My Top 20 Scares of 2020: #15

Speaking of holiday scares, my #15 favorite horror movie of 2020 is also Christmas-themed! This one might be less cheery than yesterday’s pick, ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE (2017), but it’s no less festive. And it still has jokes.

For a refresher on my methodology for selecting my 20 faves, check out the first post in the series!

My #15 favorite scare of 2020 is…

#15. BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974)

Olivia Hussey as possibly The Original Final Girl??? (c) BLACK CHRISTMAS 1974.

Written by A. Roy Moore and directed by Bob Clark, BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974) is one of the first modern slashers. It’s got a super basic premise: there are a bunch of hot college girls living in a sorority house and a deranged murderer picks them off one by one. Despite little else going on in terms of plot (there’s a boyfriend/abortion storyline that fills about 3 scenes), BLACK CHRISTMAS manages to maintain a super tense atmosphere from beginning to end without gratuitous extended murders or unnecessary boob exposure. The expert pacing and tension alone may (or may not) have earned this movie a spot in the top 20. Lucky for us all, it also has a terrifying twist ending, a pleasurable moral, and some hot jokes delivered by my favorite character, Barb the drunk (Margot Kidder).

Barb, ladies and gentlemen. (c) BLACK CHRISTMAS 1974.
More Barb. You’re welcome.

This movie is terrifying and also fun. Go. Watch. Ho, ho, ho.

How Did It Score
  • How scary was it? 4/5
  • How memorable was it? 4/5
  • Was it a Quality film? 3/5
    • Points for one of my favorite recurring horror morals: “The cops will not save you,” AND for an appropriately villainized anti-choice boyfriend. Not full points because it’s still mostly just a murder-fest.
  • How about those women? 2/5
    • Here is how BLACK CHRISTMAS scores on each of the gender tests:
      • Bechdel-Wallace Test: Pass. There are many women in this film but they mostly talk about their boyfriends. Still there’s some discussion of holiday plans and parents.
      • Sexy Lamp Test: Pass.
      • Willis Test: Fail.
      • Ko Test: Fail.
      • Roxane Gay Test: Fail because everybody is white/cis/straight. I do want to give props for a very large cast of women, several of whom are pretty complex.
      • Carie-Burns Test: Fail. These ladies exist to die.
  • Total points: 13/20
    • Note: BLACK CHRISTMAS did score the same as my #16 film, ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE. Per my rules (explained in the first post of the series) I used the “how scary was it” score as a tie-breaker. BLACK CHRISTMAS is very scary.

Published by Brandy N. Carie

Playwright. Director. Producer. Dramaturg. I like coffee and Whisky and dogs and talking in person.

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