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  • Writer's pictureMartyn Wakefield


Dir. Glen Morgan

Reviewer. Dan Cook

Bob Clark’s terrifying and highly influential 1974 proto-slasher classic BLACK CHRISTMAS is one of my all time favourite movies so the idea of watching any kind of remake was a pretty undesirable one. However, while it in no way compares to its far superior predecessor, Glen Morgan’s 2006 BLACK X-MAS turns out to be a very entertaining and enjoyably gruesome slice of festive exploitation that may be as subtle as an icicle to the centre of the forehead but nonetheless delivers the gory goods with eye-popping relish.

Starring Katie Cassidy, Michelle Trachtenberg, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Oliver Hudson and returning cast member Andrea Martin, the plot of BLACK X-MAS is pretty much the same as that of the 1974 movie, with a group of sorority girls being stalked and murdered by an insane killer over the festive period. But while Clark’s film was a spine-chilling exercise in nerve-shredding tension, disquieting atmosphere and relatively bloodless restraint, Morgan’s is the complete opposite, purposefully ditching the slow burning dread of the original and upping the violence and gore to outrageously graphic levels.

Literally everything in BLACK X-MAS is over-the-top, from the ridiculously bloody deaths which become so extreme that they become darkly humorous to the the crazed psycho himself who was merely an anonymous killer in the original but here is given a name, a severe case of jaundice, a taste for human flesh and a twisted backstory that makes Norman Bates’ upbringing seem comparatively normal.

Fans of the 1974 film may argue that these added elements detract from the suspense and mystery that made that picture such an indelibly creepy watch and yes, while it is bloody, it isn’t scary or remotely unnerving in the least. But that wasn’t the purpose of this BLACK X-MAS which was instead designed to be a short, sharp rollercoaster of a ride and in my opinion, it succeeds really rather well.

By no means is this film high art and based on the continuing negative reception it receives from audiences and critics each year, it will never be considered one of the essential December horror watches alongside SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT, KRAMPUS, GREMLINS or Clark’s still unparalleled original. But what it is is a slick, well directed, very well shot and consistently brutal bloodstained candy cane of a guilty pleasure that looks positively masterful when compared to the glut of late ‘00 horror remakes or Sophia Takal’s abysmal 2019 BLACK CHRISTMAS, which shamefully has nothing in common with either the 1974 or 2006 movies bar the name.

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