Was it called Channel 100?
I had been living far away from my ancestral three-bedroom ranch for several years but flew home to bathe in the sunshine and marvel at my Father’s new 21 inch color television console. But the real magic was a small set-top box that offered access to a select few near-first-run movies. Soon I was staying up late relaxing in Dad’s Barcalounger watching R-rated movies they just didn’t show on broadcast TV in New Jersey.
One I remember was a frightening flick with a Zackerle style crypt keeper and a spinning metal ball flying around with its fangs akimbo. It was satisfactory gore but when I rewatched the movie years later, it was just silly. I probably watched at least six movies, but the one I remember best was a little horror-fest called Black Christmas.
Little did I suspect the esteem this movie would receive through the years, yet it was revealed to me when the Criterion channel re-focused my recollection and my understanding. I possibly was more intrigued by the cast of Black Christmas more than by my memory of Channel 100. Who could resist a film starring Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, an ingenue Andrea Martin, and John Saxon. Think about it: Romeo & Juliet, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Superman, SCTV, and various episodes of Fantasy Island.
Made on the cheap in Toronto, Black Christmas is considered an early instance of what came to be called a slasher film. For it’s time it was a shocker but other than waiting for Margo Kidder to provide the police with the telephone number of the sorority house (it was a new exchange), forty-five plus years and too many episodes of Beavis & Butthead have dulled the excitement of merely contemplating telephone humor, let alone oral sex.
Yes, this film, like so many others, has suffered the ignominy of being remade. Remember the 2019 film? Neither do I. However, there is a film series that celebrates Black Christmas and the “sequels.” Here’s what Wikipedia says:
Black Christmas is a Canadian-American horror film series that comprises three standalone slasher films, as well as a novelization. The original film has gained a large cult following and is credited as being one of the first slasher films, inspiring many others, including the critically acclaimed hit Halloween (1978). The series centers around a serial killer that stalks and murders a group of sorority sisters. The 1974 film follows the character of Jess Bradford as she and her sorority sisters begin receiving threatening phone calls from an unknown stalker. The 2006 film explores the background and motivation for the killer and his family. The 2019 film completely abandons the first two films’ killer storyline, instead focusing on a new set of characters and killers.
The original movie was still fun despite having inexplicably failed to include Eugene Levy in the excellent cast.