Black Christmas (2006 film)

Black Christmas (or Black X-Mas) is a 2006 remake of the 1974 film of the same name. It is directed by Glen Morgan. The movie is rated R in the US, 18A in Canada and 15 in the UK for strong horror violence and gore, sexuality, nudity and language. The film score was the last to be composed and conducted by Shirley Walker, who died a month before the film's release.


The movie tells the story of Billy Lenz, a young boy who was abused by his mother as a child. His mother killed his father one Christmas with a claw hammer right before Billy's eyes and kept Billy in the attic, while she started a "new" family with her lover. One night, Billy was raped by his mother, and she became pregnant with a daughter by him. After 15 years, Billy escaped the attic and murdered his mother and nearly kills his sister/daughter.

Cut to present day, a group of eight sorority sisters - Kelli (Katie Cassidy), Melissa (Michelle Trachtenberg), Lauren (Crystal Lowe), Heather (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Dana (Lacey Chabert), Megan (Jessica Harmon), Clair (Leela Savasta), Eve (Kathleen Kole) and their house mother, Ms. Mac (Andrea Martin), who now live in Billy's childhood home, find themselves being harassed by threatening mystery phone calls during Christmas break.

The plot follows the slasher genre, as each character is brutally murdered and has a bag put over their head by the unseen killer, until just Kelli and Leigh (Clair's sister) remain. When they think they have escaped, Kelli finds the killer, revealed to be Billy's sister Agnes, making a Christmas tree out of Kelli's friend's eyes. Meanwhile, Billy returns and in the ensuing fight, Billy and Agnes are apparently killed while Kelli is rushed to the hospital with Leigh who suffered minor injuries.

The movie has several variant endings.

In the US version, in the hospital, Billy and Agnes are revealed to be alive, kill the morgue attendant and escape. Agnes kills Leigh by snapping her neck, but when Agnes attacks Kelli, Kelli kills her by electrocuting her and she pushes Billy over a balcony and impales him on a Christmas tree.

In the UK ending only Agnes attacks Leigh and Kelli in hospital, Billy having died earlier from burns. Beau Musika's character was going to appear in the ending but didn't because of private reasons. His character was going to be gutted by Billy just after he killed Leigh.

The DVD release contains three alternate endings. The first shows Leigh visiting Kelli in the hospital and the two discuss family. Then, Kelli's phone rings and as she goes to answer, it reads "Kyle Audry's Cell." The camera zooms out of the window, and fades out on the hospital... leading the audience to believe that Billy and Agnes are still alive. The second shows Leigh getting called out of the hospital room with Kelli, to the coroner's office to identify the body as Agnes seeing as how they were the only two to have seen her. However, when the body bag is opened, Clair's body is inside. Leigh has a bit of a meltdown and runs back to Kelli's room where the movie proceeds as the original theatrical cut until Kelli's parents pick her up after she zaps Agnes with the EMP. The third and final alternate ending is an extension to the second. It shows Kelli being brought into the room where the doctors tried to save Billy's charred body. Kelli witnesses his dead body and is escorted out by her parents, but when it cuts back to Billy's hospital room where the worker from the morgue comes to take the body, he is told the morgue already took the body. The two men run out of the room in newly acquired realization and the camera scans to the smoke detector where you see Billy's eye staring through the slits.


Box Office/Reception

The film was released on December 25th, 2006 and grossed $3,723,364 on its opening weekend and went on the gross $16,273,581 domestic and another $4,526,417 foreign, making a total Worldwide Gross of $20,799,998.

The film drew backlash from Christian groups because of the studio's decision to release a bloody slasher film about Christmas on Christmas Day. Several groups, including Liberty Counsel and Operation Just Say Merry Christmas, have called the film offensive, ill-founded and insensitive. Additionally, L.A. Weekly columnist Nikki Finke also questioned the filmmakers' decision to release the film on Christmas. Dimension Films defended the timing, saying "There is a long tradition of releasing horror movies during the holiday season as counter-programing to the more regular yuletide fare. Dimension's own Scream, originally released on December 20, probably being the most successful example. Furthermore, genre critic Egregious Gurnow, of The Horror Review, countered Liberty Counsel's complaint on several counts, foremost of which is the critic's citation that the organization's views upon the feature, are naively idyllic and aesthetically limited, especially from a cultural perspective in that they forbid the notion that such atrocities as murder don't politely take a sabbatical during the holiday season.


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