Plot: What’s it about?
The holiday season should be filled with cheer and good will, but for one sorority house, the holiday spirit will be crushed underfoot. The beautiful woman inside the house don’t want to drink eggnog or sing carols, they’re too upset over problems in their lives to celebrate. But if they knew what lurked in the darkness, the women would indeed celebrate, as there is an evil presence that stalks outside the house. A twisted soul named Billy used to be a resident of the same house, a tortured and abused man who has pushed to the limits of human endurance. His sick past with his mother has turned him into a madman, a madman who hates Christmas even more than the women in the sorority house. As the women try to endure a dull evening free from holiday cheer, Billy closes in and plots his return to his former home. As Billy makes his way toward the house, will any of the women inside survive his blood soaked rampage?
The original Black Christmas is a landmark of horror cinema, the movie that opened the floodgates for slasher films and paved the way for the modern horror formula. So of course, someone in Hollywood decided it need to be remade and as such, we have this new “vision” of Black Christmas. The basic premise here is the same as before, but the filmmakers do make a lot of changes, the most obvious of which is the focus on the killer. While the point of view shots were what drove the killer in the original, here we have a total background and even a name, so the mystery of the original killer is gone here. I was pleased to see a good amount of gore on display, with this extended unrated version adding even more of the red stuff. The story is passable and most of the performances are not memorable, but horror fans are sure to love the blood, as it flows pretty freely. While the performances don’t impress, at least the cast has a nice selection of young hotties, so the eye candy is plentiful. In the end, Black Christmas isn’t a good movie, but the filmmakers knew they could cover up the flaws with liberal doses of gore. So don’t rent this to be scared, rent Black Christmas to watch some cool kill scenes and some choice hotties. This HD-DVD version offers the same unrated cut and supplements, but the video and audio are much improved, so this is the ideal release to latch onto.
Video: How does it look?
Black Christmas is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The standard release looked great, but this HD-DVD edition is even more impressive. The film is very dark, but detail remains high throughout and thanks to flawless contrast, nothing important is ever obscured. The colors are accurate also, from the green on the Christmas tree to of course, the red in the blood and yes, there is a lot of that on showcase. As I said before, detail is excellent and the closeups yield some impressive subtle touches, but this isn’t quite on the level with the elite HD transfers out there. Even so, the movie looks terrific and I think fans will be more than satisfied, so kudos to Genius Productions on this one.
Audio: How does it sound?
The soundtrack of choice here is a TrueHD 5.1 option and while the track doesn’t blow down the doors, the movie has all of its needs taken care of here. The killer on the hunt factor allows some moments of subtle atmospheric touches, which are well implemented, but this is mostly a basic, unremarkable soundtrack. A few scenes spark up the speakers, with some decent eerie atmosphere, though not enough to warrant any special mentions. The track is solid and covers all the bases, it simply doesn’t move much beyond the expected basics. I found dialogue to be well handled also, as vocals are clear and never muffled in the least. This new HD soundtrack offers a minor upgrade, but don’t expect miracles. This disc also includes a Dolby Digital Plus soundtrack, as well as subtitles in English and Spanish.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Same goodies as before, so fans can breathe a sigh of relief. A pair of featurettes starts us off, one that has interviews with diehard fans of the original and its creator Bob Clark, while the other is a look inside the production of the remake. I enjoyed the look at the original and its fanbase, but the behind the scenes was kind of sad to watch. The remake’s director seemed to feel sorry for himself and spent a lot of time complaining about his past failures, not what I think fans want to see. This disc also has a selection of deleted scenes and to round out the extras, a trio of alternate end sequences, which were fun to watch.