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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka 'Silent Night, Evil Night' or 'Stranger in the House')

 

directed by Bob Clark
USA 1974

This truly is a classic horror film that acts as a bridge of sorts between the horror movies of old and what was to come in the more modern ones. It is a throwback in that it never reveals many things, such as the killer’s past, their motives, or even shows the killings themselves. It’s all left to you to decipher. But while its means are of the old school, the story is all too modern – a male killer stalking young women, a loved holiday turned violent, and a heroine who must overcome her own fear to survive a madman who seems inhuman. Director Bob Clark creates a feeling of dread that begins as soon as you see the killer ascend the trellis and that lasts well past the film has ended. And as cut and dry as the film could be, as easy as having just a mysterious murderer chasing down nubile teens, Clark complicates things by creating a madman that seems to be living and re-living a secret past which we can only dreadfully imagine, adding a layer to the film that keeps you unnerved. This is a film about the hidden horrors of childhood and the horrors in becoming an adult, never finding a safe place in either world and always on the verge of becoming a victim. Black Christmas is as much a film about the horrors of what a before you as it is about the horror laying within us all, hidden from view but there just the same.

Excerpt from Jackass Critics located HERE

Posters

 

Theatrical Release: October 11th, 19741

Reviews                                 More Reviews                                    DVD Reviews

Comparison: 

Eclectic DVD Dist. (25th Anniversary) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Somerville House (Special Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Somerville House Region 'A' Blu-ray

 

1) Eclectic DVD Dist. (25th Anniversary) - Region 0 - NTSC LEFT

2) Somerville House (Special Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Somerville House - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Covers

Distribution

Eclectic DVD Dist. (25th Anniversary)

Region 0 - NTSC

Somerville House (Special Edition)

Region 0 - NTSC

Somerville House

Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Runtime 1:37:33 1:37:39 1:37:49

Video

1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.83 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.78:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.19 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Feature: 11.9 Gig

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

1:78:1

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate : Eclectic - 25th Anniversay

Bitrate: Somerville (Special Edition)

Bitrate:  (Blu-ray)

NO BITRATE GRAPH FOR Blu-ray YET!

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono) English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital Mono), DUB: French (Dolby Digital Mono) English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital Mono), DUB: French (Dolby Digital Mono)
Subtitles None None None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Eclectic DVD Dist.

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• 2 interviews with John Saxon

• Text filmographies

• Theatrical Trailer (2:10 / 4:3)

DVD Release Date: November 6th, 2001
Keep case

Chapters 14

Release Information:
Studio: Somerville House (Special Edition)
 

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Two newly-discovered original scenes with a new vocal soundtrack
• "The 12 Days of Black Christmas" featurette
• Interview segments with Olivia Hussey, Art Hindle and Margot Kidder
• Midnight screening Q&A with John Saxon, Bob Clark, and Carl Zittrer
 

DVD Release Date: December 5th, 2006
Keep Case

Chapters 36

Release Information:
Studio: Somerville House
Blu-ray

 

Feature: 11.9 Gig

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

1:78:1

 

Edition Details:
• Two newly-discovered original scenes with a new vocal soundtrack
• "The 12 Days of Black Christmas" featurette
• Interview segments with Olivia Hussey, Art Hindle and Margot Kidder
• Midnight screening Q&A with John Saxon, Bob Clark, and Carl Zittrer
 

Blu-ray Release Date: November 11th, 2008
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 36

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Somerville House continues to produce digital versions of Bob Clark's horror classic 'Black Christmas'. This time it's on Blu-ray. Although only being 12 Gig - the feature improves in color and film grain looks very intact. Detail does not appear to dramatically advance from their dual-layered SE from 2006. The biggest bonus over their latest edition is that it is progressively transferred as opposed to interlaced - as both SD-DVDs that we compared below. It is quite probable that a vast increase in the file size, improving compression, may not overly benefit this 35-year old film's presentation on digital. The real star of this new is the grain - if you enjoy that - it is here in abundance. Minor noise still exists mind you but I have a strong feeling that this Blu-ray image looks precisely as it did originally.

NOTE: Alex says (in email) - "What I see in the shots is grain plus a very heavy amount of macro blocking. The bitrate was set way too low for a film with this much grain. You should have mentioned that. That they only used less than half the available space on the Blu-ray is a crude mastering error or oversight. There is no reason to cap the bitrate that much." (Thanks Alex!)

Dan says (in email): "Perhaps if he (Alex) looked at uncompressed bmp or tiff screenshots then he wouldn't see the heavy macro-blocking, which is actually jpeg compression in your screens. Black Christmas was professionally encoded and QC'd and as you know is about as good as it will look. There is no Macro Blocking in this release. It was a two pass VBR that took about 16-20 hours to encode. regards Dan" (thanks Dan!)

 

Aside from the improvement in the image - there is nothing really new. Audio has the same options and I noted no radical separations in the 5.1 although a few rear speaker experiences were noted. There are still no subtitles offered.

Although extras are the same as the SE - on this Blu-ray they are all in 1080P - even the 4:3 interviews.

Bottom line - I think you'd have to really love film grain and be a big fan of this, the original 'Black Christmas', to feel it being worthwhile indulging. Of course, if you haven't seen the film or don't own the SD, then this may be more appealing to horror aficionados. It remains a bona-fide chiller of a film and the high-definition presentation gives you reason not to be alone in the house during your viewing.

Eric says: 'Re: BLACK CHRISTMAS, its too bad that with the extra space on a Blu-Ray disc (especially with the too-low bitrate here) that they did not work in the two commentary tracks (one by Bob Clark, the other edited from separate sessions featuring John Saxon and Keir Dullea) from the earlier non-anamorphic widescreen release and the other extras on that release." (Thanks Eric!)

***

ON THE SD-DVDS: The Eclectic DVD release from 2001 used the 'negative' ratio where the new Somerville House Special Edition uses the intended theatrical ratio of 1.85 (cropped slightly for anamorphicity at 1.78). You can see how much information you were missing with the Eclectic edition (and its not much) but more importantly the new Special Edition offers us the film in its intended theatrical ratio - certainly an important benefit. The new release is also brighter, but I suspect it has been artificially induced. Hence you can see some differences in the colors. Neither are progressively transferred (see last capture) but the 'combing' on the SE is finer and less intrusive - still this is a black mark on the DVD image quality. Artifacts are visible on both and I wouldn't say the newer release is extensively sharper at all. The older release is on a single layered disc and the new is dual layered.

The new SE offers far more supplements and they are fairly interesting for this campy cult favorite. I saw it fairly close to the time it was originally released and it's a film that definitely stays with you. Its reputation is deserved and it's is worth a spin when you are in the mood. 

Gary W. Tooze



DVD Menus

(Eclectic DVD Dist. (25th Anniversary) - Region 0 - NTSC LEFT vs. Somerville House (Special Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC RIGHT)

 

 
 
 

 


Screen Captures

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

1) Eclectic DVD Dist. (25th Anniversary) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Somerville House (Special Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Somerville House - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Eclectic DVD Dist. (25th Anniversary) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Somerville House (Special Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Somerville House - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Eclectic DVD Dist. (25th Anniversary) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Somerville House (Special Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Somerville House - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Eclectic DVD Dist. (25th Anniversary) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Somerville House (Special Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Somerville House - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Eclectic DVD Dist. (25th Anniversary) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Somerville House (Special Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Somerville House - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Eclectic DVD Dist. (25th Anniversary) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Somerville House (Special Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Somerville House - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Eclectic DVD Dist. (25th Anniversary) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Somerville House (Special Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Somerville House - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

NOTE: Both SD-DVDs are interlaced...

 

 


More Blu-ray captures:

 

 

Box Covers

Distribution

Eclectic DVD Dist. (25th Anniversary)

Region 0 - NTSC

Somerville House (Special Edition)

Region 0 - NTSC

Somerville House

Region 'A' - Blu-ray


Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Somerville SD / Blu-ray

Extras: Somerville SD / Blu-ray
Menu: -

 


 



 

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