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Black Christmas

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    94
    from 5 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Scream Factory's 4K release of 'Black Christmas' dazzles, enriching a horror classic with stunning visuals, restored audio, and ample extras. Essential.

    Black Christmas 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

    True 4K
    HDR10
    Dolby Vision
    DTS-HD MA
  • Video
    93
  • Scream Factory's 4K Blu-ray of Black Christmas, sourced from a new 4K master, impresses with superior detail, colors, and Dolby Vision, outshining all past releases.

  • Audio
    92
  • The release features vastly improved English 2.0 Mono and 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio tracks with restored dialogue and effects, offering a more immersive and clearer sound experience for 'Black Christmas,' with optional English SDH subtitles.

  • Extra
    97
  • This comprehensive Scream Factory release of 'Black Christmas' is a horror aficionado's dream, packed with insightful commentaries, archival interviews, and restorative efforts that illuminate the film's production and enduring legacy, ensuring its frightful appeal endures.

  • Movie
    90
  • Black Christmas (1974), a trendsetting horror classic, gets a 4K release packed with features and hailed for its influential suspense and chilling atmosphere.

    Video: 93

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray presentation of "Black Christmas" by Scream Factory marks a significant upgrade from all previous home video releases. Capitalizing on a new 4K scan from the original camera negative and enriched with Dolby Vision HDR, this release showcases an impressive leap in visual fidelity. The original 35mm film, shot by cinematographer Reginald H. Morris using Panavision PSR R-200 cameras, has been meticulously preserved, presenting the movie in its intended aspect ratio of 1.85:1, while also incorporating the vintage Warner Bros. logo to signal its authenticity. Despite the inherent grain and darker scenes that have historically challenged digital conversions, this Ultra HD debut balances grain distribution splendidly and offers sharp, clear images complemented by deep blacks and a widened color gamut that breathes life into both indoor scenes and outdoor Christmas lights.

    The upgrade is most notable in its handling of black levels and shadow details, which now exhibit more nuance and depth, avoiding the muddy appearance seen in earlier releases. Colors are balanced and natural, avoiding oversaturation, and respecting the original cinematography's color temperatures. Enhanced dynamic range allows for richer contrasts, particularly in darker scenes where improved shadow gradience adds to the visual depth. This release also benefits from improved image stability and fluidity, eliminating frame judder and achieving a smoother presentation throughout.

    Scream Factory's meticulous approach to this 4K UHD release respects the film's cinematic roots while leveraging modern HDR technologies to offer a definitive viewing experience. Grain remains present, as per the original film stock's character, yet it contributes to the film's authentic, vintage feel without compromising clarity. This release underscores Scream Factory's commitment to preserving film history in the highest possible quality, making "Black Christmas" not only a holiday horror classic but also a showcase for the potential of 4K restoration to respect and enhance original film elements.

    Audio: 92

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Black Christmas" features an audio presentation that includes two major tracks: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono and English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, both at 48kHz and 24-bit, with optional English SDH subtitles. The restoration of these tracks has markedly improved the audio quality from previous releases, offering a richer, cleaner sound profile. The Mono track, in particular, has seen a significant enhancement in clarity, balance, and the interaction of effects and music. Dialogue, music, and sound effects have been meticulously restored, removing past changes to the film’s soundtrack and reinstating missing elements, thus greatly improving the audio experience without any noticeable technical anomalies.

    The restoration work, crucially, was conducted without access to original stems, a challenge that has been met with ingenuity and dedication. This absence might have been a severe handicap; however, the result is an impressively faithful remastering, especially evident in the 2.0 DTS-HD MA Mono track. The fidelity of dialogue and musical dynamics has been substantially boosted, transforming what was once a mediocre auditory experience into a compellingly immersive one. Carl Zittrer’s moody score benefits from this treatment as well, with enhanced depth and a fuller soundstage presentation that adeptly complements the film's atmosphere.

    Choice between the mono and 5.1 surround tracks largely comes down to personal preference, each offering its unique advantages. The restored Mono track provides a tight, claustrophobic ambiance that heightens the film’s terror, making it a standout choice for purists and those seeking an intimate audio experience. Conversely, the 5.1 DTS-HD MA variant displays a flair for enveloping atmosphere and more dimensional sound during the film's busier scenes, potentially offering a more engaging experience for home theater enthusiasts. The inclusion of both tracks ensures an enriched viewing experience suited to varied tastes and setups, with the revamped audio quality making "Black Christmas" more hauntingly visceral than ever.

    Extra: 97

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray extra presentation of "Black Christmas" offers a comprehensive and detailed suite of special features that are sure to delight fans and scholars of the genre alike. From the technical insights provided in the commentary tracks—featuring perspectives from director Bob Clark, actors John Saxon, Keir Dullea, and Nick Mancuso (in character as Billy)—to the meticulous restoration processes detailed in "Black Christmas - Restoring the Sound," this release offers an unparalleled deep dive into the creation and legacy of this horror classic. The archival interviews and documentaries shed light on the film's production, its impact on horror cinema, and the intricacies of its sound and visual design, making it clear that the team behind this release has left no stone unturned in celebrating the film's legacy. With everything from restoration featurettes to in-depth interviews and even novel in-character commentary, this presentation strikes an ideal balance between entertaining and informative, catering to both die-hard fans and newcomers to the slasher genre.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Audio Commentary with Director Bob Clark: Insights into the film's creation.
    • Audio Commentary with Actors John Saxon and Keir Dullea: Actors share their experiences.
    • Audio Commentary with Billy (Actor Nick Mancuso): A unique, character-led perspective.
    • Audio Interview with Director Bob Clark: Deep dive into the genesis of the film.
    • Black Christmas - Restoring the Sound: Detailed look at sound restoration.
    • Newsprint Ad Gallery: Collection of original news ads.
    • 2006 Critical Mass Version: The remastered 2006 version of "Black Christmas."
    • Film and Furs Remembering Black Christmas: Actor Art Hindle reminisces.
    • Victims and Virgins Remembering Black Christmas: Actress Lynne Griffin shares her experiences.
    • Black Christmas Legacy: Discusses the film's enduring appeal.
    • 40th Anniversary Panel at FanExpo 2014: Reunion panel footage.
    • On Screen!: Black Christmas: Examines the film's conception and impact.
    • 12 Days of Black Christmas: Production insights.
    • Black Christmas Revisited: Focus on production, with crew interviews.
    • Archival Interviews: With key actors and Bob Clark.
    • Midnight Screening Q&A: Post-screening session with cast and composer.
    • Two Scenes with a New Soundtrack: Alternate audio discoveries.
    • Trailers: Original English and French language trailers.
    • Original TV and Radio Spots: Promotional media spots.
    • Alternate Title Sequences: With music.
    • Image Gallery: Promotional materials collection.

    Movie: 90

    Bob Clark's "Black Christmas," originally released in 1974 and now reissued in a stunning 4K Blu-ray/Blu-ray presentation by Scream Factory, remains a pivotal cornerstone in the slasher film genre. This horror classic, celebrated for its atmospheric tension and groundbreaking narrative techniques, has been influential in shaping the direction of horror cinema, particularly impacting John Carpenter and his work on "Halloween." Despite its age, the movie's ability to engender unease, through both its chilling narrative involving a group of sorority sisters terrorized by an unseen assailant over Christmas and its moody, unsettling soundtrack, endures effectively.

    The film’s presentation on 4K UHD enhances its atmospheric horror and claustrophobic settings, making every shadow and eerie phone call feel more sinister. The technical specifications of this release, including its region-free accessibility and optional English SDH subtitles, cater to a broad audience, ensuring that both connoisseurs of classic slasher films and new viewers can appreciate its craftsmanship. The inclusion of supplemental features such as exclusive programs with audio restoration specialists and multiple archival interviews add depth to the viewing experience, enriching the audience’s understanding of its production and enduring legacy.

    "Black Christmas" stands not merely as a precursor to the slasher genre but as a film that takes itself seriously, avoiding the pitfalls of becoming campy or clichéd over time. Its serious tone, combined with innovative direction and a haunting soundtrack by Carl Zittrer, creates a unique environment that elevates the narrative beyond typical genre confines. Through compelling storytelling, riveting characters, and masterfully crafted suspense, "Black Christmas" ensures its place as a trendsetting and influential work in horror cinema, setting the stage for the myriad of slasher films that would follow in its wake.

    Total: 94

    Scream Factory has once again set a high benchmark for 4K UHD Blu-ray releases, this time with their meticulously crafted three-disc set of "Black Christmas." Bob Clark's seminal horror classic, which has long been recognized as a trendsetter for the slasher genre, receives a remarkable makeover that truly brings its atmospheric terror into the limelight. While the film's original straightforward cinematography posed challenges for high-definition formats, this release showcases an impressive commitment to quality, featuring a new Dolby Vision transfer that revitalizes Clark's visionary direction. The audio restoration, now available in both fully restored 5.1 and 2.0 Mono options, ensures that every whispered threat and eerie phone call is as chilling as it was intended. Furthermore, the inclusion of comprehensive bonus materials—both new and archival—adds immense value, offering exhaustive insights into every facet of this iconic film.

    The deliberate efforts to enrich "Black Christmas" with a robust 4K presentation underscores not only the film's historical significance but also Scream Factory's dedication to preserving and enhancing genre-defining works. The leap from their previous Blu-ray release is notable, emphasizing advancements in visual and auditory restoration that will undoubtedly captivate both long-time fans and newcomers to Clark's dark holiday masterpiece. The addition of exclusive, hours-long extra content makes this edition a veritable treasure trove for enthusiasts seeking to delve deeper into the movie's legacy and its pivotal role in shaping the horror genre.

    In conclusion, the 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Black Christmas" by Scream Factory is an exemplary model of how classic films should be treated in the modern digital age. Through exceptional attention to detail in both visual and auditory restoration, coupled with a generous assembly of supplementary features, this collector's edition not only pays homage to Bob Clark's genius but also enriches the viewing experience manifold for horror aficionados. It's an essential addition to any serious film collection and comes highly recommended for those looking to immerse themselves fully in the chilling thrills of this Christmas-time horror staple.