A Norman Bates Family Christmas

A Norman Bates Family Christmas?

Making my holiday cookie deliveries around Lost Highway I ran into The Doktor, and we got to talking about our favorite holiday movies. Naturally, Black Christmas was at the top of both our lists, but there was a problem. He thinks the 2006 remake is the better film, while I stand steadfastly by the 1974 original. We decided to go head-to-head and run it by you fine folks. You decide which is better, judging by our 3-B breakdown and critique of each film.

Black Christmas (1974) opens at a sorority house all decked out for the holidays. There is a creepy POV of someone climbing into the attic. Downstairs, the girls are in the Christmas spirit, except Barb (Margot Kidder) whose mother decides to run off with some man rather than see her daughter on Christmas. She returns to the party, and the phone rings again. Apparently, the house has been plagued by an obscene caller, and boy is he a doozy. The call is frightening. I’m serious; if I got a phone call like these gals got, I would not only change my phone number, but I would smash the phone the call came through on into tiny pieces, then pour gasoline over the tiny pieces and set them on fire.

Anyway; after the first call, Claire goes upstairs to finish packing, but doesn’t quite make it, because some psycho wraps a dry cleaning bag around her head. Next thing we see of her, she’s dead in the attic in a rocking chair. The house mother Mrs. Mac comes home, and the girls give her an ugly housedress as a gift. They all scatter to the four winds while Mrs. Mac finds one of the eight thousand bottles of whiskey she has hidden around the house and starts a-guzzlin’. Claire’s dad shows up looking for her; Jess reveals she’s in a family way and wants an abortion and her boyfriend, Peter, doesn’t like that idea; the psycho goes to town. Phone calls, killing Mrs. Mac with a hook and pulley, stabbing Margot Kidder with a crystal unicorn, cop killing, implied murder of a little girl, killing Phyllis offscreen, rampaging through the house and scaring Jess half to death; making her so crazy she thinks it’s Peter and she beats him to death with a fireplace poker.

Why do I think it’s better than the remake? Simple-there is no reason for this dude to be torturing and killing these girls. NONE. We don’t know who he is, aside from thinking his name might be Billy (He screams this name repeatedly during the phone calls), and we don’t know what he wants or what set him off, or why he chose them and not the house down the street. We’re just as much in the dark as poor Jess is at the end, running around and trying to defend herself.

But, let’s get down to brass tacks:

Blood: I’d say about 2 quarts blood. There’s not a whole lot of onscreen violence, and we only see the aftermath of a couple of the killings.

Breasts: No breasts, which is surprising given when this movie was made. The girls are wholesome, aside from Jess, whom we know has been making the sign of the epileptic wombat with Peter, which has resulted in her being knocked up.

Beasts: 3 beasts: Margot Kidder- A drunken wreck until her untimely demise. Not pretty, and a sign of things to come. Mrs. Mac- This woman is so ugly, when she was born, the doctor slapped her momma. Last, but not least, Billy- Psycho extrodinare.

Roadside Attractions:
Dry-cleaner bag-fu, hook and pulley-fu, fireplace poker-fu, crystal unicorn-fu, obscene phone call-fu

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