You know you’re in for a great movie when the director of a movie is Bob Clark, the man who gave us A Christmas Story and Darren McGavin uttering the classic “Fra-JEE-lay…" How is it possible that one person is responsible for two of the greatest Christmas movies of all time? Anyway, you also know you’re in for a good time when the cast includes Olivia Hussey (she of the completely indescribable accent…seriously, what country is she from? England? France? Ireland?), a young and totally insane Margot Kidder, and John Saxon, basically playing Nancy’s father ten years before A Nightmare On Elm Street. Saxon, by the way, is either the most genetically fortunate man on earth or uses some damn good moisturizer, because he does not look a bit different in the Special Features interview – taped just a few years ago – than he did in the movie, filmed in 1974.
Anyway, as the movie progresses, there are more freaky phone calls, people start dying, and Bob Clark does everything in his power to make us think Peter is the killer. Really…this guy is such a red herring that he might as well be swimming in the Baltic Sea. The climactic scene in the sorority house, in which the killer chases Olivia down to the basement, it masterfully done; it is tense, believable, and the single shot of the killer’s eye is without a doubt the scariest image from a horror film I’ve ever seen:
Anyway…this Christmas, while TBS is playing that other Bob Clark Christmas movie for the 20,000th time (and our father, Ralph Merrye, is cackling as though it’s the first time he’s seen it), we recommend you dim the lights, serve up the eggnog, and settle in with this Christmas classic. And then…when it’s over and you’re too creeped out to sleep, you can pop in the remake, which will instantly calm your fears and have you giggling like a 5-year-old opening presents. It’s a double feature like this that proves yes, Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus.