In a sane world, we’d have gotten word of the first official pre-release tracking for Blumhouse’s The Hunt. That politically topical riff on “The Most Dangerous Game” was (temporarily, I would hope) pulled from its planned September 27 theatrical release in August following two high-profile mass shootings and following its entry into the current madhouse that is modern political theater via implicit condemnation (sight unseen, obviously) via Twitter from President Donald Trump. Anyway, Blumhouse had one more big 2019 release, and this morning we got the first teaser for Black Christmas.
Bob Clark’s 1974 slasher, about sorority sisters getting picked off during the holiday season, is considered essentially the first modern “dead teenager” slasher flick, opening four years before John Carpenter and Debra Hill’s Halloween. That Michael Myers flick launched entire genre of young/hot/horny teens and college kids getting murdered in grotesque ways in a scenario tied to either a grim secret from the past or a holiday. So, since Blumhouse successfully revitalized the Halloween franchise last year with David Gordon-Green and Danny McBride’s Halloween, I guess Black Christmas made sense too.
The film was remade by Glen Morgan in 2006, a perfectly okay remake that stands by the original as its own thing. This second remake comes courtesy of co-writers Sophia Takal (Always Shine) and April Wolfe (Widower) with director Sophia Takal. Jason Blum had taken some heat during the Halloween press tour for not diversifying, in terms of gender, the folks who directed his horror flicks. That, including some of those monthly “straight-to-Hulu” horror movies, seems to be (slowly) changing. And the whole “this time, the girls fight back” pitch is going to be a big part of the marketing campaign.
That’s arguably been part of the slasher movie marketing handbook since, at least, Halloween H20 in 1998. Heck, it was the implicit text in Kathryn Bigelow’s Blue Steel back in 1988, which cast Jamie Lee Curtis as a cop hunted by an unhinged/entitled dude (Ron Silver) on a power trip. I guess if you can convince the media that Jamie Lee Curtis fighting back against Michael Myers in Halloween (2018) is totally different than Jamie Lee Curtis fighting back against Michael Myers in Halloween H20, then you might as well exploit our goldfish memories.
Quote the official spiel, “Whoever the killer is, he’s about to discover that this generation’s young women aren’t about to be anybody’s victims.” Once again, if it’s more than just the “final girl” signing a new power ballad about being dis-empowered (or, uh, “Speechless”) while the men do all the heroics, that should be fine. And, yeah, it matters that this tale of young women fighting back against the men of the world who wish to do their harm comes from female writers and a female director.
This new version stars Imogen Poots (Green Room, The Art of Defense), Aleyse Shannon (Charmed), Brittany O’Grady (Star), Lily Donoghue (The Goldbergs, Jane the Virgin) and Caleb Eberhardt (Broadway’s Choir Boy). It’ll open on December 13, which is a nice “have your cake” (Friday the 13th) and “eat it too” (it’s just before Christmas break) scenario. Heck, between Paul Feig’s Last Christmas on November 8 and Sophia Takal’s Black Christmas on December 13, it looks like Universal has the holiday pinned down. And between Black Christmas and Cats, they’ve got a year-end monopoly on horror.
For the record, the new trailer looks quite good. That said, I wonder if a certain reveal about a certain character actor is a big spoiler or merely either a red herring or merely a confirmation of a reveal that everyone and their sister would otherwise predict. No matter, folks don’t show up for a movie like Black Christmas because they don’t know how it’s going to go down. Universal scored with Christmas horror in 2015 with Krampus ($62 million global on a $15 million budget), but everyone reading this really needs to check out Anna and the Apocalypse.