What first attracted me to the film was the simple, yet believable storyline. In typical horror fashion, the story is centered around some drunk and horny college kids disobeying Mom & Dad. Things are only a little strange when the kids start receiving calls from a deranged caller making graphic, sexually inappropriate statements. Now, what we tend to forget is that this film took place in the 1970's, a time when caller ID and *67 didn't exist. They were still using rotary phones for God's sake. Bart Simpson would have had a field day back in the 70's. Since there was no way for anyone to tell who was calling, it made it even more horrifying to discover the calls were coming from inside the house. Caller ID or not, knowing someone is in the house and screwing with you...is scarier than one would think.
The most obvious of the slasher staple, is the female power shot. While Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street may have brought us the "final girls", Black Christmas is gushing with feminist overtones. The film takes place in a sorority house and exposes the status struggle between sorority sisters. Each of the characters represent a different type of woman in the 1970's and the film showcases these women that were often seen as rebellious during their time. Olivia Hussey's portrayal of Jessica followed the VERY controversial topic of having an abortion. Showing a woman making such a strong decision based on what was right for her body was almost unheard of at the time. The undertones of Jessica's abortion along with religious subtexts dealing with abortion vs. immaculate conception could take an entire novel's worth of analysis, but make sure the next time you watch the film, you look out for it. Okay, okay. Moving on. Margot Kidder's Barbie, is the overtly sexual party girl that represented the women of the 1970's that were finally liberating themselves sexually and taking control of their sex life. Women were actually enjoying sex and enjoying it for themselves, rather than for male satisfaction only. Barbie was essentially one of the first "party girls" and she was one of the first female characters to be proud of her sexuality and paved the way for the horror archetype. Clare, the "powerslut" to say the least, was the first one to admit about her sexual conquests and also the first one to bite the dust. Thus ushering in the "sluts die first" rule that horror films have taken such a liking to. To contrast, Andrea Martin's Phyllis was the innocent intellectual who inspired much of the characteristics of the modern "final girl". Female archetypes in horror films are almost as prevalent as the racial archetypes and Black Christmas was one of the first films to blatantly expose them.
...and if this isn't enough to convince you, John Saxon is in it. You're welcome.