Black Christmas (1974) (Collector’s Edition) [Blu-Ray]
Director: Bob Clark
Cast: Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder
Release Date: December 13, 2016
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
The college town of Bedford is receiving an unwelcome guest this Christmas. As the residents of sorority house Pi Kappa Sig prepare for the festive season, a stranger begins to stalk the house.
A series of obscene phone calls start to plague the residents of the sorority and it becomes clear that a psychopath is homing in on the sisters with dubious intentions. And though the police try to trace the calls, they discover that nothing is as it seems during this Black Christmas.
Initially unleashed upon unsuspecting audiences in 1974, the cult classic ‘Black Christmas’ introduced fans to a creepy, vulgar and surprisingly brave holiday slasher largely unlike anything else that moviegoers had experienced prior. The film tells the story of a group of college women living together in a sorority house who become the victims of a twisted and mentally deranged murderer on Christmas who continually taunts them with odd and obscene phone calls, while quietly picking them off one by one throughout the course of the holiday night. Produced and directed by Bob Clark from a screenplay written by Roy Moore and starring Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, John Saxon, Andrea Martin, Doug McGrath, Art Hindle, Lynne Griffin, Albert J. Dunk, and more. The original ‘Black Christmas’ is an entertaining and unsettling holiday horror classic that still manages to deliver the creepy goods even so many decades later.
Fans of this memorable holiday horror film will definitely want to consider picking up a copy of Scream Factory’s fantastic new ‘Black Christmas’ 2-disc Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release. The brand new Collector’s Edition Blu-ray features a brand new high definition video presentation of the film taken from a 2K Scan of the negative, along with a number of lossless audio options. It also features the inclusion of the previous HD master of the film from the 2006 Critical Mass release, in addition to a number of noteworthy extras including some brand new goodies and featuring 3 Audio Commentary tracks accompanying the film, plus an entire bonus disc dedicated solely to even more solid supplemental material (more detailed information regarding the bonus content can be found in the special features section of the technical specification coverage below). Altogether it should easily make this impressive new Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release from Scream Factory a definite must own for many of the cult classic’s diehard fans.
Overall, hardcore fans of the 1974 holiday horror classic ‘Black Christmas’ will probably want to make a point of purchasing a copy of this fairly impressive new 2-disc Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release of the film from Scream Factory. While there are some mild and unavoidable issues present as a result of a worn and mildly problematic source, this new BD release of the timeless Christmas slasher is as good as it’s bound to get and should therefore still easily serve as the best possible release of the film currently available and one that most of the film’s fans probably won’t dare to miss out on; I definitely recommend it.
The Scream Factory Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release of ‘Black Christmas’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation from a new 2K Scan of the negative and utilizing the film’s original 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio. This new high definition presentation looks pretty impressive when taking into account the problematic and aged film source. When selecting to play the film, the feature begins with a notice informing viewers of the few source issues that were unable to be rectified (particularly a couple bars of color distortion on the right side of the screen noticeable in a number of scenes), but the end result still looks pretty great as a whole, providing a color accurate, detailed and for the most part fairly clean video presentation that still retains plenty of grain and other elements representative of its film source and initial theatrical exhibition. Overall, while understandably not perfect, this new high definition video presentation still looks pretty great, is complemented by a more than sufficient bitrate and surely the best we are bound to be treated to for the film; it should easily thrill many of its fans.
It should be noted that the second disc (or the bonus features disc) also includes the High Definition transfer released in 2006 by Critical Mass which is itself presented in a 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio. The Critical Mass high definition presentation looks pretty decent as well, but after skipping around and comparing some sequences with the new transfer from Scream Factory, it’s quite easy to see that the new 2K transfer included on the Feature disc is definitely the superior presentation, yet the inclusion of this extra version is certainly a wonderful bonus.
The Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release features the option of a lossless 5.1 and 2.0 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack, in addition to the original Mono Soundtrack. Unfortunately there were some issues present on the mono soundtrack featured on initial pressings of the disc (fans overly concerned by this fact can rest assured that Scream Factory has indeed announced a replacement disc program to correct the issue, although we weren’t provided a replacement disc for review of the release) therefore I opted for watching with the 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack sounds pretty decent, especially for what it is. It delivers a relatively sharp and clean presentation from start to finish, although the channels occasionally adapt to other activity where they shouldn’t, such as dialogue occupying all five channels as opposed to simply the center or another specified speaker. Even if not absolutely perfect, it still delivers a competent, enjoyable and fully audible presentation that should more than do the trick. Overall, this is a pretty decent 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that while not perfect, still delivers a capable and pretty solid audio presentation in most aspects, especially when taking into account the source.
Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release of ‘Black Christmas’ features an impressive collection of bonus content, with a second disc dedicated to the extras alone. There are a few extras present on the first disc (primarily a number of Audio Commentary tracks) therefore I’ll break down the extras by disc immediately below for the sake of simplicity.
Disc One (aka the Feature Film disc) includes ‘3 Audio Commentary’ tracks accompanying the film, and an ‘Audio Interview’. The first track is an ‘Audio Commentary with Director Bob Clark’, the second is an ‘Audio Commentary with Actors John Saxon and Keir Dullea’, and the third is an ‘Audio Commentary with Billy’. A fourth bonus audio track is also included which features an ‘Audio Interview with Director Bob Clark’.
Disc Two (aka the Special Features disc) includes a number of noteworthy extras that are sure to thrill the fans. Included on the disc is the ‘2006 Critical Mass’ version of the feature film, in addition to numerous Interviews and behind the scenes Featurettes both new and old that explore and look back at the memorable film and its impact, plus more; they include: ‘Film and Furs: Remembering Black Christmas with Art Hindle’ (running approximately 26 minutes in length), ‘Victims and Virgins: Remembering Black Christmas with Lynne Griffin’ (running approximately 27 minutes), ‘Black Christmas Legacy’ (approximately 40 minutes), ‘40th Anniversary Panel at FanExpo 2014’ (18 minutes), ‘On Screen! Black Christmas’ (49 minutes), ’12 Days of Black Christmas’ (20 minutes), ‘Black Christmas Revisited’ (36 minutes), and tons of ‘Archival Interviews’ with the cast and crew (approximately 1 hour, 41 minutes altogether). We are also treated to a ‘Midnight Screening Q&A with John Saxon, Bob Clark and Carl Zittrer’ (approximately 20 minutes), ‘Two Scenes from Black Christmas with a New Soundtrack’ (3 minutes combined), the English and French ‘Theatrical Trailers’ (8 minutes total) and a collection of ‘Original TV and Radio Spots’ (3 minutes altogether) for the film, plus an ‘Alternative Title Sequence’ (3 minutes), and a ‘Photo Gallery’.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They additionally will suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
The Original Cult Classic ‘Black Christmas’ is Now Available to Own on 2-Disc Collector’s Edition Blu-ray from Scream Factory!
Purchase your copy today by clicking on the Amazon cart Icon immediately below!