Christmas is the happiest time of the year, right?

Anyone who’s ever suffered through the agony of pretending to be nicey-nice to a bitchy Aunt Grizelda as she gets wasted on eggnog and slurs condescending remarks about you can say: Bullshit!

That’s where Black Christmas comes in. (Not the shitty 2006 remake, but the classic 1974 version. That’s the version that inaugurated the modern slasher film and inspired John Carpenter’s Halloween.)

Black Christmas draws its malevolent power from the disconnect between the cheery trappings of Christmas and the ever-present dark side of human nature.

Alcoholism, abortion and assassinations are the bugaboos that plague a houseful of unfortunate sorority girls in this yuletide tale of horror.

Sound depressing? It ain’t. There’s plenty of gallows humor and shivery suspsense to keep you entertained.

The cast is amazing, too. You’ve got Keir Dullea (aka spaceman Dave Bowan in Kubrick’s 2001) as an obssessive boyfriend. The legendary John Saxon plays a stalwart police investigator, a role he’d repeat 10 years later in Nightmare on Elm Street.

Then there’s my favorite – Margot Kidder – as a deliciously catty co-ed. Kidder was something of a scream queen in the ’70s, starring in Brian De Palma’s Sisters and The Amityville Horror.

An unfortunate bout of mental illness in the mid ’90s earned her a reputation as a scream queen of a different color. Rumor has it her husband kept singing “The Little Drummer Boy” one Christmas until she fucking lost it.

“Shall I play for you, pa-rum-pum-pum-pum?”

“Not unless you want me to scratch YOUR MOTHERFUCKING EYES OUT, YOU COCKSUCKER!!!”

Um, where was I?

Oh yeah, Black Christmas. It rocks. Go rent it. Now.

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