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Black Christmas (originally titled Silent Night, Evil Night in the United States) is a 1974 Canadian slasher film produced and directed by Bob Clark, and written by A. Roy Moore. It stars Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, Andrea Martin, Marian Waldman, Lynne Griffin and John Saxon. The story follows a group of sorority sisters who receive threatening phone calls and are eventually stalked and murdered by a deranged killer during the Christmas season.

Inspired by the urban legend "The babysitter and the man upstairs" and a series of murders that took place in the Westmount neighborhood of Montreal, Quebec, Moore wrote the screenplay under the title Stop Me. The filmmakers made numerous alterations to the script, primarily the shifting to a university setting with young adult characters. It was shot in Toronto in 1974 on an estimated budget of $620,000, and was distributed by Warner Bros. in North America.

Upon its release, Black Christmas received mixed reviews, but it has since received critical re-appraisal, with film historians noting it for being one of the earliest slasher films. It is also praised for its influence on John Carpenter's Halloween (1978). Aside from its earning a cult following since its release, a novelization written by Lee Hays was published in 1976. The film is the first film in the Black Christmas series, being followed by two remakes in 2006 and 2019. The film has since received retroactive recognition and has been regarded as one of the greatest horror films ever made.

Plot

An unseen man climbs the exterior of a sorority house, where a Christmas party is being held, and enters the attic. The house phone rings, and Jess answers to discover it is an obscene phone call from a person who has called before. Jess calls the other sorority girls and they listen as the caller rants in strange voices. Barb insults the caller, who, in turn, promises to kill her. A younger student, Clare Harrison, suggests that the caller could be dangerous before returning to her bedroom. The intruder suffocates Clare with a plastic dress bag and moves her body to the attic.

The following morning, Mr. Harrison arrives to pick up his daughter, but she fails to show. Jess explains to her boyfriend Peter that she is pregnant and planning to get an abortion, angering Peter, and they agree to discuss it later. In town, Mr. Harrison attempts to report Clare as missing. At the police station, they learn that a young local girl has also vanished while walking home from school.

After putting a drunken Barb to bed, Mr. Harrison, Chris, Jess, and Phyl help search for the missing girl. Meanwhile, the housemother, Mrs. MacHenry, discovers Clare's body and the killer throws a crane hook into her face, hanging and killing her Later the killer has a meltdown in the attic destroying everything. In the park, the missing girl's disfigured body is found by the police. Jess answers another obscene phone call and decides to file a report with the police, only for Peter to surprise her. He attempts to persuade her into marriage, but she refuses and reaffirms her decision to have an abortion. Peter leaves angrily while Lieutenant Fuller arrives with a telephone lineman to bug the phone.

After the police leave, the killer murders Barb with a glass figurine. Jess experiences another unnerving phone call, in which the caller restates her argument with Peter. Lieutenant Fuller calls her to say the attempt to trace the call failed, and theorizes that Peter could be responsible, but Jess doubts this. Phyl is murdered next.

Jess gets another phone call, in which the killer alludes to some sort of transgression between two children named Agnes and Billy. The call is long enough to be traced, and Sergeant Nash instructs Jess to leave the house immediately, as the calls are coming from within the house. Concerned for Barb and Phyl, she ventures upstairs, where she discovers Barb's and Phyl's bodies. The killer appears and pursues her; Jess locks herself in the cellar, only for Peter to appear outside one of the windows. He smashes the window and enters the basement.

The police arrive and hear Jess screaming; they discover her barely conscious in the basement with Peter's bloody body next to her. Believing that Peter was the killer, they put Jess to bed in her room and leave her alone in the house, with a cop standing outside. The killer's voice is heard from the attic, implying that he is still alive. The still-undiscovered bodies of Clare and Mrs. MacHenry are seen through the attic window before the house's telephone begins to ring, leaving Jess' fate ambiguous.

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