Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Black Christmas (1974) / Silent Night, Bloody Night (1974) screening recap - with special guests like Bob Clark and John Saxon

So last night was the big night, December's Grindhouse Film Festival at the New Beverly Cinema. I'll try not to make this recap too long as I want you guys to actually read it.

Bob Clark takes Black Christmas very seriously, as he should. It is an extremely well crafted film, not just technically (the use sound and camera movements are some of the best I've seen), but the plot is also very tight. When audience members asked storyline questions that other directors would shrug off, Bob Clark answered them seriously. He does have indeed have a backstory about the killer in his head (the movie reveals nothing), but he says he will never tell anyone about it. It is very important to him that elements of the movie be left up to the viewers interpretations. The remainder of this paragraph contains spoilers: Clark went to great lengths to include details on screen that prove that Peter is not the killer including having a different colored eye peek through the crack in the door, brown rather than blue. Jessica is not dead while the credits role and the phone rings, what happens next is up to interpretation. The Moaner's voices are done by three people, Clark included, but at no point do they overlap. It is intended that it is one person, the killer, speaking in all those tones. Clark did not tell us whether it is really the cat moaning in some scenes, or the killer imitating the cat. He did say that the killer does not kill the cat. I'll put this in this paragraph because it too includes spoilers - Black Christmas was most directly ripped off by When a Stranger Calls (1979) which really bases it's central premise around part of the Black Christmas climax. Clark is flattered by the all the imitations of his movie which is considered by many to be the first slasher movie.

On hand also were stars John Saxon and the female lead Olivia Hussey, both who like the film and enjoyed working on it. Stars from Clark's A Christmas Story were there as well. Zack Ward who played the villain and a person I believe is named Scott Schwartz who played the kid who got his tongue stuck to the flagpole. About Black Christmas, it was mentioned by Hussey that Steve Martin told her on the set of Roxanne that he had seen the movie 23 times and also she said that this was Elvis' favorite Christmas movie.

The Black Christmas remake will give more background information about the killer, as the studio demanded it. Clark has not seen it yet and will see it when it comes out on Christmas Day. He has faith in the new director.

Silent Night, Bloody Night. Pretty different then I remembered it, and I only saw it two years ago. No mention of it taking place in Arlington. Where did I get that idea? I also could swear there was a scene where the mute John Carradine reveals that he can talk, but no, must have been my imagination. Writer/Producer Jeffrey Konvitz, on hand, wrote The Sentinel in the attic at the house during the making of this movie. I should have brought my Sentinel novel for him to sign, my Sentinel tape, and my Sentinel poster, but I never prepare for these kind of things.

Grindhouse was beyond sold-out last night, the largest turn out ever, with people standing in the aisles. Free Black Dragons Bela Lugosi posters were given out. Next month is Switchblade Sisters and The Swinging Cheerleaders with special guest Jack Hill. Tuesday, January 23rd.


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