If you’ve ever attended one of these screenings you’ll know that they’re not about technical proficiency, they’re about the love of cinema, dammit! And cheap, trashy, bloody, oozy cinema at that. So it may have taken 50 minutes to get the projector out the back of Northcote’s Bar 303 to work, but this just gave the patiently waiting movienerds a chance to bond over their sick and twisted film diets. Tonight’s audience was sparse, but nevertheless enthusiastic.
The screenings are evidently not about profit either, this one was offered to us on the house. We were treated to 1970s Canadian Christmas-Slasher film, Black Christmas. The film is based in a sorority house with an Alcoholic Housemother and wallpaper so 70s it is laughable. The sorority girls are in the festive spirit and getting ready to go home for the holidays. But a mysterious prank-caller seems intent on ruining their evening. When one of the girls’ fathers comes to pick her up and she’s nowhere to be found, things start to get a little tense.
And so begins the familiar one-by-one blood-harvesting that seems ingrained in the slasher genre, yet arguably this film was one of the first to do it. And all in fantastic seventies style. It also notably features: a snowy tundra sound that continues throughout almost every scene, including, puzzlingly, the inside ones; a fuzzy jacket that looks like a whole fleet of reindeer was sleighed in its production process; a chilling murder/choral sequence sung by what looks like members of the Hitler Youth.
Surprisingly, Black Christmas becomes genuinely tense towards the end, even by today’s horror standards. But it seems, despite the deranged madmen lurking in the sorority house, the real killer is police incompetency. If you wince when the free-to-airs roll out Miracle on 34th Street and Love Actually every year, maybe Black Christmas is more your style.
And if you’re a Horror fan, there’s really no excuse not to attend the Melbourne Horror Film Society screenings. They announced they’ll be coming back next year with bi-monthly double features, and the programing is set to be deliriously horrific. Keep an eye on http://melbournehorrorfilmsociety.org/ or their facebook page for more info on all things bloody and gutsy.