All day Christmas day the Canadian Sundance Channel had on a marathon of Keir’s film BLACK CHRISTMAS. For a full twenty four hours it played non-stop. So for the entire day—except when I was cooking, cleaning up, opening presents and spending the day with my elderly mother and partner and Himilayan Persian kitty—I sat watching Keir in all his glory as the hapless misogynistic jerk Peter Smythe. I thought it was fitting considering the holiday spirit we were all in. Nothing like a couple of murders and a deranged obscene phone caller to further the Christmas spirit. Well that and a good bottle of Bolla Valpolicella. So why am I posting this? I went to the IMDB page for the original film and found a post that really ticked me off. There is a poster who posted this:
I actually liked the remake A LOT better.
image for user honeymoonavenue
» Fri Dec 12 2014 14:30:25 Flag ▼ | Reply |
IMDb member since January 2012
I respect everyone’s opinions, because opinions are the way we feel about something and we can’t help how we feel. I feel like the 2006 remake of “Black Christmas” was much better than the ’70s film. While the original was enjoyable for its nostalgic tone and retro atmosphere, to me, it wasn’t impactful to the least bit, and the majority of the film was quite forgettable. It was extremely slow and it felt like it was never going to get intriguing. I’m not saying that I’m an ADD movie-goer who only wants to see action (in fact, I hate most car chase and explosion scenes in movies)–I can handle a slow build-up if the premise or execution is enjoyable (and of course the pay-off has to be satisfying). The point of movies are to entertain, and this film only did that to small extent.
However, the remake was fast-paced, intriguing, creepy, fun, and the atmosphere was pure perfection. The film felt very Christmassy, but at the same time, there was a dark tone that blended beauty with sinister elements. The visuals were just absolutely stunning, there were somewhat powerful overlooked themes of family, cool death scenes, and some excellent performances from most of the cast. I absolutely loved the direction and execution, and am extremely sad to see people who hate this film so aggressively, calling it “one of the worst films ever” when honestly, I think it is one of the best horror movies in the past decade. There were some minor flaws, but those flaws didn’t define the movie as a whole.
I can understand if fans of the original were upset about some things, but I see the film as an undeniable improvement over the original. Do people just bash it because its a remake, because it seems that people judge something automatically without an open mind. The point of a remake is to expose an entirely new audience to an amazing story that they may not have heard of, and present it to them with all of the modern advances in technology and storytelling. It’s kind of like passing a classic story down from generation to generation–there may be some major changes or improvements to the story, but the overall idea stays intact to entertain individuals who aren’t familiar with it
Well, ya know I just had to reply to that one where I post at IMDB as prometheus1816. So here is my answer and where the title of this post comes into clarity:
Re: I actually liked the remake A LOT better.
image for user prometheus1816
» just now
IMDb member since July 2001
All of your drivel is moot because the original and best had Keir “Effing” Dullea in it. Not to forget Olivia Hussey, John Saxon, Margot Kidder, Andrea Martin and Art Hindle. I bash the remake because it did nothing to the genre except add another onto the heap of cheap slasher films with a forgettable villain. Like the poster below said, the girls were a host of pretty forgettable faces. The typical homogenization of the genre as it is now. The original formed the genre. It created the genre. It stands alone as the grandfather of all the slasher films today with one notable exception, it didn’t rely on the gore the remake did.
The remake could have done something original with its plot. It could have had Andrea Martin reprise her role as Phyl as the new house mother and brought in elements of the original without spoiling who Billy was. That’s what made it a bad film. As the song says, “You don’t step on Superman’s cape. You don’t spit into the wind. You don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger, and you don’t mess around with Jim.” Moral of the story: Keep things as mysterious as you can. Don’t give everything away unless you’re a good storyteller. Clearly the remake couldn’t accomplish anything but giving us nothing but a generic slasher film without any originality. The original gave us everything including an original villain, many slights-of-hand including the misdirection of Peter being the possible madman, and a genuine scary feeling with its cinematography, moody lighting, and a cast that didn’t look like it came right out of a botox fair.
I subscribe to the John Campea school of remakes. The remake has to add something to the collective. It has to offer something original on its own without relying on the original. It has to stand on its own without gimmicks. It has to have characters that are memorable and make you want to root for them. In the original I even rooted for Peter Smythe even though he was a misogynistic jerk but I cared for him when he was killed in the end, the very same I felt for Margot Kidder’s character. I don’t care for any of the characters in the remake because of the aforementioned homogenous look. And Katie Cassidy is no actress. Olivia Hussey is. Plain and simple. And because of Keir “Effing” Dullea.
See, there is this thing as respecting the source material and I feel this honeymoonavenue didn’t appreciate the original for its originality and its place in the pantheon of film classics. There was a uniqueness to the original that made it good in spite of the lesser production values, though not bad by 1974 standards. Horror author Clive Barker has said of his brainchild Pinhead, that he was tired of the spate of horror icons of the Friday The 13th, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street kind like Jason Voorhees, Freddy Kruger and Michael Myers that they were beings of “dumb things” and that he finds intelligence scary. While Billy the unseen horror of the piece is largely a dumb thing, the crafting of his presence in moving around that house and the truly disturbing nature of the calls he makes to Jess (Olivia Hussey). We don’t get to find out much about Billy. I feel that makes him unique in the way that he’s an unknown quantity. We know what made Jason, Freddy and Michael what they were, but we knew nothing of what made Billy what he was. There was a genius in having Peter as the red herring. However, all that is torn apart by the 2006 remake that leaves nothing to the imagination. And like I said in my rebuttal, there is nothing unique about a bunch of botox babes with more silicone than the makeup used for Keir in both 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and 2010: ODYSSEY TWO. In the original we had a heroine we liked. Olivia Hussey had a beautiful nature in how she was able to keep composed and calm despite all the disturbing calls from Billy and in the end, the confrontation with Billy up until the untimely death of our own Peter Smythe. We liked her.
It’s so easy to like the remake with its slick production values and pristine cut, however, there is something to be said about the grainy nature of the original. It holds up quite well even amongst the likes of the Saw franchise, Paranormal Experience, Final Destination and others of that nature. There is the error in thinking that new is best. Sometimes it’s not, and the startling differences between both these films is evident. While the remake wishes to be placed amongst the others I mentioned, the original is a classic. It’s memorable. It has its own charm that although made way back in 1974, it remains a cult favourite. And it has Keir “Effing” Dullea in it!