Special Case File
The 1974 Slasher Film
"I'm going to kill you"
In October 1975, the Canadian slasher film Black Christmas was released in Toronto cinemas for the Halloween season. Directed by Bob Clark, the story involves a group of sorority sisters who receive threatening phone calls and are one-by-one stalked and murdered by a deranged maniac during the Christmas holidays. Upon its release, the film received mixed reviews and performed poorly at the box office, but in the decades since has enjoyed renewed interest and a much deserve critical re-appraisal. Black Christmas is considered one of the earliest slasher films that went on to influence many other cult movie franchises.
Inspired by an old urban legend which dates back to the 1960’s about a teenaged girl babysitting children who is continually harassed by a stalker, and in some versions of the tale, is murdered by the unseen prowler, Black Christmas was, however, based on a real-life incident from Montreal, Quebec, during the Second World War. In that case, a young boy bludgeoned several of his family members in November 1943, one of whom died. Several murder cases might have drawn inspiration from the film, which possibly went on to influence one of the most notorious serial killers of the 20th Century.