DECEMBER 23, 2007
You’re goddamn right the source was my own DVD collection! I like Black Xmas, goddammit, and I will defend it to the death! In fact, I even tried picking a fight at last week’s screening of the original by saying, loudly, “Morgan and Wong did it better!”. But no one bit (and for the record, I don’t really feel that way; Clark’s film is better, but Morgan’s is good too), probably because a lot of the haters are likely people who just hate the film without having bothered to watch it and thus don’t know who the filmmakers are.
I really don’t understand why this one gets so reviled. Most fans love the Final Destination films, and this film has a lot of the same elements (ridiculous death scenes with Rube Goldberg style setups, lots of gore, black humor, hot girls), albeit applied to a loose remake of a slasher movie. Bob Clark even gave it his blessing, and he was always a guy who spoke his mind, not a paycheck grabber like Carpenter, which leads me to believe he truly did approve of what they were doing. So what’s the problem, exactly?
Is it a great film? No, not at all. They set up the 2nd killer to be some sort of surprise, but two girls die before the killer escapes. Also, there seems to be two of each girl: 2 bitches, 2 final girls, 2 dumb girls... as hot as they all are, they definitely could have combined a couple of them. And no, it’s not particularly scary (though there are some decent jumps and set-pieces). But really, that’s about it. Otherwise, it’s the exact type of modern slasher I would expect from Morgan and Wong, remake or not.
And as it only retains the basic plot and setting from the original, it can’t really be accused of bastardizing it in the same way the Psycho or Halloween remakes did. Say what you want about the film, but you can’t accuse them of copying the original scene for scene. Like Dawn 04, no characters were retained, no specific set-pieces (all of the murders are different, though the first girl to get killed again ends up in the attic by the window) were copied, the killer has a motive this time, and, unsurprisingly, there is ZERO social commentary (i.e. no abortion talk). Like I said the other day, from a thematic and sensibility standpoint, it’s more of a remake of Silent Night Deadly Night than Black Christmas.
Plus, they do a great job of making the girls even in terms of survival probability. The Final Girl is a bit easy to pick, but the others are equal game, since they are given equal screen-time and also are about the same in terms of how famous they are in real life.
The DVD has some of the usual extras, though I am bummed about the lack of a commentary. It’s also unrated, but I can’t tell what’s different from the theatrical, though I think Michelle Trachtenberg (I’m glad she’s finally old enough that ogling her is OK) has a slightly different death, but that’s about it. I should note that the scenes in the trailer that are missing from the film were in fact only shot for the trailer, without Morgan’s knowledge. However, they do break the norm with a piece about, well, Morgan’s hatred of the film. While technically a making-of piece, he spends most of the time he’s on camera explaining why he hates these types of movies. He also points out that when he makes a movie that he likes (Willard), it bombs, so he has to cater to the audience just to get the opportunity to make something he DOES care about in the future. So there ya go, even the director hates the movie. I truly am the only one in its corner.
What say you?