A Lifetime of Happiness: Movies, TV, and Video Games

Black Christmas (1974, 2006, 2019)

December 08, 2021 Steve Bennet-Martin, Stephen Martin-Bennet Season 1 Episode 97
A Lifetime of Happiness: Movies, TV, and Video Games
Black Christmas (1974, 2006, 2019)
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

The Steves discuss the 1974 holiday slash, Black Christmas, along with their two remakes and what's making them happy in pop culture today.

What's Making Us Happy?

  • YOU, Season 2 (Netflix)
  • The Bitch Who Stole Christmas (VH1, Paramount +)
  • Resident Evil: Welcome to Racoon City (Theatres)

Black Christmas (1974) Topics

  • The origin of the 'Babysitter in Danger' trope
  • Who killed Janett Christman?
  • Who is Wayne Boden?
  • Creating (and breaking) modern horror tropes
  • The impact of the abortion B-plot
  • Our theories about Billy's backstory
  • Who killed Jennings, the cop on lookout?

Black Christmas (2006)

  • Their graphic take on Billy's backstory
  • Differences in the sorority and storylines
  • The multiple issues with the character of Agnes

Black Christmas (2019)

  • Why this should have been titled something else
  • The importance of the movies B-plot
  • Men and their evil goo

Which version did you prefer and why? Let us know by emailing us at [email protected] or getting involved with our social media @happylifepod

Until next time, Stay Happy!

Ending- Any music or audio clips were borrowed from the original source material.

Support the show (http://www.patreon.com/happylifepod)
Steve:

Hello returning happies and new listeners. This is Steve Bennet-Martin, and

Stephen:

this is Stephen Martin-Bennet. And welcome to a

Steve:

lifetime of happiness. The podcast where we take you on our journey through some of the movies, TV shows, and other bits of pop culture that are helping to keep us happy. I'll hopefully bring a smile to your face along the way today.

Stephen:

We're going to show you the dangers of Greek life, especially for those pledging PI Kappa Sigma sorority, as we dream of a black Christmas.

Steve:

Exciting. But first my love what's been making you happy

Stephen:

serial

Steve:

killers and stalkers. Yes. While we know that from this movie, was there anything else involving a serial killer that got your really going? Yes.

Stephen:

It's the Netflix show you

Steve:

season two, specifically, or,

Stephen:

huh? Season two, specifically. You stars, Penn Badgley known for gossip girl and season one while being good was not

Steve:

great. And because it suffered from likable characters or a lack

Stephen:

thereof. Yes. Yeah, because I'm sorry, I'm going to veer back of season one. I don't know anybody that would take the time to stalk you. You're not a good person.

Steve:

Yes, exactly. For those of you unfamiliar with the premise, it's a guy who is stocking the love of his life. Cause it must be the one it's you and nothing could go wrong there at all.

Stephen:

But season two comes along and fixes everything that was wrong with season one, we have a plethora of likable characters, especially the new female lead played by Victoria. Pedretti from the haunting. Yup. From haunting, a blind man are haunting of hill house on Netflix. Netflix does like to keep it in the family and. She's fantastic. The show in season two is fantastic and we are taking a break before going into season three so that wider,

Steve:

so we can watch a hell of a bunch of Christmas movies for y'all.

Stephen:

Exactly. And so come the new year. We're very excited to jump back into you season three. And we've already heard that they're working on a youth season for

Steve:

yes. And speaking of Christmas movies, have you watched any good ones so far for the year?

Stephen:

Actually we have and it would be the bitch who stole Christmas. Yes, it

Steve:

is a RuPaul production and world of wonder.

Stephen:

Yes. And it is 175% camp. Oh yes it

Steve:

is. So self-aware, it is hysterical though. It was very. Well received. It seems like they made a hell of a night of it on VH1.

Stephen:

And the thing that I love the most is, you know, it stars a lot of the Ru girls in their drag. Yeah. But they're not playing drag Queens

Steve:

now they're just playing women and

Stephen:

it, and it's really extraordinarily well done. The dialogue is so witty and so funny. Yeah. It looks

Steve:

like they haven't had a blast in the writers' room.

Stephen:

Oh my gosh. Like so good. So if you can find the bitch who stole Christmas and you like campy funny Christmas, I highly recommend it. Yes.

Steve:

And equally can be, but in a very different way, we enjoyed also resident evil, welcome to raccoon city. Yes. A reboot of the franchise previously, there was this series starring Mila Yakovich and those were good in their own. Right. But they weren't really known if you were fans of the video game to be very true or close to the source material, other than some characters names in general, overarching themes. Exactly. That

Stephen:

was about all that felt kind of similar is, you know, we've got, yeah, we've got umbrella and we've got these named characters and zombies. There

Steve:

you go. Yes. Well, this one was so close to the first two games. It had a big tall order of wrapping up two games of plot and the story and character development into an hour and a half movie. And while the third act, I would say felt a little rushed overall, it was a fantastic job. And if you. Played through the games and you love the games. You should be able to find joy in the movie very much so. Yeah. It's very fun. Yeah. If you're not a fan of resident evil, I don't know how you would receive it as well. It would probably just be a fun, stupid zombie movie. But if you've played through the games first, go back and listen to our episode. We did on the franchise a couple months back, but also just appreciate the camp that is this movie.

Stephen:

Yes, yes. 100%. And that was definitely truer to the characters in general. And it was great seeing some of those iconic set pieces from the games. Yeah. Yes.

I

Steve:

agree. That's another thing that's become iconic in its own, right. Is black Christmas. Yeah, because

Stephen:

we now have three movies titled black Christmas too, with roughly the same plot and a third one that, well, we'll get to it.

Steve:

Exactly. But the original black Christmas. So I would say 80% of people think of when they hear black Christmas is the 1974 original Canadian slash refill produced and directed by Bob Clark and by a Roy Moore had a budget of $620,000 and a box office of $4.1 million.

Stephen:

Now, as we were watching it, I was like, Bob Clark, I know that name tied to Christmas, isn't it? Well, I just knew that I knew it and you all know it as well, because I don't know anybody that hasn't seen his more famous movie because every year, whether it's TBS or TNT, And they do 24 hours of a Christmas story. That's right. Bob Clark, who directed black Christmas is also the director of the red Ryder BB gun loving a Christmas story.

Steve:

Yes. Both have the Christmas spirit in different ways,

Stephen:

possibly opposite ends of the spectrum. Yes.

Steve:

Now it also stars Olivia Hussey, Kira Dooley, Margo Kidder, Andrea Martin, Marion Wildman, Lynn Griffin and John Saxon.

Stephen:

And now the names that you'll remember or would probably know from that list are Margot Kidder, who was Lois lane from the Superman movies, the first ones Andrea Martin is a superbly talented, comedic actress that most people know as aunt Tula from the big fat Greek wedding movies and John Saxon plays Nancy's dad in the, a nightmare on Elm street movie.

Steve:

Or Halloween,

Stephen:

the, a nightmare

Steve:

on Elm street. Okay. I get them all mixed up. Yes. Now this was one of the earlier slasher films ever made, and it follows a group of sorority sisters who received threatening phone calls and are eventually stocked and murdered by a deranged killer during the Christmas season, which sums it up pretty much perfectly. I would say, you know, there's nuance that we'll get into, but that definitely tells you an idea of what the movie is about. Yeah. It's

Stephen:

one of the earliest slasher films ever.

Steve:

Yes. It began life as a screenplay by more called the babysitter, which was then tweaked by writer, Timothy Bond before passing it off to clay Clark, who retitled it stopped me before they ultimately settled on black Christmas to play on the holiday theme.

Stephen:

Yeah, the title stopped me is just dumb. So I'm glad they changed that. But speaking of all, the name changes, it was originally released in the United States under the title silent night, evil night, where it bombed now they changed it from black Christmas because it was the seventies. And they thought that people might think it was a blaxploitation film, which it is not. And so then they rereleased it under the title of black Christmas and it became a huge

Steve:

hit. Yes. Now, especially seeing that it was originally titled in the screenplay, the babysitter, more drew inspiration from the urban legend of the babysitter and the man upstairs, a legend dating back to the 1960s, as well as their recent at the time serial killer Wayne Bowden.

Stephen:

Yes. And you did a super duper, super duper, duper deep dive into all of this. And why don't you jump in there? But I do want to say, so, you know, the babysitter and the man upstairs, that sounds a hell heck of a lot, like when a stranger

Steve:

calls. Yes. And so what do you know of the

Stephen:

trope? So I know that it's usually a teenage girl home, technically not alone, but home alone, watching children who were already asleep she's in a house that she's probably been to, but she's not overly familiar with. And then she starts getting threatening phone calls, which leads to potentially a life-ending

Steve:

chase. Yes, exactly. We see that most significantly and when a stranger calls, but the whole idea of the call coming from inside the house, which is typically a part of the trope, you even see in more modern movies like scream, but it is based on the real life tragedy of Janet Cruz. She was a 13 year old girl living in Columbia, Missouri, who was babysitting for Gregory a three-year-old son of her neighbors and family, friends, ed and Ann ROMAC the night of Saturday, March 18th, 1950. Now it started as a fair evening, turned into a violent stormy night with rain and hail at 10 35. The Boone county Sheriff's department received a frantic phone call with a woman screaming in sheer panic to come quick. However, the phone line was cut short before they could trace the phone call, which we see in this movie is very hard to do and called home from the moon valley Villa where she, her husband and her friends were gathered to check on Janet, but nobody answered the phone. Assuming Janet was simply asleep, they stayed a few more hours before heading home around 1:15 AM. Now when they arrived home at 1 35, they found the front lights were on and the window blinds were open, which they found unusual because that's what they told her to do in the event of. Problem. But when they unlock the door, they found that it was already unlocked, which definitely showed that there was a problem. And three days shy of her 14th birthday, Janet was found sprawled out on the living room floor in a pool of blood soaked through the shag carpet, violently raped and murdered. There was a head wound from a blunt instrument, multiple puncture wounds from a mechanical pencil and a cord from an electric iron that had been snipped with a pair of scissors bound tightly around her neck. You could see in the crime scene pictures that her slipper was just hanging off the tip of her toes on one foot, a few feet away from the, her body was the landline phone dangling off the hook now, and immediately being the mom darted upstairs to check on Greg and the three-year-old was found unharmed and shockingly still asleep oblivious to the hardest downstairs, which is exactly what would have happened to me. If my babysitter was killed when I was young, because I always. Like the dead.

Stephen:

There's probably a good chance that you'd wake up and find me murdered and you'd be like, wow, I sleep

Steve:

through that. Well, now we have Remy who will help stop that. But yes, when it was just the two of us, I would have never been surprised. Now this wasn't the first rape and murder to befall Columbia, Missouri in recent years prior to it, four years earlier on February 5th, 1947, 20 year old, Mary Lou Jenkins was brutally murdered in a similar manner. Janet. She was at home alone less than a mile away from the Roman residents. And she planned with her mother who was staying at a few houses away caring for the elderly couple that night to alert her. If something wasn't missed by turning on a light, lifting up the shades and calling her late into the nightmare. Lou's mother noticed that the lights were on in the shades were up, but dismissed it as a problem since she never received a phone call the next morning, she walked into the living room to find her daughter raped and strangled to death with an extension. Sound familiar. Yeah, just a little bit. Yeah. Now two weeks later, Floyd Cochran, a 35 year old, disabled trash hauler who happened to be a person of color as well, murdered his wife and attempted an unsuccessful suicide and the Boone county investigators who are likely racist at the time singled in on them right away and interrogated them for 10 hours straight. Even though he started off confessing to the murder of his wife right off the bat, they were like, you killed this other girl too. You killed this girl, didn't you, you killed Mary Lou. And after 10 hours of interrogation, he confessed to that murder as well. However, he did recant a few hours before he was executed via the gas chamber and

Stephen:

you and I are big fans of true crime and wrongfully convicted podcasts. And we have seen through different court cases that, you know, depending on the interrogation circumstances and the length and what all is going on, people can be. They'll admit to pretty much anything to get the interrogation to stop.

Steve:

Yeah. Now over the next four years, there were a couple other rapes that occurred non-leading to deaths in that small town, which was unusual enough, but then you have Janet steth and it just is showing a pattern. Robert Mueller, that being the prime suspect was a 27 year old world war two army air Corp captain. And he was friends with ed Rowe MC since high school. So he had that connection. He was known for his pension for younger girls, may lewd comments about Janet, specifically in her well developed breasts for a girl of 13 and had even tried to make sexual advances on Ed's wife and multiple times, including days leading up to the Janet's death. Now the morning of her death, Robert had contacted Janet directly to ask if she would babysit for his children that night, but she shared that she had already planned to babysit for the Romax.

Stephen:

Now he knows where she's going to be, and that she's going to be alone.

Steve:

Yeah. Now Mueller was attending the same gathering with the Romex and their friend mutual friends, but excuse himself for two hours to meet with his doctor. Now later on, babe, when they checked with the doctor, do you think the doctor confirmed this appointment?

Stephen:

My guess is the doctor was probably at the same event and. Mueller forgot to even look there. But yeah, the doctor probably said that didn't

Steve:

yeah, the doctor was not at the event, but he did say that that never happened. So we, we have no idea what he did during those two hours. And even more suspicious the morning after the murder, he called ed and offered to help him clean up any blood that was left throughout the house. But this was before the creme had been printed about or shared with the public.

Stephen:

Oh goodness. How did he know that there was any blood

Steve:

to clean up? I dunno. He even went on later on to posture with, add that if he had done it breaking the window would have been too loud and noticeable. So it'd be easier just to simply knock on the door and say, ed sent me here to get poker chips. Mm.

Stephen:

It reminds me of a similar murder where someone later wrote a book called if I did it.

Steve:

Yes. In may of 1950 law enforcement compiled all this evidence, which was a lot, but rather than following the basic guidelines of an arrest warrant, reading him his rights, interviewing him and taking him into custody. Took him to a farmhouse outside of city limits to interrogate him.

Stephen:

Yeah. That sounds like typical rural

Steve:

America justice. Yes, exactly. He would later was taken to the state Capitol for a polygraph test, which he passed, but we always are. We also know that those are not always a hundred percent accurate, especially if you're a sociopath who can lie through his teeth without the heart rate changing. Exactly. The court judge w M den widdle felt compelled to arrange a grand jury to investigate further, but due to legal issues and the incompetence of the police conduct during the investigation, he was never African. He even at one point, tried to Sue the police department, but lost that lawsuit and ended up relocating with his family to Tucson, Arizona, where he passed away in 2006, at 83 years old.

Stephen:

Oh goodness. He fled town. Yes. How strange? I mean, innocent people floated all over.

Steve:

Yeah. And similarly while there were multiple reports of rape between Mary Lou's murder and Janet's murder after the police focused on Mueller, these instances stopped how strange to this day, the Christmas and the ROMAC family believed Mueller to be the culprit, but he managed to escape justice due to that incompetence. I also believe that he's the culprit. Yes. Now, while this has the majority of, kind of the inspiration behind the movie, there was a little bit of other inspiration in Wayne Bowden. Let me give you, or let's have you give us your serial killer run down with Wayne Bowden.

Stephen:

Meanwhile was a Canadian serial killer. And as he killed his victims, he always said, oh, I'm sorry. I'm sorry,

Steve:

sorry about that. That's not how Canadian Sierra killers work. They're still just as bad as normal people. They don't be stereotypical. Our large Canadian fan base will be up in arms over that. Okay. So

Stephen:

are you guys okay? Wayne Bowden, meanwhile was a Canadian serial killer and rapist active between 1969 and 1971. He killed four women, three in Montreal and one in Calgary. He earned the nickname, the vampire rapist for biting the breasts of his victims. And he was the first murderer convicted in north America due to forensic odontology logical

Steve:

effort. And that is teeth marks. Yes, exactly. So I can definitely see between the two, how they formed the place plot, plotted the movie. Oh yeah. Now speaking of the plot of the movie, how does it open up my love? So some

Stephen:

sorority girls are having a holiday. And so we alternate between their point of view inside the house and the killer's POV, as he climbs up into the attic, which is filled with children's toys, which is strange since this is a long running sorority house, somebody needs to do some better cleaning.

Steve:

Okay. Yes, exactly. And this is known to be one of the very first movies to put you in the killer's point of view regularly throughout the movie as well. Although that does become something we see in future movies of ours that we love.

Stephen:

Yes. Now I'm one of the main characters. Barb gets a call from her mom who cancels their plans for Christmas to spend time with their man from Barb's reaction, you can see this is semi semi typical of her mother to blow her off for some random man. At the same time, the house gets a car. From a moaner.

Steve:

Yeah. So they, you can tell that they've gotten calls from this moaner before. Cause they are, they're like it's the Ramon or yeah. And all the girls gather around the phone and the, the owner is making indecipherable sounds moans, laps and grunts over the phone before content warning, content warning. He talks about looking, they're pretty pink cunt. And for them to suck his juicy cock. And that almost is not as creepy as when Barb tells him off, because he's sounding crazy at the time. But then after she tells him off, he says, very Cooley and plainly I'm going to kill you. Yes. And that is more terrifying for me than that dirty talk. Although I did find the dirty talk shocking in its own, right. Especially in the seventies.

Stephen:

Oh yeah. One. I mean, even these days, the C-word is pretty

tight.

Steve:

Yep. You don't you use that. And just like, I know that the director at the time, wasn't actually saying these things to the girls over the phone, it, they added it in and afterwards really weren't

Stephen:

hearing it. Oh, well that was

Steve:

nice of him. Yes. But at the same time, yes, it is definitely shocking to say the least that entire exchange. Now Barb, after she tells him off and he hangs up after that chilling comment is chastised by Claire for encouraging the moaner and they argue Claire goes up to pack to go home for the holidays. And the girls talk about Claire's trouble fitting in with Barb, calling her a professional Virgin. I doubt that that pays well. It does not. I made barely any pennies

Stephen:

as she packs. We see from the killer's point of view that he's hiding behind the plastic clothing bag in her closet. And as she approaches it after hearing a noise, he suffocates her with it. Now, viewer. That will or listeners of ours who go back and view these movies, make sure you watch for how many times a victim is suffocated and killed with a plastic bag in these movies, because there is the iconic vision upstairs of our

Steve:

Claire. Oh yeah. Claire in the rocking chair

Stephen:

and the rocking chair with the bag around her head in the whole face.

Steve:

Yes. You know, Mrs. Mack, the house mother sends the girls to sleep and takes out the encyclopedia saying B is for booze and sneak some Sherry. Jess gets a call from her boyfriend, Peter, who says he was busy all day practicing and insists. They, and she insists that they talk face to face the next day Mrs. Mac is brushing her teeth and sneak some more Sherry from the back of the toilet. And I really want to take her to one of my meetings.

Stephen:

Like this is really bad. You had some Sherry whenever you were just walking around the house and then you couldn't brush your teeth. And gargle with mouthwash, like a normal person. You have to get some more Cheri

Steve:

to do that. Yes. And just the hiding it all over the house rang true for my later days before I got sober. So I definitely felt for Mrs. Mack. I hope she gets help if she doesn't wind up dead. Oh, wait, spoiler alert. She does. Yes. We are then shown an image of Claire's dead body. Like I mentioned, the iconic head still wrapped in the plastic bag, sitting in the rocking chair.

Stephen:

As we had said, this is one of the first movies where you get into the killer's point of view. And it really definitely adds something to this movie because it, every so often you're like looking around and it's always dark. And this has done really well because we never actually see the killer's face.

Steve:

It is very chilling. This is one of those movies back in the time when less was more, I can't say the same for future iterations, but yes with the lessons Morris. Definitely is chilling. Seeing, you know, the murders happened through his eyes that also will help kind of cut back some of that visuals

Stephen:

then. And because this is one of the first slasher movies we all know the final girl trope that the Virgin is the one who survives

Steve:

watching it. I first I was shocked that Claire was the first one to die and they were like, she's a professional Virgin. I'm like girl got ticket to the final scene, but no, she's the first one killed. And it's partly because the trope didn't exist back then. And this director did not believe in slut-shaming young women. No.

Stephen:

Yeah. Good job Bob clerk. And you can definitely tell that he feels strongly for a women's empowerment through the whole movie.

Steve:

Yes. And one thing though that it did have the Tropin and probably even started it is we're left to believe. And it's confirmed with the 2006 three make that Billy lived in the sorority house as a child. Starting the killer coming home trope that we later see with Michael Myers and Halloween. Yup.

Stephen:

Because even the tagline for Halloween is the night he came home.

Steve:

Yes. Now the next morning Claire's dad is waiting for her and she obviously doesn't show up because she's dead. Yes. Mrs. Macro shares Claire's dad that she is a good girl despite having her boyfriend. And she must be at the fraternity house where they had. Yeah.

Stephen:

And just shares with Peter that she is pregnant, but she has no plans of keeping the baby stating that she's going to have an abortion. He wants her to have the baby, but she stands her ground saying that it's her body, her choice. They planned to meet up later to talk at 9:00 PM at home. Just gets a call from the moaner again, who calls out the name, Billy with a feminine voice. This is really interesting with the color because we know he's crazy from the earlier. But he's able to do these different things where he's almost reenacting previous events in his life doing the voices of all the characters.

Steve:

Yes. Meanwhile, Barb, Mr. Harrison, Claire stab and fell report. Claire's missing to the police who don't take us seriously saying 90% of the time, the girls off at a cabin with her boyfriend. Yeah.

Stephen:

Just finds Claire's boyfriend. And he doesn't know where she is because in his mind she should have been, get ready to go home with her dad

Steve:

back at the police station and other reports, our 13 year old girl is missing. And then Jess and Claire's boyfriend go above the police. Officer's head to the Lieutenant.

Stephen:

Yup. And that Lieutenant would be John Saxon from the nightmare on Elm street. Now this is really interesting because this movie comes from. One year after Roe versus Wade.

Steve:

Yes. And so the abortion B plot, I found just very surprising about the fact that not only was the topic handled, but it was handled with respect. It was handled from the woman's point of view. She was very firm that this was her body, her choice, that he couldn't talk her into it. You know, she wasn't going to give into to him at all. It showed that her strength and her determination you know, even later on them, the movie, when he's like, well, what will it change? She's like, you fucking idiot. It changes everything. Right? Like, and she knows that that's not what she wants because she wants to live her life and follow her dreams. And

Stephen:

she's just not ready for it. Yeah.

Steve:

Yeah. And also, one thing I really liked about this movie was the sisterhood between the sisters actively looking for Claire when she goes missing spending basically the entire day, because so oftentimes in horror movies, someone's missing, they're like, oh yeah, she's mad. She'll turn up around eventually.

Stephen:

Yeah. In the third act, when you open a closet and Becky's body falls out and

Steve:

all that, and you're like, who's Becky, because like you forget because the girls didn't even care. So why should we, yeah.

Stephen:

After she went missing, nobody ever mentioned her again.

Steve:

Yes. Now Barb gets drunk at dinner clearly still upset over her mother. And she goes off about a species of turtles that screw for three days without stopping lamenting that she's lucky if she gets three

Stephen:

minutes, she's mainly doing this to get uncomfortable for clarity.

Steve:

Yes, exactly. But I do love how sex positive she is. Yeah. And I can imagine after three hours getting a little bored or just three days getting bored.

Stephen:

Yeah. At that point you've gone through your grocery list. You probably have read war and peace. And now so Barb also demands that everyone's going to blame her for driving poor Virgin Claire away. If she winds up. And Phil insists that Barb needs to go up to bed to sleep it off. Phil is the level headed. One of their groups.

Steve:

She certainly is. Now we then see Peter taking a mic stand and destroying the school's grand piano to show us his audition. Didn't go well. And that he's mentally unhinged.

Stephen:

Yeah. And we knew like, so in between whenever Jess and Peter talked, he had a very important audition before the nine o'clock meeting tonight. So now, you know, he's of course going to be, you do three almost Poor's for sad, man, but we'll get

Steve:

there. Yes. Now the group goes off to participate in a search party for both Claire and the 13 year old girl leaving Barb at home with Mrs. Mac, Mrs. Mack goes looking for Claude, the cat, who we all assume must be dead. And when she sees the door to the attic open, she climbs up to the addict, sees Claire's dead body in the rocking chair and the killer throws a hook on a police system. At her impaling her in the face and killing her.

Stephen:

Yup. And uses the police system on yanked her up into the attic before any blood can spill down onto the

Steve:

carpet below. Yeah. Yes and no. One's going to think that she's dead because she was just getting ready to leave for her sister's house. Yeah. This,

Stephen:

There's a lot of things in here that are benefiting the killer. Like if Claire had been taking a train to see her dad, instead of being picked up by her dad, this would have, like, I would have said all the girls would have been dead because, you know, Mrs. Mac's going away. All these people are supposed to be leaving for the holiday break. This just benefits his Mo the whole

Steve:

way. It certainly does. Then we see the people in the search party reacting to finding the body of 13 year old. Who is unnamed, but we can only assume that it's gruesome as hell because of the screams that we get when we see the body and the people's reactions

Stephen:

to it. And what's interesting is with this movie and with Halloween, that it's definitely the less is more because in your mind, you remember, oh, there was a ton of blood and gore and Halloween. Nope. Nope. There was

Steve:

very little, same thing here. Back at the house. Jess gets another call from Billy where we can hear phrases like, please stop. Let me be, I know what you did, Billy throughout the call. So we're starting to gather that he's Billy re living or recreating past trauma. Jess reports, the obscene phone calls to the police and Peter appears from upstairs claiming he was taking a nap while he waited for. Creepy. Yes. Jess calls him out on his bullshit as he wants, again, tries to coerce her into keeping the baby. And I like her more and more with each of these scenes. Yeah.

Stephen:

He's all like you ruined my audition. I'm quitting the conservatory and I think we should get married. And she says just because the plans for your life change doesn't mean that mine has.

Steve:

Yes. He then threatened her that if she gets an abortion, she'll be very sorry. Now the question with this did Billy kill the girl in the park?

Stephen:

So seeing as the girl had been missing and we saw Billy, you know, approaching the house, there's a chance that he, on his way to his old home, that he passed her and we don't know Billy's motivation at all. And it could have just been like, we don't know what Billy looks like. Maybe the girl commented on his physical appearance. Maybe he just gets off on killing. My guess though, is that Billy ran across her in the park. I really killed

Steve:

her. Yeah. And I actually have a theory of when it occurred, because throughout the movie, it becomes a thing where every single time that he kills someone, he makes a phone call. Oh. And if you notice that earlier or right around the time that Jess shares that she's pregnant with Peter's baby during the day, and while the girls are out searching right before the mom reports it Jess gets a call from the homeowner who, when she calls out, when he calls out with like the feminine voice, Billy, that call happened, I think right around the time that he killed the 13 year old girl,

Stephen:

or even the first call before Claire with the, the C word.

Steve:

Oh yeah. That could be it too. And then that call might've been when he killed the cat. Yeah. But yes, it is fun to kind of trace the calls once you see that, that is the, the, his pattern. So

Stephen:

to speak. I would say the 13 year old girl is the first call. And the cat is the one you're talking about. I think it all fits

Steve:

it does. Yes. Now, Lieutenant fuller arrives at the house, places a tap on the phone and has an unmarked cop car outside of watching the house after they leave Barb wakes up frantic for her inhaler. Tell me just that she had a nightmare that she dreamt a stranger was coming into her room. Huh?

Stephen:

Funny, because the killer had just been in her room. Yes.

Steve:

Jess goes down and listens to Karelis. Carolers singing as Billy goes into Barb's room saying, Hey, it's me, Billy. It's all right. Along with other mumblings. And he impales her multiple times where the glass unicorn horn.

Stephen:

Oh. And in this house, unicorns are very magical because they're Remy's favorite thing. And so it was very hard to see one used as a weapon of mass district. Yes.

Steve:

Now, after the carolers leave, Jess gets another call where the killer makes a crying sound saying no, Billy. Yeah, that hurts.

Stephen:

It's just like

Steve:

having a wart removed and he hangs up before they can trace the call the Lieutenant zeroes in on Peter, because he's obviously our red herring and it doesn't help that when he calls hysterically crying about the baby, he used very similar verbiage yup. And causes her to share her pregnancy with the Lieutenant and fill because they, of

Stephen:

course were the Lieutenant was listening in and you know, this is really interesting with Barb's death. Do you think at all, so it's hard to see other than just like, you can see they're putting Jess out is the final girl. Yeah. And things like that. And we know that the Friday, the 13th movies were kind of. We're slasher film started blaming people for their vices. Yes. Do you think barbs was just convenience because she was out?

Steve:

Yeah. I do. I really feel like the, you know, with the amount of care that Clark gave this death scene, it was so artistic in the way that they are flashing between the murderer and the carolers that it really was more supposed to be like us dreading what was happening as it was happening and really feeling it and the pity of it. And that, that it was done with care. So I don't think it had anything to do with the fact that she was foul mouth or sex positive or drunk, drunk. I think it was just, if anything, like all of those things are what made him like the character enough to give her them? I would say the most artistic send off on any of the characters in the movie,

Stephen:

I'd say that definitely the biggest death. And at the same time, we've got Peter spiral into madness, which is. So he's been pushing himself probably since he was a child to be talented at music. And his parents probably pushed him as well. And then for whatever reason, because I'm not going to allow him to blame Jess and the pregnancy for him screwing up. But all of this is coming down around his years, whether he really wanted to be or not, and something in him snaps as well, because we see that his violent tendencies, because that, you know, $20,000 piano is now ruined. Yeah.

Steve:

Now Phil goes up to check on Barb and the doors slam shut behind her, leading us to assume

Stephen:

I feel bad about this one because I do, I feel was the most naturally likable character. A I didn't want her to die. She got gypped in terms of a death scene.

Steve:

Yes, she did. We cement the idea that she is that because shortly after Jess gets another call where we hear, oh, myths, the craziness, you fat pig, you bitch pig belly. Where's the baby. Yes. And that's something, please don't do that again. This time they tracked it and confirm the calls are coming from inside the house Jennings, the cop outside the house has seen with his throat slashed. Oh, meanwhile, the incompetent cop at the station is told. Don't tell her the calls are coming in from outside the house. Just get her to leave

Stephen:

the house no matter what you do. Don't tell her what's going on. Lieutenant was very clear. And the incompetent comp that we've seen the whole movie being

Steve:

oh bad at his job. It takes her like asking two questions before he's like, listen, the calls from inside the house. Now what I do give her credit, Jess, as the final girl, rather than just running for her own life and not caring again. As I mentioned, I really liked the sisterhood. She's convinced that she has to get fill in Barb.

Stephen:

And she tries the smart way at first of fail. Barb, answer me answer like she's trying from staying downstairs, screaming for them to say something and they don't.

Steve:

Yeah. And so that's when she grabs a fireplace, poker goes upstairs and finds their corpses and comes face to I with Billy, as she sees him through a crack in the door who whispers a comment about don't tell them what we did. Agnes. She locks herself in the basement, Peter outside the basement window says just

Stephen:

Jess.

Steve:

Why would he go to the basement window instead of any of the doors? Who knows? Yeah. It's the

Stephen:

creepiest thing. Well, it is

Steve:

because earlier in the movie they did say something about how the front door jams. And even at this point when she tries to escape, she tried to go out the front door, but it was jammed. So that's why he didn't go through the front door.

Stephen:

We already know that there's a kitchen door because earlier they had heard a noise outside. Phil opened the back door and those two men doing the search patrol, scared the crap out of her. So we knows there's a kitchen.

Steve:

Yes. We also think he's unhinged right now, but he breaks the window to climb into the basement and assuming he's the killer at this point just kills him.

Stephen:

And so you said an important. The cop that was sitting in the unmarked car outside, has his throat slashed? Yes, did it?

Steve:

I think that it was Peter and I know that that's going to be possibly something that, you know, the text didn't point out necessarily. But at this point, every single person that Billy killed was a female. He did not kill a single man throughout the movie. Other than this one cop, it happened outside at the height of when all the killings were going down. So it was very hard for him to escape from the house and get back in. And there was no phone call exact or the death. So with all of those adding up, I have to say that Peter, like we see him losing his mind. We see his spiral into madness. And I think that he killed the cop and I, because he saw the cop as the barrier to get to talk with Jess about his

Stephen:

baby. And I honestly don't think that he was probably coming just to talk anymore. I truly feel that it was going to be, you either have this baby or he was going to kill her. Like, I think that that's where he had gotten to in his mind when he had snapped. I think that honestly, if she hadn't have killed him in the basement, he was probably going to

Steve:

kill her. Yeah. Now, assuming it's all over the, you know, the cops and the paramedics and everyone arrived, they even like drug her to relax her and let her fall asleep in the house. Where all of her friends were just killed. They then leave her alone in the house because Claire's dad ends up like passing out from all the fatigue and take him to get help. And they already were saying like, how short-staffed they are in the city because they don't see this type of thing. There was no room at the morgue for all the bodies.

Stephen:

And the interesting thing also. Is, they haven't checked the attic yet. They don't know there's more bodies in the house.

Steve:

Yeah, exactly. So they leave this poor girl who they drug to sleep all alone in the house, after all of this just happened and thinking

Stephen:

that Peter was the

Steve:

killer. Yes. Meanwhile, we know that it was Billy and they start laying the credits roll. And as the credits roll, we see outside the house, the phone.

Stephen:

Yup. And cause the cop standing on the porch and it just rings and rings and rings and rings. And what we know

Steve:

from the emo is that's probably that Billy killed Jess. Yeah. So what are your thoughts on the climax and the ending?

Stephen:

Fantastic. And this is one movie that I actually think gets better with multiple viewings. Especially once you start to put the pieces together that every death results in a couple. And that makes the final phone just ringing and ringing and ringing. So chilling because you know that your final girl is no

Steve:

more. Yes, exactly. And now, before we get into movie, that specifically makes their own Canon for everything about Billy's life answering questions. I didn't even want to ask. Yeah. I'm just going from the context of this movie alone. What do you know or think about Billy and his story? So

Stephen:

my guess is that Billy was abused as a child and probably couldn't like, there was a point where he didn't take it anymore and probably he snapped and killed someone or multiple someones.

Steve:

Yeah. Yeah. I got that. I have a feeling that one of them was. Girl girl or a woman named Agnes? Well, no,

Stephen:

I think Agnes, it was potentially his accomplice or witness to what he did. Don't tell them what we did. Agnes. That's

Steve:

also something though that, like, I got the very much that he maybe like assaulted her, like sexually abused her. Gotcha. Because I, you know, don't tell them what they did is something that abusers typically will tell their victims of abuse and that's.

Stephen:

Gotcha. Well, I mean it, because there is no motivation for Billy. We know nothing. This is one of those where the you viewer gets to make up their own

Steve:

mind. Yeah. And I mean, I've even heard people in the research that like what go to their deathbeds saying that Justin survived that that was just a call from like someone else that had nothing to do with. And I'm like, that's really stretching it unless. Really just want to head candidate yourself, which may be, but she can do. That's the, that's the beauty of an ending like this as that does let you come to your own conclusions. Now, moving that does not let you come to your own conclusions is the 2006 remake.

Stephen:

And so it was written and directed by Glenn Morgan. It stars Katie Cassidy, who I love Michelle Trachtenberg, who I love Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who is wonderful Oliver. Hudson. Who is the brother of little Katie Hudson. Yes. Lacey Shabir. Christine girls. Yeah. Kristin cloak and returning cast member. Andrea Martin. She's now the house

Steve:

mother. Yeah. Now this movie had a budget of $9 million and had a box office of 21.5 million. So for

Stephen:

a neat, very niche horror movie, that's not too bad.

Steve:

Not great. It's not, I would call a blockbuster, but it did pay off itself and make a profit for those involved.

Stephen:

And I understand it has done well over the years with video and

Steve:

excellent. Now this does go more into Billy's backstory and creates an accomplice in his sister, daughter, Agnes. Yes, Billy was born with yellow skin due to jaundice. His parents hated each other and his mom and her boyfriend killed his dad one Christmas. And

Stephen:

the dad was the only one that actually liked

Steve:

Billy. Yes. When Billy found out and saw them burying him in the bay, like in between the walls of the house underneath, she locked him in the attic. Seven years later after realizing her boyfriend was incompetent, he passes out mid sex. She solves her problem needed to get her rocks off by going up and molesting her son and becoming pregnant with his child, sister Agnes

Stephen:

nine years later, he escapes from the attic disfigured. Agnes by gouging out her eye and eating it and then kills his mother and her boyfriend he's caught by the police, eating cookies made out of his mother's flesh.

Steve:

Yes. And if that doesn't get you a one-way ticket to the psychiatric ward, I don't know what would Agnes is played by Dean Fris a CIS man. And I found that the problem as an adult. Yeah. I want that later on when like we're talking because don't we talk about the,

Stephen:

oh yeah, we can, we'll get to it later. So in this movie, Claire is the first girl killed. Now most of the names of the characters don't transfer from movie to movie except clear, which I think they did as an homage. And she has also suffered suffocated with a bag There are not many names that are transferred from movie to movie, but Claire is, and I believe it's an homage to the first movie. She suffocated with a bag again. And instead of Claire's father coming in this movie, it's her a strange sister who turns out was also a sorority sister back in the day at PI Kappa Sigma.

Steve:

Yes. In this version, the legend to Billy is actually known by everyone involved. They, everyone knows that he used to live in the house and each year they put a rat president under the tree for Billy as a talisman to ward off evil later, there was even a creepy doll left under the tree from Billy.

Stephen:

Yeah. Which the girls did not put there. This eliminates the abortion subplot, substituting it for Kelly and her boy. Sex tape story which finishes before it really starts. Kyle, the boyfriend vacillates back and forth between potential good guy and angry douchey, awful misogynistic townie in the end. He's the worst. And no one was sad when he died.

Steve:

Yes. Now in this one, I did find that while there are certain instances that you could find of sisterhood, quote, unquote, I'm the little sisters, it is much less than you find in the original. They feel a lot more like frenemies than sisters. Until it's down to the end with just Kelly and Lee and they're protected, you know, they're protecting each other to try and get through it, but that's not so much, sisterhood is just trauma bonding during a whole bunch of deaths

Stephen:

around, you know, eh, at the end, the evil boyfriend says you don't have any family. And Lee says, yes, she does. Yes. And so that was the thing where because I think Kelly was going into the sorority for the bond. And Lee definitely still saw that these are your sisters and this is who you take care of. And I appreciated that between the two of

Steve:

them. Yes. Now, most of the calls this time, we're not necessarily the moaner didn't have multiple voices. It was typically a masculine voice that saying something along the lines of she's my family now. Yes. And now this time it is Agnes and Billy doing the killings. Agnes was doing the killings in the beginning before Billy got out. And

Stephen:

honestly, I think that they made a mistake because the surprise of Agnes is kind of ruined later on, because logically as we were watching it, we're like, well, who, the killings can't be done by Billy because they intersperse some of the first killings with. Attempting to escape. So I think that was bad editing and pacing. I think that if they had had the movie start off with Billy escaping and then later you intersperse it with flashbacks to Billy's life. Then the surprise of Agnes later on actually is a surprise. And where this one you're like, well, obviously it was two people. Yeah,

Steve:

exactly. Meanwhile, I did find it somewhat problematic. The character of Agnes because Agnes has a very large burly ugly quote, unquote female. And she's played by Dean frisk. Who's assistant. And it's just oftentimes that, you know, female characters that are viewed as masculine can be problematic, especially within the trans community, having it be like, you know, the, the mannish woman is the one who's evil and crazy for no reason. I mean, other than the trauma that was inflicted upon

Stephen:

her. And honestly, there was no reason for her to be unless they're saying that she was physically disfigured because of being incest, but the little baby, the mother even said she was perfect and things like that. So I think that they made a bad choice with this, that it easily could have just been

Steve:

a woman. I have thought, I first watched through that it was gonna be one of the sorority girls. Right.

Stephen:

And I think that they could have easily left it as, you know, maybe she did inherit Billy's John does thing, but there's no reason she couldn't have been even severely underweight. Yeah, type of thing. And and we never know where Agnes has been all this time. Has she been in the attic

Steve:

for 30 years? And we get nothing from her now in the end, the house burns down with Billy and Agnes, but they survive. And the climax occurs in the hospital with Kelly as the final girl who kills both Agnes and belly Agnes, she shocks with the paddles clear, and then Billy gets thrown over from a balcony onto the top of a Christmas tree, which impels him. Now it was your favorite kill in this movie?

Stephen:

I think it was the, it was the one that made me saddest because I do love Andrea Martin. And I, I was very sad when she was killed outside. Not by Billy or Agnes, but by an icicle. Yes,

Steve:

it was very sad just because of the tragedy of it that could have been avoided. She wasn't being sought out. This is

Stephen:

a tragic, strong, like she was the Mrs. Mac that the girls in the first movie needed. She was there providing a motherly figure, trying to get them to act like sisters. She was there to protect them. She was going to get them out. She was going to get them help. And then she was taken out, not by a killer, but by weather.

Steve:

Yeah. Yes. Now, what were your thoughts on this movie as a standalone film?

Stephen:

As a standalone film, I'm saying, and I admit bad horror film me. I saw this before the original, 1974 film and I super enjoyed it. I had a lot of fun with it. I loved Katie Kasey. I thought Michelle Trachtenberg did a great job. It, I thought it was a fun cast and just a fun slasher Christmas movie. What did you think as a standalone film? It's hard

Steve:

to say, cause I kind of tied the two of them together. I think that I actually saw the first one before this one. And so it, it's hard to say, you know, as a standalone movie, it very much, as of the time I feel like of, you know, the, the mid two thousands horror movies were about being as gruesome as you possibly can get to push that rated R rating to the very edge that you can get. There were things that were graphic that I feel like didn't need to be graphic, you know, topics that didn't need to be addressed and then topics that should have been addressed that weren't it very much more for the flash flashiness of it all. I feel like then the story And it just was something that, you know, I know that you love it, but I could take it or leave it if we never watch it again, I think I'll be okay. Now,

Stephen:

as a comparison to the original, I feel it false.

Steve:

It does significantly for me. I mean, and they took this great concept in this great movie that changed the genre and turns it into a mid aughts gore Fest.

Stephen:

But, and I do see the bones of this remake as something that could have been worked with and with someone taking the right amount of care with it, because you have that talented and acting cast, like those are all talented women across the board.

Steve:

Oh yeah. This has nothing to do with their performances. I just feel like for a movie that made its name because less was more, they went here with more is more

Stephen:

and they easily could have done the whole Billy Agnes storyline. I think that wasn't done as well as it could have been. There, the original is still far superior. This one's fun Soviet.

Steve:

Yes. Meanwhile, if that remake wasn't enough to stop them from remaking the movie, it was renamed kind of again and most recently in 2019, where it was directed and co-written by Sophia to call with her. Co-writer April, both it stars image in Poots, Elise Shannon, Lily Donahue, Brittany O'Grady, Caleb Eberhard and Kerry Ellis.

Stephen:

Yep. It was produced by Jason bloom of bloom house. Now what? Okay. Well to get into all of that, it was released on Friday the 13th of December 20, 19 by universal pictures with a budget of 5 million. And it had a box office of 18 million. Now in these days, like, you know, 12 to 13 years after even the last. That's not as much money

Steve:

in today's realm. It is not, no, it's still, they say, I think if you made three times the original amount, it's enough to kind of break even pretty much. It's barely had a profit at all. Right. And then this is the only one that aimed for and received a PG 13 rating with, to call, hoping to make it accessible to a newer audience, especially young women interested in horror while also hoping to open up discussions on major issues like sexual assault, which I do give her credit for

Stephen:

100%. And rather than Billy being the killer or, you know, it being anything about the house specifically, the killers are hooded figures that turn out to be an evil douchey

Steve:

fraternal. Yes. Now the main character Riley subplot is how she was raped at a fraternity party a year or two prior. And it blends very well with the main villain being misogyny. Yup. I do find that out of the three subplots, the while the abortion one remains my favorite in the first movie that this one is more of the time and it was handled very well as well. So I do like that kind of subplot and how it relates back to the main theme. Yes.

Stephen:

And just like the original, there's a police force that doesn't believe the girls or take the abuse seriously because some things

Steve:

never change. No. They even make the same comment. As in the first one about when a girl goes away, she's normally off with her boyfriend. Yeah. No shame. This is the only one that is supernatural in nature, but the professor and the frat guys, not just being misogynistic, pigs, but also influenced by a black goo.

Stephen:

Yeah.

Steve:

It just, I find it problematic because I mean, it almost like acts like an excuse for the men. Like it's not their fault. It was their evil goo,

Stephen:

except that. And while I see that for some of them the. Rape happened before the bust of the Hawthorne was moved into the house before the GU even happened. So they were awful and hiding sexual assault before the goo the, you just made

Steve:

them worse. Yeah. But the goo is definitely a metaphor for semen. Isn't it? Oh, I'm sure. Yes. Now, unlike the first two where it ends with a final girl, quote, unquote, this one ends with multiple final girls stopping the madness by breaking the founder's sculpture and letting the fraternity house burn.

Stephen:

Yep. The film got a lot of hate because it was called black Christmas. Had no connection to the previous other films other than death at a sorority house and accused of being too woke, which is just what angry CIS white in sales who live in their mother's basement call anything that questions they're fragile masculinity.

Steve:

Yes. This certainly was not a movie that was looking to make friends with anyone. It certainly was a movie with a man. And I do appreciate the message that it said. I just wish that they did it with a different title. So that's

Stephen:

honestly so I would have changed it just slightly. So I would have moved the time period to say December 20th, 21st, and instead of black Christmas color, dark solstice, and have the ritual be something about winter solstice and things like that. So then there's not black Christmas. You still have a winter theme in there. I think the title heard it more than anything else, because you have so many fragile men that love the first one. And then you have this one coming along that attacks them and they're going to hate it out of spite.

Steve:

Yeah. Now. Overall out of all three movies, but I was our final verdict. Well, first let's start with which of the three has the better characters,

Stephen:

honestly, the third one. Yeah, I think the third one had more realized realistic college girls.

Steve:

I agree. Although I do love particularly Barb and Jess from the first one, there was just the rest of the cast kind of fell short for me. Yup.

Stephen:

Best overall story of the three. And now I think that that's going to be overall story. Yeah. I think it's honestly a toss up between the 2006 and this one in terms of. I don't know it's confusing because yeah, I, I like each of them for different things. I love the message of this one. I loved the over the top of the second one and I love the simplicity of the first one.

Steve:

Sure. I would say that it's the first one, the overall story made an impact on the genre for, for like up until today, that story of the, the calls coming from inside the house, the story of, you know, sorority girls or babysitters getting murdered, like so much of it impacted so much. And I don't think that it was the kills that did it. Cause that was the less is more, I think it was the story that it told completely changed the face of horror well and created a genre.

Stephen:

And I agree completely with that once we talked it out. Well, which one had the best killer.

Steve:

I as much as I didn't really love the movie, I do have to give it to your 2006 remake because of just the gore factor, you know, there's something beautiful about the unicorn death in the first one. Yeah. But the overall best kills for a full movie. They did have the,

Stephen:

yeah, I agree. Scariest, I think is the original.

Steve:

Oh yeah, for sure. Hands down that less is more the cleaning, the haunting whore, the I'm going to kill you.

Stephen:

And then either all the other calls where the craziness just amped

Steve:

up. Yes. Now rather than rebooting it all again, which of these deserves an honest to goodness CQL the

Stephen:

original, because a 2006 that area there, they're all dead with the end of the original Billy still alive and we have nothing. It could easily be a Halloween 2018 type of thing of what's Billy been doing for forever

Steve:

40 years. Yeah. And funny, you mentioned that because right after this was made like released and before Halloween became a movie or a franchise Clark met with John Carpenter who asked him, said, I love that movie. Are you going to make a sequel? And he's like, no, I don't want to do any more harder. And then he was like, well, come on, humor me, what would you do if you did make it a SQL? And he said that he would have it be one or two years later where he ends up doing all the killings after he comes home around Halloween. He also did flat out say after Halloween came out that age, he doesn't take any sort of credit for it that because it was its own character because it was so different. In so many different ways that he didn't blame John Carpenter or anything like that. But he does say it as kind of funny that he did kind of get the ball rolling and then just it snowballed from there into the movie, John Carpenter made it. But yeah, I agree just because not only have that little bit of inspiration, but just what the movie did for the genre, that there probably would be no Halloween. If there wasn't black Christmas that there wouldn't be even a scream if there wasn't that original black Christmas.

Stephen:

Yes. Greed. I'm sure I know your answer, but your overall favorite of the three, the first

Steve:

one. What about you? Absolutely.

Stephen:

And I feel like

Steve:

if before we did this podcast research for it, you probably would have said the second one. Huh? I

Stephen:

probably would've said the second one because I think it's a more fun watch. But watching them all, doing the research, thinking about it critically. The first one is the

Steve:

best. Yes, I agree. We'd love to know your thoughts on wishes. The favorite of yours, you can get in touch with us by emailing us at happy life pod at g-mail dot com. You

Stephen:

can also and get in touch with us on all the socials, whether that is Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or tick talk at happy life, odd

Steve:

and stay tuned next week as we find ourselves home alone. Yes. And until that time stay happy.

What's Making Us Happy?
Who Killed Janett Christman?
Black Christmas (1974)
Jess' Right to Choose
The Climax
Black Christmas (2006)
Black Christmas (2019)
1974 v. 2006 v. 2019