Alex Gardner (Dennis Quaid) is a psychic that uses his powers to cheat at horse racing. A group of scientists (played by actors including Max Von Sydow and Kate Capshaw) bring him into a project that is allowing psychics to enter the dreams of others, ostensibly to help treat nightmares and other sleep problems. Enter Bob Blair (Christopher Plummer) a man intent on twisting the project into a way to enter people’s dreams and assassinate them (because killing someone in their dreams kills them for real).
The film boasts an incredible cast in a film that I found dull and, frankly, absurd. There are plenty of ‘weird science’ gems from the 80’s, some also include Dennis Quaid (Innerspace), but this film falls flat. The dreams they enter are all just borderline distortions of reality (Except for one super awesome Snakeman monster that almost makes the purchase worthwhile by itself) and we never get to explore the fantastic possibilities of entering someone else’s fantasy. Beyond that I’m not sure who they thought their audience was. The Government conspiracy and murder are a bit much for little kids, the pacing is too glacial for kids in general, and the premise is too unrealistic for anyone over the age of ten to not scoff and dismiss the whole thing.
For fans, there’s a pretty decent bounty of bonus features on the disc. Included are an audio commentary, several featurettes, interviews, ‘Snake-man’ test footage, still gallery, and a theatrical trailer. The reverse sleeve of the cover includes the original art I remember from the VHS release sitting on rental store shelves many decades ago.
This Canadian Christmas Horror is a masterpiece that you already should have bought several times, but Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition is by far the ultimate, must-have version. A sorority house is plagued with obscene phone calls and stalked by a killer over the Christmas break. While down here in Texas they were having a chainsaw massacre, Bob Clark was up there opening all new territories in the horror slasher genre (Bob Clark would later revisit Christmas with A Christmas Story, he was a versatile director).
Scream Factory’s two-disc Collector’s Edition has so much added material I’m just going to post the whole list. Here’s a fun drinking game if you’re over 21 that you can play at holiday parties when you’re showing friends Black Christmas for the first time: Whenever Margot Kidder breaks a law of man or nature – DRINK!
- NEW 2016 2K scan of the negative (1.85:1) – DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, DTS-HD Master Audio Mono
- Audio Commentary with director Bob Clark
- Audio Commentary with actors John Saxon and Keir Dullea
- Audio Commentary with Billy (actor Nick Mancuso)
- Audio interview with director Bob Clark
- 2006 Critical Mass HD Master (1.78:1) – DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- NEW Film and Furs – Remembering Black Christmas with Art Hindle
- NEW Victims and Virgins – Remembering Black Christmas with Lynne Griffin
- Black Christmas Legacy: 40th Anniversary Panel at FanExpo 2014 featuring John Saxon, Art Hindle, Lynne Griffin & Nick Mancuso
- On Screen!: Black Christmas featurette
- 12 Days of Black Christmas featurette
- Black Christmas Revisited featurette
- Archival Interviews with Olivia Hussey, Art Hindle, Margot Kidder, Bob Clark, & John Saxon
- Midnight Screening Q&A with Bob Clark, John Saxon and Carl Zittrer
- Two scenes with a new vocal soundtrack
- Original Theatrical Trailers (English and French)
- Original TV and Radio Spots
- Alternative Title Sequences
- Still Gallery
Adam Ruhl is a writer and life long Cinephile. He is the Executive
Cinema Editor of Pop Culture Beast’s Austin branch; covering festivals,
conventions, and new releases. When not filing reports, Adam can be
found stalking Alamo Drafthouse Programmers for leads on upcoming
DrafthouseFilms titles. Adam once blocked Harry Knowles entrance to a
theater until he was given extra tickets to a Roman Polanski movie.