24 Hours of ‘Black Christmas’: Scream Factory TV Offers a Holiday Marathon of Director Bob Clark’s OTHER Christmas Story
Roughly a decade before he directed A Christmas Story, Bob Clark helmed another terrific Yuletide-set film of a drastically different nature: the influential 1974 proto-slasher horror movie Black Christmas.
The Canadian production was successful in its home country following its release there in October 1974; it was not as well received at the box office when it came to America just a few days before Christmas that year, distributed by Warner Bros. under the title Silent Night, Evil Night (as you can see in the U.S. poster below, which also features the movie’s terrifically creepy tagline).
But the film has grown in cult status and appreciation by horror fans over the decades that followed. That is not only because of Clark’s direction, but also the film’s great cast. Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, Andrea Martin and good old cult movie staple John Saxon lead the terrifying and suspenseful thriller about sorority sisters who receive threatening phone calls in their house from, and are eventually stalked and murdered by, deranged killer “Billy” during Christmas break. (Billy is never fully seen, but is given a deeply unnerving voice by actor Nick Mancuso; Clark himself also did some of Billy’s phone voices, and provided the killer’s shadowy figure that is seen on occasion.)
Expertly playing off the old urban legend about “the babysitter and the man upstairs” (and that story’s payoff of “The calls are coming from inside the house!”), Black Christmas helped inspire the style, and even the frequent holiday setting, of the slasher films that would start to crowd movie houses later in the ’70s and into the early ’80s, notably John Carpenter’s Halloween, as well as numerous lesser efforts.
Certainly, the film is not for everyone’s taste and probably is not on the list for many people when it comes to annual holiday viewing.
But if you are a horror fan and have never seen Black Christmas, or would like to see it again (and again), Scream Factory TV, part of the Shout! TV family that is dedicated to scary programming, is offering a Christmas Eve marathon of the film: Black Christmas will play a total of 12 times on Sunday, Dec. 24, 2023, from 12am-11:59pm Pacific Time on Scream Factory TV.
Bob Clark’s other holiday classic, A Christmas Story, has been getting the Christmas Eve/Christmas Day marathon treatment for over 25 years now (TBS and TNT are again showing 24 Hours of A Christmas Story this year), so why not Black Christmas? Here, though, the biggest threat for the movie’s characters goes far beyond potentially “shooting their eye out.”
Of course, one of the most memorable scenes from Black Christmas actually involves the killer’s eye (NOTE: the video below contains spoilers and some disturbing images):
Scream Factory TV’s 24 Hours of Black Christmas Airs on Christmas Eve, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2023, from 12am-11:59pm Pacific Time
John Carpenter's classic 1978 thriller premiered on NBC's 'Friday Night at the Movies' on Oct. 30, 1981, and featured added scenes that Carpenter filmed to help fill out the movie's two-hour television slot.