31 Days of Wicked Watching [DAY 17]: Sororities are Fun

Today was a toss up. For a few moments I was leaning toward “Children of the Corn,” but then it came to me that I have yet to write about the slasher film that beat all the rest to theaters. It’s a film that has been remade twice at this point and it is a film that definitely, sorry Carpenter, inspired the holiday horror craze. Today’s film is the 1974 Bob Clark powerhouse: “Black Christmas.”

What I love about this film, even though I have a soft spot for Katie Cassidy and Lacey Chabert in the first of the two remakes, is that the conventions of horror weren’t completely established just yet. While you would think you’re going in and watching a slice-and-dice fest, you are actually viewing more of a crime drama coupled with early themes of what became the true slasher genre.

“Black Christmas” is complete with a battle of life and death, and the backstory actually never fully get’s resolved, but it is done with both intensity and curiosity. There are strong comedic moments that naturally come with sorority antics, drunk moments and truly ditz-tastic commentary, but the film doesn’t give too much to the comedy from the fear that you are meant to and expect to feel.

If you’ve seen the first remake, which is closer to the original, you will notice a lack of in-your-face blood and scare. The original film didn’t rely on the pops and the gore to convey the fear that suspense was meant to provide the viewer. It’s a good and quick view that doesn’t require much but a love of horror to appreciate.

He’s come home; you should join him.

Published by Patrick R. Johnson

Patrick is a Ph.D. student and graduate instructor in the SJMC. He comes from nearly a decade of teaching high school journalism and English, and an adjunct professor of journalism and media studies at Marquette University (where he received both his bachelor's and master's degrees). He is a former Dow Jones Distinguished National Journalism Teacher of the Year. His research interests include the intersection of news literacy, journalism ethics, journalism studies, and professional boundary work. He also focuses his attention on issues of deviance within the media industry, particularly as it relates to issues of sex and issues resulting in paradigm repair. Patrick is also deeply passionate about teaching and the role of journalism schools in the professionalization of their students. He focuses a lot of his thinking on mass communication and journalism pedagogy and identifying ways for journalism courses to be both rewarding in content and enriching in skill. He currently teaches Journalistic Reporting and Writing in the SJMC and taught a number of courses at Marquette, including Media Ethics, Visual Communication, Magazine Design and Production, Digital Journalism 1-3, Strategic Communication Writing, and the Journalism Capstone course for the department. His work in curriculum, instruction, and educational leadership includes serving as the Journalism Education Association’s Mentor Program Chair, designing curriculum to accompany Pulitzer Prize winning content for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, reviewing the Praxis national journalism certification exam, and developing a number of courses at the high school and collegiate levels. Patrick served as a 2021 Public Humanities Intern through the Obermann Center where he worked specifically with University Special Collections to develop public-facing exhibits and curriculum materials related to the Tom Brokaw Collection.

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