Quantcast Trilogy Pics - 3 Movies You Should Watch Tonight: DECEMBER 2004 - HORROR FOR THE HOLIDAYS



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December 2004 Trilogy Pics:
"He knows when you are sleeping. He knows when you're awake. He knows if you've been bad or good...so be good...for goodness sake."

Yea, Christmas can be damned creepy can't it -- so, why the hell haven't there been any decent horror movies set around the holiday? To be fair, one of this month's trilogy pics is an excellent horror movie, but one only gets by on controversy, and the other is just a screwed up kids movie. Come on, can't we do better than this? Doesn't a "Friday the 13th" ever fall in December? Jason Voorhees and skiing. Yowza!  Hey -- Michael Myers, you're getting a little predictable over here. Perhaps...I dunno...why not just take Haddonfield by surprise one year and make your annual visit on December 25 instead? And hey -- could you imagine what Argento, in his prime, could have done with twinkling Christmas lights, pure virgin white snow, some Italian hotties and a pick-ax? Or perhaps what kind of eye damage Fulci could have done with an aluminum Christmas tree? Zombies in a blizzard? Oh -- the wasted opportunities... Instead we've been treated to the cinematic equivalent of fruitcake with crap like "Christmas Evil", "Don't Open 'Til Christmas" and...err, "Rocky V".

Enough of the whining, right? Sure... before I start stapling antlers to my shih-tzu, here are December's Trilogy Pics. Happy Freakin' Holidays from Icons of Fright:

Black Christmas:
Ok, even a horror movie as good as this is enough to make my heart grow three sizes. "Black Christmas" is not only set around Christmas, a decent horror movie--but get this--shot in 1974--four years before "Halloween"-- it sets the formula for the entire slasher sub-genre as we know it. Forgotten for many, many years I remember this film having a resurgence in popularity around the time "Scream" came out because "Black Christmas" features unusual and chilling phone calls.

Set just before holiday break on a college campus, a sorority house begins to receive a series of rambling and sometimes threatening phone calls. Soon, to us viewers, it becomes apparent that someone has become dangerously unhinged and thirsty for blood. The film features some of the creepiest and most suspenseful scenes to ever make it into a slasher film--and it's stuff you've seen duplicated later in films from "Halloween" to the recent "Saw". It's hard to imagine how a movie so obviously influential could have stayed under the radar like "Black Christmas" managed to for so many years. It's not necessarily graphic, but even the most jaded horror fan will probably find something in "Black Christmas" to make their skin crawl, especially if you've never seen it before. Even more interesting--"Black Christmas" is directed by Bob Clark who would later go on to direct "A Christmas Story". Too bad the lovely Olivia Hussey, who stars here, didn't have an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!

(*editor's note - you can find 'Black Christmas' on www.dv-depot.com)

Here's what I love about "Gremlins". I'm six years old when this movie comes out and all the advertising makes it look like a fun-filled hour of cartoon violence featuring furry and slimy puppets. My mother took my 2 year old brother and myself to see this madcap new holiday comedy. So, what to my wondering eyes should appear? Oh... an elderly couple bulldozed in their own house, people running through the streets being clawed and mauled by monsters, a terrifying scene involving a Christmas tree, butcher knife and a microwave. Our parents were horrified at how violent it was (this is one of the movies that inspired the PG-13 rating), and kids across the country were left with nightmares for weeks. God bless Joe Dante and Steven Spielberg for this completely twisted kiddie horror/comedy.

If you don't know the plot by now: Furry, cute creatures, Mogawis, turn into violent lizard-like monsters when fed after midnight, reproduce when they get wet and have a difficult time with bright light (especially sunlight). Easy enough rules to follow -- but of course, there would be no movie if they weren't broken. I suppose Gremlins could have taken place at any time of the year, but it's really fun watching a bunch of two-foot monsters hiding out in Christmas trees, singing carols, and who could ever forget the story of why Phoebe Cate's hates Christmas?

Silent Night Deadly Night (parts 1 & 2):
If our parents were horrified in summer of '84 at how violent "Gremlins" was, they only needed to wait until Christmas for an extra special treat... that turns out isn't very special at all. Yes, it's true that parent groups picketed "Silent Night, Deadly Night" when it came out and the studio pulled the movie out of theaters because of the controversy. Well, none of those people probably saw the movie, because the only one's who should have been protesting was anyone who paid for a ticket. The protests were mostly spurred on by the ad campaign which featured someone in a Santa suit, holding an ax, descending down a chimney. Brilliant marketing to be sure--but it apparently left children around the country simply scarred and traumatized FOR LIFE!

If you wanted to really scar people, just make them watch the damn thing. A man in a Santa suit rapes and murders little Billy's mother and father in front of him, sending him to an orphanage run by a sadistic nun. Every year around Christmas, Billy starts to unhinge a little, so naturally the nun forces him to sit on Santa's lap. Later when he turns 18 they get him a job at a toy store where he is forced to, you guessed it, play Santa. Billy snaps. People die. Violence, it's got that: the murder-rape of Billy's family in the beginning is disturbing. Exploitive? You betcha: Billy is always abused and punished by the nuns at his orphanage, and later to show how much he's learned to appreciate women he shoves Linnea Quigleys ta-tas through some deer antlers. But it's not scary, and other than the gimmick of Billy wearing a Santa suit it never really takes full advantage of the Christmas setting. "Black Christmas", for example, manages to do something with the mood and atmosphere of the season, "Silent Night, Deadly Night" just gives us some cheap thrills. Really cheap thrills. Like $1.97 thrills. If you want a really good killer Santa, you'd be better off tracking down the 1972 version of "Tales From the Crypt", or even HBO's remake, for the short "All Through The House".
The DVD comes with the sequel on the other side. It was never really intended to be a sequel -- the producers hired an editor to trim down "Silent Night" for countries where it had been banned, but when they came up with only half the movie they decided to insert some new scenes in it and call it a sequel. So, yes, a good 60% of "Silent Night, Deadly Night, part II" consists of flashback footage of the first film. Funny thing is, edited down the way they are, it makes the scenes from the first film flow a lot better. The real fun starts in the new footage where Billy's brother Ricky takes over. It's a cheeseball laugh riot from start to finish. Just wait for the scene where he walks down a street shooting his neighbors and you'll never quite hear the phrase "Garbage day!" the same way again. I actually would recommend "Silent Night, Deadly Night part II", because when it comes to campy crap cinema, this is one of the best. - mikec.

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