Black Christmas (1974)

Margot Kidder in one of the original anti-Christmas movies, Black Christmas

Black Christmas is widely recognized as the granddaddy of slasher movies, a sub genre that would become wildly popular four years later with the release of John Carpenter’s iconic Halloween. Many of the stylistic touches utilized by Carpenter originated here, such as long tracking shots from the killer’s point of view. The movie revolves around a sorority house that starts receiving disturbing phone calls from a deranged killer during Christmas break. By the time the girls realize the calls are coming from inside the house, the body count has already started to rise.

The eclectic cast includes Olivia Hussey, Margot Kidder, Keir Dullea and John Saxon. With its eerie renditions of perennial Christmas songs like “Silent Night,” its solemn winter atmosphere and chilling, ambiguous ending, Black Christmas is perfect to watch on a cold, quiet December night. (Ironically, Clark would return to the holiday nearly 10 years later to direct the universally loved classic A Christmas Story.)

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