- Black Christmas (2006 film)
Official 2006 theatrical poster
Directed by Glen Morgan Produced by James Wong
Written by Glen Morgan Starring Katie Cassidy
Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Music by Shirley Walker Cinematography Robert Mclachlan Editing by Chris Willingham Studio 2929 Productions Distributed by Dimension Films
Release date(s) December 15, 2006 Running time 84 minutes Country Canada
Budget $9 million Box office $21,510,851
Black Christmas (abbreviated as Black X-Mas) is 2006 American Slasher film and a remake of the 1974 horror slasher film of the same name. It was written and directed by Glen Morgan and stars Katie Cassidy, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Lacey Chabert,Crystal Lowe ,Michelle Trachtenberg , Oliver Hudson, Kristen Cloke, and Andrea Martin. The score was the last to be composed and conducted by Shirley Walker, who died a month before the film's release.
In December 2006, upon anticipation of its premiere, the film garnered some criticism from religious groups due to its graphic content in a holiday setting, as well as the distributor's decision to release the film on Christmas Day in the United States. The film opened in the United Kingdom on December 15, 2006, and, despite backlash from some religious organizations, opened in US theaters on Christmas Day 2006.
Billy Edward Lenz (Robert Mann), a boy born with a rare medical condition that makes his skin yellow, is constantly abused and hated by Mrs. Lenz (Karin Konoval). Setting her eyes on another man, she kills her husband, and buries his body in the underground crawlspace under the house. When Billy is seen witnessing this, she locks him in the attic. When Mrs. Lenz tries to conceive a new baby with her new man, she realises he is impotent, and goes up to the attic and rapes Billy. Soon, Agnes (Dean Friss) is born, who is loved by her new family. On a Christmas Eve, Billy snaps, escaping, disfiguring Agnes, and gruesomely kills his mother and her new husband. He then proceeds to make cookies out of his mother's flesh. He is caught, and is sent to a mental asylum. On Christmas Eve 2006, Billy escapes from his cell after killing the security guard, butchers a man in a Santa Claus costume, and disguises himself in the costume to escape.
At a sorority house, Delta Alpha Kappa, Claire Crosby (Leela Savasta) and Megan Helms (Jessica Harmon), two sorority girls, are brutally killed, unnoticed by the other girls. In the living room, the girls receive a call from a rambling man. During the call, Lauren Hannon (Crystal Lowe) taunts the caller, and he threatens to kill them. Meanwhile, Claire's sister Leigh (Kristen Cloke) arrives searching for her. After the lights go out, Dana (Lacey Chabert) goes to check them under the house, and is killed. The girls go out to find her, only to discover her dead, and find Eve Agnew (Kathleen Kole) also killed.
Heather Lee-Fitzgerald (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Mrs. Mac (Andrea Martin) want to drive to the police, but are both killed when they step outside towards the car. Kelly and Leigh go check, where the killer strikes again, killing Melissa (in the United States version, she is killed by ice skates slitting the back of her head) (Michelle Trachtenberg) and Lauren who is stabbed in the neck only in the unrated version. Kelly and Leigh find Kyle, (Oliver Hudson) Kelly's ex. The three check the attic, where Kyle is killed.
The killer introduces herself as Agnes, and introduces all the murdered girls' dead bodies by a Christmas tree. Billy also makes his way into the attic and both killers close in on Kelly and Leigh, unintentionally starting a fire. Kelly and Leigh escape and leave Billy and Agnes to burn in the fire, and they are treated at the hospital. While Kelly goes for an x-ray, Agnes appears in the hospital unharmed and kills Leigh while Billy kills a hospital employee. When Kelly returns to her room, Agnes attacks her as well but Kelly uses the defibrillator and kills Agnes; however, Billy immediately enters through the ceiling and chases after Kelly, furious of Agnes' death. They end up in the stairway, where Kelly pushes Billy down the stairs where he is impaled on the tip of a Christmas tree, killing him. Kelly's parents then take her home. (See Alternate versions below.)
- Katie Cassidy as Kelly Presley
- Michelle Trachtenberg as Melissa Kitt
- Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Heather Lee-Fitzgerald
- Lacey Chabert as Dana Mathis
- Kristen Cloke as Leigh Colvin
- Andrea Martin as Barbara MacHenry
- Crystal Lowe as Lauren Hannon
- Oliver Hudson as Kyle Autry
- Karin Konoval as Mrs. Lenz
- Dean Friss as Agnes Lenz
- Robert Mann as Billy Lenz
- Jessica Harmon as Megan Helms
- Leela Savasta as Claire Crosby,
- Kathleen Kole as Eve Agnew
- Note: This film has marked the second time Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Cystal Lowe worked together; the first time they did was in Final Destination 3 of the Final Destination series of films. Another member of the cast, Kristen Cloke, was also in the Final Destination series.
The film was released on Monday, December 25 (Christmas Day), 2006 in the United States and grossed $3,723,364 on its opening weekend. The film went on to gross a total of $16,273,581 domestically and $21,510,851 worldwide.
The film has made more money from its DVD sales than it did at the box office with a total DVD gross of $28,963,754. If the DVD sales are added to the total box office gross then overall the movie has grossed a total of $50,474,605.
The film received generally negative reviews. Black Christmas earns a 15% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, labeled "rotten" based on 55 reviews. The critics agreed that it was "a gratuitous remake of the 1974 slasher, Black Christmas pumps out the gore and blood with zero creativity, humor, or visual flair". On Metacritic, the film was given an average rating of 22, based on 17 reviews.
"Like an ugly tie or a pair of slipper socks, Black Christmas is destined to be forgotten the instant it's unwrapped, gathering dust until the season rolls around again," says reviewer Sam Adams of the Los Angeles Times. Jim Ridley of The Village Voice inputs, "The product itself isn't so much afterthought as afterbirth -- a bloody mess to be dumped discreetly."  When compared to the original, Desson Thomson of the Washington Post calls it "a drab, unimaginative remake. [...] The remake neither pays perceptive tribute to the original nor updates it in anything but hackneyed form."  Joe Leydon of Variety goes on to say "[...] there can be no argument regarding the scant merits of its slapdash, soporifically routine remake, suitable only for the least discriminating of gore hounds."  "Lazy, perfunctory and free of tension, the new version will satisfy neither the admirers of the original nor anyone looking for a gory respite from seasonal good cheer," Jason Anderson of The Globe and Mail agrees.
Marc Savlov of The Austin Chronicle, however, says "This film is an evocative, effective entry into the holiday blood-spray subgenre in its own right. And if it doesn't make your skin crawl ... you probably ate too much Christmas dinner."  Reviewers also praised the acting of the sorority sisters, in particular Crystal Lowe, Michelle Trachtenberg, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. The flashback scene which showed Billy killing his mother also earned praises from critics. Horror review website Bloody Disgusting gave the film six out of ten and decried moviegoers and critics for comparing the original to the remake, saying "this reviewer doesn’t care if a remake isn’t as good as the original. The original is still there. It makes a lot more sense to judge a remake the same way the original was judged: ON ITS OWN MERITS. If the remake pales, fine. If it doesn’t, that’s fine too. A decent horror movie is a decent horror movie, remake or not" concluding that the film is "a pretty good modern slasher. There’s no self-referential humor, there’s no annoying pop stars playing sassy friends, and no obvious re-editing. Instead, there’s gore, a few decent creepy moments, and some well implemented dark humor, which is more than you can say for most slashers of the past decade". The Radio Times also gave the film a positive review, giving the film three stars out of five and calling the film a "cheeky but no less brutal remake."
The film drew backlash from Christian groups because of the studio's decision to release a bloody slasher film about Christmas on Christmas Day. Several groups, including Liberty Counsel and Operation "Just Say Merry Christmas", have called the film "offensive, ill-founded and insensitive". Additionally, L.A. Weekly columnist Nikki Finke also questioned the filmmakers' decision to release the film on Christmas. Dimension Films defended the timing, saying "There is a long tradition of releasing horror movies during the holiday season as counter-programing to the more regular yuletide fare." Dimension's own Scream, originally released on December 20, 1996, probably being the most successful example. Furthermore, genre critic Egregious Gurnow, of The Horror Review, countered Liberty Counsel's complaint on several counts, foremost of which is the critic's citation that the organization's views upon the feature, are naively idyllic and aesthetically limited, especially from a cultural perspective in that they forbid the notion that such atrocities as murder do not politely take a sabbatical during the holiday season.
Additional footage was shot solely for advertisement purposes, at the request of Dimension Films. Apparently, Morgan never knew about the shooting of this footage and was enraged when he watched the trailer and realized scenes were shot without his consent. This footage was only included in the theatrical trailer and television ads, and never was intended to be part of the film. This footage included some of the cast members (including Michelle Trachtenberg and Lacey Chabert), but also featured an unknown actress who was never part of the film's initial production.
In the US, two versions were released on home video - both R-Rated and Unrated. The DVD release of the film also features all of the alternate endings and deleted scenes from the film, but no trace of the advertisement footage was ever seen nor mentioned after the movie finished its theatrical run.
- ^ a b "Black Christmas (2006) (2006) - Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo. IMDB.com. http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=blackchristmas.htm. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
- ^ "MPAA Ratings Updates". Boxofficemojo.com. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/schedule/?view=mpaa&p=.htm. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
- ^ "Christian groups fume over Black Christmas.". Boston Herald. 19 December 2006. http://whedonesque.com/comments/12088. Retrieved 8 November 2009.
- ^ "Black Christmas - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/black_christmas/. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
- ^ "Black Christmas Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic.com. http://www.metacritic.com/movie/black-christmas. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
- ^ "Los Angeles Times Movie Review". http://www.calendarlive.com/printedition/calendar/cl-et-black26dec26,0,4707326.story. Retrieved 2000-07-11.
- ^ "New York Movies - 'Black Christmas'". http://www.villagevoice.com/2006-12-26/film/black-christmas/. Retrieved 2000-07-11.
- ^ a b Thomson, Desson (2006-12-26). "'Black Christmas' Butchers the Slasher Genre". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/25/AR2006122500699.html.
- ^ Leydon, Joe (2006-12-26). "Black Christmas Movie Review". Variety. http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117932362.html?categoryid=31&cs=1.
- ^ "This page is available to GlobePlus subscribers". Toronto: Theglobeandmail.com. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/subscribe.jsp?art=862616. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
- ^ "Austing Chronicle reviews". http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Calendar/Film?Film=oid%3A430304. Retrieved 2000-07-11.
- ^ "Bloody Disgusting Horror - "Black Christmas (remake)" Movie Info, Review, Headlines, Gallery". Bloody-disgusting.com. 2006-12-25. http://www.bloody-disgusting.com/film/730/review. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
- ^ "Black Christmas film review". Radio Times. http://www.radiotimes.com/servlet_film/com.icl.beeb.rtfilms.client.simpleSearchServlet?frn=46392&searchTypeSelect=5. Retrieved 2010-12-30. [dead link]
- ^ "Christian Groups Fume Over Christmas Horror Film". http://imdb.com/news/wenn/2006-12-18#celeb3. Retrieved 2006-12-18.
- ^ "Faith-Based Horror Film for Christmas?". http://imdb.com/news/sb/2006-12-11#film5. Retrieved 2006-12-18.
- ^ "Black Christmas not merry for religious groups". CBC News. 2006-12-15. http://www.cbc.ca/arts/story/2006/12/15/black-christmas-protest.html. Retrieved 2006-12-19.
- ^ "Horror Bob Presents: The Horror Review - Why I Can’t Discuss Glen Morgan’s New Film, [Censored] [Censored], Because Liberty Counsel Says It’s Rude: Race, Religious Tolerance, Ethics, and Aesthetics and the 21st Century Holiday Horror Film. By Egregious Gurnow (2006)". The Horror Review. 2006-12-15. http://www.horrorreview.com/essay/egblackchristmasessay2006.html. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
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