Black Christmas (4K Ultra HD Collector’s Edition Review)

Black Christmas (4K Ultra HD Collector’s Edition Review)

In the world of Horror cinema, 1974’s Black Christmas is a significant title. Considered by many one of the greatest Horror films ever made, it is important to understand why. In many instances in the world of Horror a title will grow its own fanbase; whether it be through initial theatrical acclaim, home video consumption, or some odd story that surrounds the making of it. In this process a lot of titles build a bit of a folklore around them, and sadly, many never really live up to the hype.

Olivia Hussey in Black Christmas (1974)

Simply not the case with Black Christmas, from a historical standpoint, it is the prototype for the dominating Slasher sub-genre that arose in the decade to follow. In fact, Black Christmas predates John Carpenter’s 1978 classic Halloween by four years. What happened after that is a mixed bag with many similar films being derivatives, but also some others standing out as real gems. However, what makes Black Christmas truly standout, besides pioneering Slashers, is the film does an exceptional job of creating an ominous atmosphere with a truly mysterious killer. From obscene phone calls with a schizophrenic array of voices, to a looming sensation of doom within the sorority house that much of the film takes place in, Black Christmas has numerous layers.

Of course, there are those which at the time of release discounted Black Christmas as exploitation, violent, or junk, but critics have never really ever been kind to the Horror genre. That said, it is one of those films that everyone knows by name, whether they are a Horror fan or not… but how many have actually ever viewed it? A guess is a good portion of people have, because it did receive some accolades back in the day, plus it has been released on home video formats time and time again; in 1986 in VHS, in 1999 on Laserdisc, several times on DVD through the 2000s, as well as on Blu-ray in 2016. Additionally, it clearly has some cultural impact on Horror, because it was curiously not remade once, but twice in the past two decades, first in 2006 and again in 2019. Digressing, there truly is a lot of interesting details to absorb about Black Christmas, so where should you start? Well, Scream Factory recently released the film in a collector’s edition 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray on December 6, 2022… so this might be a good place. 

Lynne Griffin in Black Christmas (1974)

A three-disc collection, the brand-new collector’s edition offers the original feature film on disc one in 4k, again on disc two in 4K, but as a Blu-ray, and lastly a slew of special features on disc three as a Blu-ray. A solid compilation of content that the film deserves, it also features a nice cardboard slipcover, and thankfully, the film’s original theatrical art. This factors in mind, the special features comply with everything a Black Christmas lover could ever want; from documentaries, to newer and archival interviews, to trailers, among other goodies. A great selling point, perhaps the boldest aspect of this new release is the 4K scan of the original camera negative and restoration of the original mono tracks. 

Two very important attributes, let us remember that Black Christmas is now almost fifty years old. Yes, the grainy and dirty look of an older film such as this is endearing to many genre fans, but thankfully this 4K transfer does not lose such aspects in translation. Instead of looking sim-like, the transfer simply restores lighting, clarity, and sound quality. For example, the darkness and shadows of the lurking killer are still present, but there is certainly more visibility, which is a good thing! Furthermore, the colors are richer, and this is evident with the glow surrounding Christmas lighting, etc. All subtleties that some might miss, if you are a fan of Black Christmas, you most likely will pick up on them and enjoy it. 

Marian Waldman in Black Christmas (1974)

In the end, Black Christmas is truly a great Horror film beyond any mainstream recognition. It does the late, great filmmaker Bob Clark (Porky’s 1981, A Christmas Story 1983) justice, as well as other living or now passed on cast members. Fortunately Scream Factory did a fine job of putting together this collector’s edition, because it may be the only version you will ever want to own of Black Christmas. That is why Cryptic Rock gives Black Christmas’ 4K Ultra HD Collector’s Edition 5 out of 5 stars. 

Black Christmas (1974) / 4K Ultra HD + Blu-Ray Collector’s Edition / Scream Factory


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