It is getting to the point where people are getting tired of remakes but are there some that surpass the original?
Last year I had tried to watch both the original and the remake of Black Christmas but really didn’t have the chance until a couple of nights ago, so let’s see how both compare.
Four years before the original Halloween (1978) a low budget horror film came out which was the original Black Christmas. It basically was a flop but over the years gained cult status thanks a new concept in television known as cable which would start showing movies twenty four hours a day in the early 1980s. I’m pretty sure I may have caught it at some point, but who can remember those by gone days?
Plus you have to think that the concept for the movie was horror and no one would make a horror movie about Christmas. It wasn’t heard of.
In the original, released on Dec. 20, 1974, the movie was about a group of sorority sisters first terrorized by strange phone calls before the killings began (which in itself is confusing). If you want to know about the calls it’s best to watch the special features since they talk about “Billy and Agnes.” However, there were a couple of other storylines to the movie as well. One was that of a young missing girl named Janice who disappeared on her way home from a friend’s house (which also became a plot point with missing sorority sister Clare- Lynne Griffin).
Clare was to meet her father (James Edmond) but never shows. He pretty much hangs around town all day waiting while on the other end, the unseen Janice’s mother, Martha Gibson is out in force with the police looking for the missing kid. This part of the movie does well when it comes to showing the reactions of both parents (and genders) on how they’re both handling each daughter’s disappearance.
We already know Clare’s fate but there’s the mystery in the disappearance of Janice which sets this apart from the current version.
Another storyline is the fact that Jess (Olivia Hussey) finds out she’s pregnant and wants an abortion, much to the dismay of her boyfriend, Keir Dullea. He feels that he can give up his ambitions of being a concert pianist in order to marry Jess and raise a family. She wants to live and by that without baggage.
The original takes us out of the house and builds a story, whereas the 2006 version keeps everyone indoors (except for the ending).
A snowstorm is keeping most of the girls from going home this holiday season and those that remain are getting annoyed at the phone calls they’ve been receiving on the house phone. But remember this is now an age where everyone has cell phones and caller I.D.
It’s also been a tradition at the sorority house for someone to draw “Billy’s” name during the secret Santa gift exchange but this year there’s no gift for him. See, Billy grew up in the house which is now a part of sorority row and has been in a mental asylum for years. He slips the guard a note and says he’ll be home for Christmas.
We get the story about Billy and his sister Agnes from townie hunk, Kyle (Oliver Hudson) who’s dated a few of the girls on campus and posts his victories online which doesn’t settle well with his current girlfriend.
Back for a second time is Andrea Martin, who played Phyl in the original and this time returns as the house mother.
For a remake the premise is the same and there seems to be more bloodshed in this version than in the original. There’s the unicorn killing which was used in both movies and with the remake the house is decorated much more festive than in the original. For two movies about sorority sisters you’d think they’d be doing a lot more decorating in the original.
If you’re interested in watching both, I’d suggest the latter first then watch the original since you’d appreciate the original a little better along with a better understanding of the movie.