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Tag Archives: classic horror

Black Christmas

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Image credit: Black Christmas, 1974

If nothing else, 2022 is the year I overcame my aversion to scary movies. Although I still wouldn’t call myself a “fan”, I’ve nevertheless grown to appreciate vintage horror for its humor, style, and great practical effects. So rather than watch the newer iterations of this week’s Black Christmas (Disc/Download), I’m going back to the original slasher flick of 1974.

If you’ve ever heard the phrase, “The call is coming from inside the house,” well then, you can thank Black Christmas for putting it into the lexicon. This Canadian film starring Olivia Hussey and Margot Kidder is like a vintage Scream, with gaudy lights, shag carpeting, and a lot of booze. Just before Christmas break, a serial killer targets a sorority house, making obscene phone calls, watching and waiting to make his move. There are several long, tense sequences of the killer stalking his prey, followed by murder scenarios that are thematically pretty gruesome, if not visually. Overall, I enjoyed this movie immensely because it’s just so weird and funny in moments where one would expect the opposite. I’m not going to have nightmares of a dead sorority girl covered in plastic, holding a creepy baby doll; I’m going to have nightmares about her patterned curtains.

One of the best things about Black Christmas is house mother Mrs. MacHenry, or “Mrs. Mac” to her friends. She’s got all kinds of exciting hiding places for her liquor, including hollowed out books and a toilet tank! Let’s give a proper toast to the woman who’s always “hanging around”, or better yet, make it a eulogy. While watching Black Christmas, I recommend drinking this Macintosh apple riff on a Dark & Stormy- a Mac Attack.

Mac Attack

1 1/2 oz Largo Bay Apple Spiced Rum

1 oz Apple Cider

1/4 oz Lemon Juice

1 dash of Angostura Bitters

Ginger Beer

Dried lemon slice

Combine rum, apple cider, lemon juice, and bitters in a shaker with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into a glass filled with fresh ice. Top with ginger beer, and a dried lemon slice.

I applaud a film that keeps me guessing, and Black Christmas managed to surprise me right through to the end. Sure, there were plenty of moments where I yelled at the dumb girl on the screen, but the truth is, none of us can predict how we’d react in scary situations. I like to think I wouldn’t move closer to the closet where I’d just heard a strange noise; that I would instead run away like a normal human with a shred of self-preservation instincts, but who knows? All I’ll say is, if I go missing, check the attic. Cheers!

Rosemary’s Baby

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rosemarys baby

Image credit: Rosemary’s Baby, 1968.

Cute dresses, weird jewelry, and Ruth Gordon’s funky hats- THIS is how you get me to watch a horror film. Like a spoonful of sugar helping the medicine go down, the costume and production design of Rosemary’s Baby (DVD/Download) make it palatable (dare I say, enjoyable) to a scary-movie neophyte like me. If you haven’t seen this classic film yet, stop what you’re doing and go watch it right now.  You’ll thank me later.

More than a horror film, I consider this picture to be classic suspense. Rosemary, played brilliantly by vintage-pixie Mia Farrow, is married to a handsome, feckless actor when they move into a storied New York City apartment building. Their neighbors, played by Ruth Gordon and Sidney Blackmer, are old, very creepy, and secret occultists. Rosemary is drugged and raped by the devil while a bunch of naked senior citizens (AND HER AWFUL HUSBAND) stand by and watch, then she’s unknowingly forced to carry the spawn of Satan for 9 months. There are not enough words in the English language to fully convey how much I hate Rosemary’s husband, who makes her think he violently raped and clawed her up, instead of the devil in her dream. Because that’s somehow okay??? I’d say Rosemary needs a divorce attorney.

How, you ask, do Rosemary and her husband get pulled into this coven’s orbit? By that great social icebreaker, a cocktail party. Their strange neighbors serve up cocktails and terrible cake made of god-knows-what. Devil’s food? (Sorry, I had to). While you watch Rosemary’s Baby, I recommend drinking this Vodka Blush cocktail, straight from the Castavet’s fabulous apartment.

Vodka Blush

2 1/2 oz Vodka

½ oz Lime juice

½ oz Grenadine

Sprig of Rosemary for garnish

Mix vodka and lime juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until cold, then strain into a chilled flute. Slowly top with grenadine, and garnish with a sprig of rosemary.

Vodka Blush

While I definitely had one tense night of sleep where I woke up expecting Ruth Gordon to be standing in a corner with too much lipstick and a lime green feather boa, this movie didn’t exactly scare the bejeezus out of me. I attribute this mainly to the relatable performance by Mia Farrow, Roman Polanski’s incredible direction, and an enviable 60’s wardrobe. I can only hope her maternity dresses will come back in style for the rest of us. Not that I’m planning on getting pregnant with the spawn of Satan, but they’re the perfect camouflage for a belly full of cocktails and queso. Cheers!