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Movie Review: Black Christmas

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011


Black Christmas


I first saw Black Christmas after hearing that it was the predecessor to the modern slasher film.  Having seen all ten Halloween films, twelve Friday the 13ths, and every spawn of A Nightmare on Elm Street, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this film. Thankfully this film doesn’t let you down. While many consider Halloween to be the best slasher, and often held to be the first ‘American Slasher’, I can honestly say without reserve that Black Christmas is the best slasher I have ever seen.   This hidden gem comes to us from our neighbors in the north, and was produced in 1974, just prior to the slasher craze here in the States. The film itself follows a group of women in a sorority as they get ready to leave for their Christmas break. The house has recently been plagued with a plethora of obscene anonymous phone calls which seem harmless… until one of their sisters goes missing.  What follows is one of the best paced horror films I have ever seen. Black Christmas is not only a thrilling film, thick with atmosphere, but a mystery. Unlike most slasher films this film does an amazing job developing its characters through subtle interactions, without any lewd stereotypes that are just waiting to be killed. Each character is explored rather equally, brushing the surface of their lives without delving so deeply in that it takes you out of the film. For those of you who are a bit squeamish, this is not a gory movie; it doesn’t rely on a lot of blood, or disturbing scenes and jump scares. Admittedly Black Christmas does fall victim to some of the common tropes most horror films poses, however it also breaks a lot of them, so you don’t get that déjà vu you feel with most films in the genre. I’d recommend this film to anybody who is interested in the Horror genre, and it is a great starter if you haven’t seen many horror films, but just want to see something scary.

-Andrew Goetschius

Persistent Link: http://voyager.uvm.edu/vwebv/holdingsInfo?bibId=2174074

Sunset Boulevard

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Sunset Boulevard

DVD 3688

Gloria Swanson

I watched Sunset Boulevard over a year ago. It’s still fresh in my mind as one of the best movies I’ve seen. There are a few scenes in particular I remember, the same few everyone knows: Gloria Swanson (as Norma Desmond) dramatically and deliriously descending the staircase, announcing she is ready for her close-up. Plus, I vividly recall William Holden floating face down in the pool, and the scenes shot on the lots at the Hollywood studios. But it’s really the atmosphere that sticks, the spooky, shadowed, faded Hollywood noir that director Billy Wilder and Co. present. The movie is a classic but it feels modern. In screenwriting class I remember wishing I could write a script as cleanly as Sunset Boulevard. I will never be able to, but at least I can watch this movie over and over and pretend I could. As Norma Desmond said, “No one ever leaves a star.” Sunset Boulevard will not be leaving my memory anytime soon. And if anyone can name Norma’s car in the movie (including the model) without looking it up, I will give him or her three dollars.

-Elias Baldwin

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