Black Christmas has enjoyed a bar­rage of home video releas­es, both DVD and blu-ray, over the last decade or so.  These releas­es were fan-friend­ly, each usu­al­ly hav­ing its own unique bonus fea­tures but the trans­fers tend­ed to be quirky in var­i­ous tech­ni­cal ways (check Mondo Digital for a full his­to­ry).  Thus, it’s a well-loved film that blkchr-bluhas nev­er real­ly had an all-around strong pre­sen­ta­tion up to now.  Scream Factory has stepped in to take their crack at this title and the result is its best home video treat­ment to date.

For starters, you get two trans­fers: an old­er HD trans­fer from the film’s pre­vi­ous blu-ray incar­na­tion and a new 2K trans­fer drawn from the neg­a­tive.  The new trans­fer is the way to go, offer­ing a much-improved image with rich black lev­els, a nice lev­el of detail that cap­tures the vin­tage cel­lu­loid look and vivid col­ors.  Lossless 5.1 and 2.0 stereo options plus a mono track are includ­ed for this trans­fer.  The 5.1 fares best here, offer­ing taste­ful sur­round effects that don’t detract from the dia­logue.

Fans who haven’t bought the ear­lier discs will be hap­py to learn this is a mega-set that cap­tures the vast array of extras from edi­tions past in one pack­age — and throws in a few new items, to boot.  Read on for a break­down of the­se volu­mi­nous extras…

Commentary Track 1: This track is a solo ven­ture with direc­tor Bob Clark.  He takes the scene-speci­fic approach, dis­cussing the cast, sto­ries from the shoot, the moti­va­tions behind var­i­ous direc­to­ri­al choic­es and how he might do some sce­nes dif­fer­ent­ly today.  Worth the lis­ten for film­mak­ers and laced with some neat triv­ia, like the orig­i­nal choice for the role played by Andrea Martin.

Commentary Track 2: This track fea­tures actors John Saxon and Keir Dullea.  It sounds like it was cob­bled togeth­er from sep­a­rate record­ing ses­sions but it works pret­ty well.  Both actors dis­cuss how they got their roles and offer some com­men­tary on their act­ing choic­es and Clark’s direc­to­ri­al tech­nique.  They also talk about what their careers were like around the time of this film, which results in a bit of inter­est­ing Enter The Dragon chat from Saxon.

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Commentary Track 3: this is an “in char­ac­ter” track with Nick Mancuso reviv­ing his role of “Billy” to com­ment on the film.  That said, the track isn’t designed to be hor­ri­fic: instead, it’s more of an exper­i­men­tal humor track with Mancuso riff­ing on the film as Billy.  More of a curio that any­thing else but fans might find it inter­est­ing.

Commentary Track 4: not a full track per se, but a radio inter­view with Clark that fills the first 26 min­utes and thir­ty sec­onds of this track.  Clark fields stan­dard ques­tions on the film but there’s some inter­est­ing bits about A Christmas Story and the Black Christmas remake.

Art Hindle Interview (26:11): the first of two new inter­views on this set has the actor run­ning through his mem­o­ries of the film.  It cov­ers a lot of his famil­iar tales — like rehears­ing the Keir Dullea role with Olivia Hussey, an anec­dote about Bob Clark’s film­mak­ing prowess — but he adds some new mate­ri­al.  It’s inter­est­ing to hear his obser­va­tions on what the Canadian film scene was like in the ‘70s and he even breaks out his famous fur coat from the film.

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Lynne Griffin Interview (26:35): the oth­er new sit­down chat fea­tures the film’s first vic­tim, a vet­er­an Canadian actress who jokes about his his­to­ry of play­ing vir­gins and vic­tims.  Like Hindle, she goes through famil­iar sto­ries (her tem­pera­men­tal cat co-star, Clark’s play­ful jokes on set) but also has some inter­est­ing thoughts about var­i­ous sce­nes and ele­ments in the film.  She clos­es with a nice trib­ute to the sad­ly depart­ed Clark.

Black Christmas Legacy (40:22): a ret­ro­spec­tive piece on the film that mix­es par­tic­i­pants (Griffin, Hindle and Clark all appear here, along with Margot Kidder, Olivia Hussey, etc.) as well as a series of crit­ics and fans, includ­ing one-time Fangoria hon­cho Chris Alexander and Canuxploitation expert Paul Corupe.  It’s very much an appre­ci­a­tion on the film, with much dis­cus­sion of how it intro­duced plot ele­ments and tech­niques like POV cam­er­a­work that would become key ele­ments of the slash­er film.

40th Anniversary Panel — Fan Expo 2014 (18:02): Hindle, Griffin, Nick Mancuso and John Saxon all appear in this video­taped Q&A ses­sion from a Canadian film fes­ti­val, with Corupe serv­ing as mod­er­a­tor.  The par­tic­i­pants tell a lot of sto­ries you’ll hear else­where but their cam­er­aderie is fun to observe.

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On Screen — Black Christmas (49:41): excel­lent episode of a Canadian T.V. show that is devot­ed to the his­to­ry of the film.  Clark is the key play­er in this piece and it’s the best at cov­er­ing the mak­ing-of aspects of the film. The result offers all sorts of inter­est­ing details, like what Clark added to the script, how Clark’s idea for a sequel inspired John Carpenter to make Halloween and a spirit­ed defense of the film as a pro-wom­an hor­ror movie.  Saxon, Dullea and oth­ers also appear here.

12 Days Of Black Christmas (19:48): a fea­turet­te nar­rat­ed by Saxon, who also appears in the piece alongside Hussey, Hindle and Griffin.  All offer mem­o­ries of the shoot and appre­ci­a­tion for the film and Clark.

Black Christmas Revisited (36:25): a ret­ro­spec­tive piece that inter­cuts Hindle and Griffin con­duct­ing a humor­ous tour of the film’s house loca­tion with cast and crew inter­views.  There’s some real­ly good stuff with Carl Zittrer here about the film’s score and sound design and it’s fun to watch the rap­port between Hindle and Griffin, who have a lot of fun clown­ing around here.

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Archival Interviews (1:41:30): a fea­ture-length reel of inter­views with Hussey, Hindle, Kidder, Clark and Saxon.  These are the uncut ver­sions of the chats used in sound­bite form on the oth­er fea­turettes on this set.  The Kidder and Saxon chats are real­ly reward­ing for fans as they get more room to speak freely here: Kidder in par­tic­u­lar has a lot of inter­est­ing things to say about her ear­ly career.

Midnight Screening Q&A (20:21): Clark, Saxon and Zittrer make an appear­ance after a hol­i­day screen­ing at Los Angele’s NuArt the­ater in 2004.  Topics cov­ered include the remake, the “Billy” voice and the score.  In a par­tic­u­lar­ly amus­ing bit, Clark offers his frank opin­ion of When A Stranger Calls, a film that bor­rows a key plot device from Black Christmas.

Two Scenes With A New Soundtrack (3:06): two brief extracts from the film’s open­ing and close that appear here with new ele­ments from an unused ear­ly mix of the film.  The bit from the clos­ing is par­tic­u­lar­ly haunt­ing.

Other Extras: English and French trail­ers, t.v. and radio spots, alter­na­tive title sequences and an ani­mat­ed pho­to gallery

To read Schlockmania’s film review of Black Christmas, click here.