In a surprise announcement, Blumhouse Productions reveals it's doing a remake of Black Christmas that will be released just in time for the holidays. While the slasher sub-genre isn't the big deal it once was, slashers dominated the world of horror throughout the 1980s, and for much of the 1990s. Most tend to trace the slasher boom back to John Carpenter's 1978 classic, Halloween, but there's actually an ever earlier film that Carpenter himself admits influenced his tale of butchered babysitters, 1974's Black Christmas.
Directed by Bob Clark - who, quite hilariously, also later directed the beloved holiday hit A Christmas Story - Black Christmas is a clear ancestor of the sub-genre that films like Halloween, Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street would cement in pop culture. Like Halloween, Black Christmas is centered on a holiday, features a killer claiming victims for no readily apparent reason, and includes memorable scenes from the killer's point-of-view. The killer, who calls himself Billy, also primarily targets a group of young women, albeit college girls instead of Halloween's high school students.
Black Christmas is rightly revered by most horror fans, although those not well-versed in the genre may not be familiar with it, especially younger viewers. Well, the original Black Christmas is surely about to get lots of renewed attention, as Blumhouse announced today that it's preparing a remake of the film. Even better, the new Black Christmas will hit theaters on Friday, December 13, 2019, just in time for the holiday season. Sophia Takal (V/H/S) will direct the project, and also co-wrote the script alongside April Wolfe. Imogen Poots (Green Room, the Fright Night remake) leads the cast. Check out the official synopsis below, followed by the poster.
Hawthorne College is quieting down for the holidays. One by one, sorority girls on campus are being killed by an unknown stalker. But the killer is about to discover that this generation’s young women aren’t willing to become hapless victims as they mount a fight to the finish.
Of course, slasher fans will remember that this isn't the first time Hollywood has attempted a remake of Black Christmas. X-Files and Final Destination vet Glen Morgan directed the first remake, which was released in 2006, and actually featured quite the recognizable cast of targets, including Katie Cassidy, Michelle Trachtenberg, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Lacey Chabert. Unfortunately, most fans disliked the remake, especially its choice to give the previously unexplained Billy a backstory and clearly defined motivation.
The 2006 Black Christmas remake also failed to make a splash financially, earning only $21 million worldwide on a budget of $9 million. After marketing costs, that likely puts the remake just barely in the black, so combined with the poor reviews, it's not hard to see why it never got a sequel. Hopefully, Blumhouse manages to craft a remake that does the original Black Christmas justice, and introduce a whole new generation of fright fans to the terrors of Billy's phone calls. Of course, in the era of ubiquitous and constant cell phone use and sophisticated caller ID features - even when compared to the technology of 2006 - one wonders if they'll have to change his modus operandi around a bit.