Saturday, December 15, 2012

12 Days of Weirdness: Day 2

Black Christmas (aka Black Xmas)
Glen Morgan

1974: Billy (Robert Mann) is born with a liver disease that leaves him with yellow skin. His insane mother abuses him, kills his father,  locks him in the attic, and even forces herself on him. The resulting child is treated like a precious treasure, which finally drives Billy to escape, maim, and kill his family. He’s discovered by the cops and locked away.

2006: Billy’s house is now the Delta Alpha Kappa Sorority house, Heather (Michelle Trachtenberg), Melissa ( Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Katie (Kelli Presley) among the sorority girls and Andrea Martin as Barbara, the house mother. It’s Christmas Eve and as the sorority prepares to have a party, miles away Billy extracts himself from the hospital with the help of a sharpened candy cane and a Santa suit. He’s coming home for Christmas…

Remaking an influential and very well regarded movie is always a dicey proposition. I think ‘Black Christmas’ (2006) does it the right way by taking elements of the previous film but attempting to create something new from them. It never generates the ambiguity or dread of the original but then again that’s never its aim. This film is much more devoted to a manic glee of dispatching people with objects and things related to the season, but at the same time it never comes across as jokey or camp. It’s paced excellently, as the rising tension gives way to all out mayhem in the third act. Divest yourself of the fact it’s a remake and you have a great holiday slasher.

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