“Could that really be just one person?”
A disturbed killer stalks a group of sorority sisters — including Olivia Hussey, Margot Kidder, Andrea Martin, and Lynne Griffin — over the Christmas holidays.
Response to Peary’s Review:
Expertly shot, edited, and scored, this “atmospheric chiller” — featuring a “sympathetic performance by Hussey, and strong direction by Bob Clark” — is now widely acknowledged as the forerunner of such iconic slasher films as John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978). Indeed, though it may seem filled with cliches of the genre (i.e., the killer calling from within the house, point-of-view camera work from the killer’s perspective), it was seminal in bringing such tropes to the screen. Certain subplots and performances fall completely flat — I could do without Marian Waldman’s irritating portrayal as the girls’ imbibing house mother, for instance — but there are more than enough thrills and surprises here to scare the pants off most viewers (including me). As Peary notes, the “twist ending is a bit frustrating”, but Clark does a nice job keeping us on our toes as to the identity of the “insane murderer”. Be forewarned that the killer’s phone calls (remastered after filming to add even more obscenity) really are disturbing.
Note: In the years since Peary’s book was published, this film has become a true cult classic for horror fans, even meriting a fan website.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Many genuinely freaky images and sequences
- Carl Zittrer’s creepy score
Yes, as a cult classic of the genre.