12 Dec 2016

SLASHER FILM RULES - Black Christmas (1974)

Every genre has cliches, but how well does a Christmas horror follow the Slasher film follow the Slasher film rules?

Black Christmas (1974) in a Christmas Horror film and early slasher film.

The following analysis may contain spoilers for


Rule #1

A Warning Will Come From...

"I'm going to kill you." ~ Billy.
"Well, super-tongue strikes again." ~ Barb.

  • The obscene phone calls.
  • It's possible Billy escalated from rape to murder.

Rule #2

There Will Be T&A

"Did you know...  It's very little known fact, but... did you know that there is a certain species of turtle... that-- There is a certain species of turtle... that can screw for three days without stopping.  You don't believe me, do you?" ~ Barb.

  • Nudity - A poster with a bare butt on it.
  • Sex - No one had sex during the film, but Barb talked about it a lot and Jess was pregnant.

Rule #3

Death Will Be A Punishment For...

"Agnes, it's me, Billy!  Agnes, please don't tell what we did, Agnes!" ~ Billy.

The killer is killing woman seemingly because he thinks that they are his sister, or to stop people discovering him.

  • 3a.  Sex - Clare, the first victim had a boyfriend and was accused of being a "professional virgin" (only pretends to be an innocent) by Barb.  Janice, the second victim was a high school girl (so presumably a virgin).  
  • 3b.  Nudity - No nudity.
  • 3c.  Drinking - Mrs McHenry.  Clare drank at the party but the other girls didn't consider her a drinker.
  • 3d.  Drugs - No one took drugs.
  • 3e.  Hitchhiking - No one hitchhiked.
  • 3f.  Other criminal behaviour - None.
  • 3g.  Being annoying/being cowardly/being a sleazy guy - Probably Peter who is killed and Chris who survives.
  • 3h.  Being a bystander - Officer Jennings.

Rule #4

Never Go...

"Claude?  Claude?  Claude?  Where are you?  How did you get up on the attic, Claude?" ~ Mrs McHenry.

  • 4a.  Basements - Jess is forced down into the basement and kills Peter.
  • 4b.  Upstairs - Billy hides in the attic (and kills Mrs McHenry when she comes looking).  Most of the victims are killed on the second floor.
  • 4c.  Showers - No one showers.
  • 4d.  Into old sheds or outbuildings - Doesn't happen.
  • 4e.  Running off to the “safety” of the forest - Doesn't happen.
  • 4f.  Anywhere alone - Everyone goes everywhere alone.
  • 4g.  Anywhere Remote, Isolated or Confined - Doesn't happen.

Rule #5

Order of Death...

"Oh Miss Bradford, this is Sargeant Nash.  Are you the only one in the house?" ~ Sgt Nash.
"No, Phyl and Barb are upstairs asleep." ~ Jess.

  • 5a:  First person to appear on screen -  Jess arriving at the party, she survives.
  • 5b:  Black guy dies first - No minorities.
  • 5c.  The Stoner - None, but Mrs McHenry and Barbara appear to be alcohollics.
  • 5d:  The Bimbo - Barbara, then again, from what we see she's all talk.
  • 5e:  Nerdy/Funny Guy - Patrick.  Possibly Chris.
  • 5f:  The Macho-Jerk - Peter.  Possibly sensitive, but neurotic and angry that Jess wants an abortion.  Chris (survives).
  • 5g.  The Strong Female Character - Barbara, maybe although there's the drinking and panic attacks.
  • 5h.  The Protector - Lt Ken Fuller.  To a lesser degree Officer Jennings.
  • 5i.  The Sensitive Guy - Patrick (never really in danger.)
  • 5j.  Children and animals – Janice and a few children and Claude Cat.  Janice is killed, Claude goes missing.
  • 5k. The Final Girl - Jess Bradford..

1.  (1)  Clare [?]
2.  (2)  Janice Quaife [J] * Possibly not killed by Billy.
3.  (3)  Mrs McHenry [C]
4.  (4)  Officer Jennings [H]
5.  (5)  Barb [D]
6.  (6)  Phyl [G]
7.        Peter Smyth [F] * Killed by Jess.

Rule #6

Especially When They Are Most Needed, The Following Things Cannot Be Relied On…

"Now just put the phone back on the hook, walk through the front door, and leave the house." ~ Sgt Nash.
"What's wrong?" ~ Jess.
"Please, Miss Bradford, please just do as I tell you." ~ Sgt Nash.

  • 6a.  Communication devices - The phone works fine. Unfortunately, it's used to threaten and harass.
  • 6b.  Lighting problems - In some rooms.
  • 6c.  Vehicular Transport - No issues.
  • 6d.  Your Own Legs - Not really.
  • 6e.  The Authorities - Lt Ken Fuller actually seems competent.  Sgt Nash is the center of police incompetence in this film (falling for a fellatio joke, constantly ignoring reports of crimes, stuffing up the warning call he was told not to.)
  • 6f.  Weapons – The fire-poke seems to work fine as a weapon.  Unfortunately, it was used on the wrong person.
  • 6g.  Escape routes - Not covered.

Rule #7

The Final Girl

"It's hard to believe Jess would kill anybody but not Peter!" ~ Chris Hayden

Jess Bradford

  • 7a.  Final - She is the final surviving sorority sister (of those who remained in the house.)
  • 7b.  Girl - Well, she's pregnant.
  • 7c.  Boyish - Not really.
  • 7d.  Well-Drawn - Yes.
  • 7e.  Virginal & innocent - Well, she's pregnant.
  • 7f.  Will be reborn - A little.

    Rule #8 

    The Killer has a connection to...

    "Where did you put Agnes, Billy?" ~ Billy.


      • 8a.  The location - He's hiding in the attic, but doesn't seem to have a special connection to the house (beyond previous obscene phone calls.)
      • 8b.  The Final Girl - No direct connection shown.
      • 8c.  The ProtectorNo direct connection shown.
      • 8d.  The other victimsNo direct connection shown, although there may be a previous victim that is a sister.
      • 8e.  Feminity - Sometimes uses a female voice.
      • 8f.  A specific look - You only see the eyes.  And looks quite like Peter.
      • 8g.  A specific weapon - Whatever's handy.

                Rule #9

                Evil Never Dies...

                (Phone rings)

                • 9a. You always have to kill the bad guy twice - Wasn't even killed once.
                • 9b. Even then the bad guy lives on - The bad guy lives.
                • 9c. Evil is immortal - No sign of immortality.

                    Rule #10

                  The Sequel Will Be Bigger/More Formulaic

                  "It's him again - the moaner." ~ Jess.

                  Not a sequel and no sequels, but a remake.
                  • 10a. They will follow the rules more - N/A.
                  • 10b. They will be more formulaic -  N/A.
                  • 10c. There will be more T&A - N/A.
                  • 10d. There will be more and bigger deaths of the victims - N/A.
                  • 10e. The killer’s death will be bigger - N/A.


                    "He said the calls are coming from No. 6, Belmont Street." ~ Sgt Nash.
                    "For Christ sake, Nash, you got it wrong.  That's where the calls are going into." ~ Lt Fuller.
                    "That's where they're coming from too, sir." ~ Sgt Nash.
                    • The following rules are followed:  4.
                    • The following rules are partially followed:  1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.
                    • The following rules are not applicable:  10.

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