Thursday, February 16, 2017

In short: Black Christmas (2006)

Sometimes, it helps not being such a big fan of a film that’s being remade. Now, I like Bob Clarke’s original Black Christmas just fine, even though I think it is a bit blandly directed, a problem I have with all of Clark’s films. However it’s a movie whose supporters often tend to come over as rather overexcited about this particular proto slasher, probably because he was so unfairly overlooked for quite some time. Once the “It’s better than Halloween” card is played, though, and the Halloween in question isn’t the Rob Zombie abomination, I tend to back away very slowly and very carefully.

Anyway, given my position, I can enjoy Glen Morgan’s in name and very basic set-up only remake for what it is: someone’s platonic ideal of video nasty, my second-favourite Christmas slasher (number one is of course Christmas Evil/You Better Watch Out), and an all-around joyfully messed up bundle of horror as a fun ride. This being a Morgan joint (his long-time partner James Wong relegated to a producer credit in what is a sign of one of the saddest divorces I know), the film is packed to the gills with – often hilariously – macabre detail, a very bloody sense of whimsy, male characters that are either totally useless or the killer, a love of the grotesque and the all-around weird jumping – sometimes literally - from every corner, sardonic use of musical standards, and Kristen Cloke.

It’s not a terribly logical film - but then it really doesn’t attempt or pretend to be – instead it is a sometimes sleazy, always bloody series of fun set pieces, paced with panache, crisply photographed in often pleasantly popping colours. Add to that a very special cookie recipe, an absurd yet awesome killer backstory told in flashbacks, some interesting thoughts about the proper use of Christmas trees and their ideal ornamentation, and you’ve got yourself a Santa Clause sized bag of Christmas fun.

If I’m perfectly honest, I prefer this to the original Black Christmas by a country mile, but then, there’s not accounting for taste, particularly not mine.

No comments: