FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Dec 15, 2006

Blecch ChristmASS

It's time to talk about the elephant in the room, folks. I'm talking, of course, about the trailer for the upcoming remake of Black Christmas.

Despite the fact that it's a remake of one of my favorite slasher flicks, I was willing to give it a chance. I do loves me some horror movies. After viewing the trailer, however, I think the only reason I'd go see it, the only reason it's piqued my interest whatsoever, is the fact that...wait. I can't think of anything, really, to et me in the theatre except that it's a horror movie! The trailer makes it look like any plain ol' mindless cut-em-up you've seen a hundred times before. Shmeh. And girl, don't even get me started on the "drunk" sorority sister! A pale, pale follow up to Margot Kidder's turn in the original.

There's a review of the flick up at indie London already, and it's rated an abysmal 1 out of 5. This quote, to me, is the most telling:
None of the sullen characters warrant any sympathy and merely exist to titillate or get slayed, while the killer himself is over-burdened by a cumbersome back story.
Ah, the cumbersome back story idea. See, the biggest thing the original flick has going for it is the fact that we know nothing about the killer in the attic. Who is he? Why is he killing these girls? We never find out, and it's supremely creepy and haunting. Sure, you can maybe piece together a little something from the content of the obscene phone calls, but it's all speculation. The randomness makes it scary- that's the essence of the movie. Learning that the killer is an escaped lunatic who killed his girlfriend 18 years ago or whatever does not add anything- a huge backstory only serves to demystify and the entire affair.

For the love of Charles Nelson Reilly, how many fucking times do I have to say it? In horror, most of all, less is more. Have we learned nothing to the havoc wrought on perfectly fine killers when weighed done by a huge "history"? Have we not seen Jeepers Creepers or the Halloween sequels? Come on.

But anyway. Ubercritic Kim Morgan has a super-duper piece about the whole Black Christmas thang over at her super-duper site, Sunset Gun. Go read her thoughts (which contain at least 87% less swearing than mine do) and the skinny on the whole how dare society debut a horror film on Christmas Day?! debacle. Yes, the religious groups are upset, just as they were way back when Silent Night, Deadly Night was released. My favorite "angry letter" from that period came from the furious pen of one Mickey Rooney, wherein he opined
I'm all for the First Amendment but...the scum who made that movie should be run out of town!
Of course, as far as I'm concerned, the fact that the movie is opening on Christmas is the biggest reason why I might get to a theatre to check it out. What is there to do on Christmas after, say, 2pm anyway? Once the gifts have been given, one can eat only so much Jubilee Roll before one desires a horror movie. It's natural.


Clay McClane said...

I'll tell you why I'll be there, why I'm actually starting to give this movie the benefit of the doubt:

First, as you pointed out, horror movie on Christmas Day!

Second, Glen Morgan directed it. I recently saw "Final Destination 3" (he co-wrote and produced it) and I gotta say I liked it a lot. To the point that I watched it twice in a row. Easily the best of the series. Which seems like real overkill to say about a series that no one has ever seemed all that excited about. But it's got a great cast, it moves quick and it's got a great great deep dark sense of humor. If that's being brought to the "Black Christmas" party, then bring it.

Third, Mary Elizabeth Winstead. I'm only a man.

Fourth, I want to see if anything will top the phone company scene in the original. That, for my money, was pure genius. I can't think of a way to take that any higher.

Fifth, I'm the biggest sucker in the world for horror. Biggest. None bigger.

Anonymous said...

We're seeing it on Christmas Day, of course. So my son and I will be with you in spirit as we suffer the torments (or delights)of the damned.

I have heard unpleasant scuttlebutt about the picture, though. Evidently this is yet another Weinstein hatchet job, scenes edited and reshot...stuff put put in the trailer that supposedly isn't even in the movie.

But I like Glen Morgan and James Wong, so my hopes remain expectant of a fun time. We shall see.

Trav said...

I was ready to despise this remake.
Can't deny I am excited to see this remake though over ANY OTHER one over the last few years.
The whole backstory thing MUST DIE a quick death with remakes though!
EsPECIALLY with Black Christmas (don't give us explanations!)
Finally, Mickey Rooney's letter about Silent Night Deadly Night.
What's funny is that lil' ol' mofo didn't think the movie was too stinky to not take a paycheck for starring in Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker.

Anonymous said...

Hi Stacie

I stumbled across Final Girl this morning whilst looking for information on the 'MO's of fictional killers and have been reading through the archives since. Great stuff!

Anonymous said...

as a horror kid in the 80s who stood in attention whenever a horror teaser was on tv, i just know that if i was 13 & wouldn't of been aware of the original, i'd be like "oh awesome!" when i saw the trailer.
now that i'm mature (HA!) it offers nothing to be interested in. why is that guy crawling on the ceiling like samara from the ring?
remakes done in 2000-on, who needs them.

Stacie Ponder said...

Craig, I too really enjoy the Final Destination flicks, which is the big beacon of hope here. There's just so much going on in the trailer that I don't understand- the dude on the ceiling?!- that coupled with the "backstory" spell disaster in most cases. I guess we'll have to see.

And yeah, the phone company scene is magnificent. If it's not excised completely, it'll probably involve...oh, I don't know- text messaging or whatever it is the kids are into nowadays.

Bryan, Jubilee Roll is a delicious frozen ice cream treat that only comes out around the holidays. And I'll forgive your Martin Lawrence Affliction because my inordinate affection for Jumpin' Jack Flash leaves me no room to talk.

Chadwick, I hope "a fun time" isn't too much to ask of the movie. Because it could be REALLY fun.

Trav, sir, that's a great point. Ah, the beautiful beautiful sound of an actor contradicting and whoring himself for a buck!

Welcome, Vicky, And thanks for reading. I hope you stick around!