely a must-add to my library.
Oh man, Black Christmas is one of my favorite horror films of all time. I used to make a ritual out of watching it on Christmas day (yes I know that I am sick.)

I am glad to see it getting some recognition, but I know the remake won't hold a candle to the original.
Even if the remake is terrible, I hope it'll spur people on to finding the original.

I can think of a couple films I might have added, specifically April Fool's Day, Frailty, and The Omen (and maybe Deliverance, dependng on the people involved), and you need a Hitchcock film in there somewhere too, but I'd be hard-pressed to replace any of the films on that list. Oh, damn, and I forgot about the zombie films...anything by Romero, and Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later.


Next year, my friend, next year. I'm trying to shape my friends' tastes in horror -- they of the variety that at one time thought I Know What You Did Last Summer and Urban Legend were the epitome of scares. I'm working them up to Hitchcock, though you're right: Fraily is definitely on the list next October.

I have no idea how they'll react to Deliverance. Could be interesting... (and of course, Romero will show himself in the future!)
Black Christmas was directed by the same Bob Clark who gave us A Christmas Story. Must be his favorite holiday.
I'd love to see a version of A Christmas Story with Billy in it.
I'm trying to shape my friends' tastes in horror -- they of the variety that at one time thought I Know What You Did Last Summer and Urban Legend were the epitome of scares.


Well, you know, I think there's a place in anybody's library for a movie like Urban Legend, or better yet, Final Destination. Just as long as one also stocks up on the more excellent vintages, like Candyman--another one they need to watch, especially if you like Tony Todd--one can indulge oneself in a cheap but tasty wine every so often. There's even a place for the delightfully trashy (I own a low-budget film called Sleepover Nightmare, where the box-art itself is an exercise in cliches)...just as long as you don't forget to go back to the good stuff.

Also, if they really want to be scared, try showing them I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, where the title doesn't even make sense, and then tell them it was actually a medium-budget Hollywood release. That much money in exchange for that little quality always scares the crap out of me. I mean, Sleepover Nightmare is bad enough...but if I try to imagine how much worse it could have been with a big budget and a name cast...

Well, some thoughts fuel nightmares.
Yeah I've never heard of the origional either... I think I can pull my standard trump card and say it's because I wasn't alive when it was made though. Plus I've only recently become a fan of horror movies via the "zombie" genre, and I really have to be in the right frame of mind to sit down and watch a scary movie.

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