Sunday, December 26, 2010

Last second holiday treat: Black Christmas (2006)

                A gaggle of… ahem… cookie-cutter (sorry for the pun) sorority girls meet up with a holiday-hatin, lemonade –skinned psycho who comes complete with a backstory so depraved and unnecessary that it would make Rob Zombie green… or in this case yellow… with envy.
               The 1974 film that… ummm… inspired? No, that’s not the right word. The 1974 film that was urinated on by this remake is a corner stone of the slasher genre. It paved the way for the Michaels, Freddys and the Jasons of the world. Sadly, it never got the mainstream attention or affection that it deserved. It certainly didn’t deserve to be treated like this: its good name dragged through the mud by an insanely gory and utterly twisted remake.
                This first thing that jumps out at you is that the killer Billy is yellow. I don’t mean that in the old timey, “he’s a coward sense,” but rather in the literal “his skin looks like a banana peel" sense. In any case, the movie immediately becomes hard to take seriously. And then he kills someone with a candy cane. And from that point on the movie becomes impossible to take seriously.
Except that it really, REALLY wants you to. It tries very hard to put heavy themes like incest and rape in the same movie where a guy gets impaled on a Christmas tree. It’s almost like the studio put two screenwriters in two different rooms, gave them a title and then smushed the results together into one ugly mess of a movie.       
                And it is ugly. Fans of unrelenting gore might get more out of this than most, but I suspect that even they will have trouble getting past its gapping deficiencies. Every couple of minutes you can count on someone’s eye getting popped out and eaten or Christmas cookies being made out of something other than dough. Now, I’m not one of these people who think that gore has no place in movies and that all horror should be an exercise in Hitchcockian suspense, but come on! A person can only be expected to endure so much! I’m not sure how many ripped out eyeballs is too many for one movie, but I think “Black Christmas” met its quota before the end of the first act.
                Now for some Quick Notes. The time listed marks when the incident occurs in the movie. I stopped tracking seconds once I got to the hour mark. I apologize for any confusion.
  • 5 minutes, 29 seconds in-- “I’m your family now!” I’m not sure if that’s smooth or creepy Ugly Jake Gyllenhaal
  • 7:25-- At least if the movie stinks, I can entertain myself by playing “Now where do I know her from?”
  • 7:26-- “Harriet the Spy”
  • 7:48—“Live Free or Die Hard”
  • 8:02—“Mean Girls”
  • 9:22—Why is the guard using a flashlight? The mental institution didn’t think to install actual lights in the cells? That seems like poor planning...
  • 14:58—No lights in the cells AND guards who don’t notice a VERY distinct looking mass-murderer/ cannibal walking out the front door? Is this place even still operational or did the government shut it down without telling anyone?
  • 23:36—Caller Id, *69… technology has ruined prank phone calls
  • 28:46—Andrea Martin, original “Black Christmas”… wait what?! The scandal!
  • 30:24—Oh good Ugly Jake Gyllenhaal is back…
  • 38:01—“Did they ever find out from him why he killed his family?” You’re serious? The incest, murder, wrongful imprisonment and assorted other forms of mental and physical abuse weren’t reason enough? Get with the program Harriet the Spy.
  • 50:35—I mean, I guess you can try the house phone, but usually they stop working when the power goes out. Maybe you should check the TV next. Just in case.
  • 57:20—Really? Those two are actually leaving? Isn’t the captain, or in this case the den mother, supposed to go down with the ship not bolt at the first sign of trouble?
  • 59—Somehow “death by icicle” is the most believable thing that has happened in this movie so far
  • 1 hour 6 minutes—Lady, how much more proof do you need before you get the hint that your sister is dead? Does she need to start haunting your apartment or something?
  • 1:07—Well that flashlight worked splendidly. If the goal was to provide no noticeable light whatsoever! Whose idea was it to put Ugly Jake Gyllenhaal in charge?
  • 1:16—They could have been there for month or years, but probably less. You know since they both only escaped a couple of days ago, but its ok you were close.
  • 1: something—What is it, the coroner’s first day? Who keeps pronouncing all these very much alive people dead?
  • 1:23—The scariest part of this movie is that Bob Clark, the director of the original film, served as an executive producer on this desecration.
  • Chemistry? You mean like that class I almost failed in high school? (3)
  • Under Acting? (1)
  •  -Occasional plot hole(s) (1)(3)
  •   Someone actually thought this was a good idea? (2)
  • I have no clue what I just watched (3)
  • Remake, Sequel or “Reimagining” (1)
  • Accidentally REALLY offensive (3)
  • -Other (1,2,3 points depending on severity of the offense(s))
    • Idiotic decisions to remain in house, despite overwhelming evidence of danger (3)        
    • Confusing gore for storyline/ narrative (3)
    • Splitting up when it makes total sense to stay together (3)
                There it is. A respectable 25 points total out of a potential 60. Honestly I’m not sure how possible it is that we ever get a 60. That might be more theoretical than anything else. Maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part. Either way, as we work further into this thing we’ll get a better gauge on just how bad “Black Christmas (2006)” and its 25 really are. And we can always adjust the scale if necessary.
                Bumblebee tuna.

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