Black Christmas (1974) VS A Christmas Story (1983): A Bob Clark Christmas Movie Faceoff

Valenti Govantes
5 min readJan 1, 2021
Pictured: Disturbing phone calls, bad Santas and an emphasis on eyes, am I talking about Black Christmas (above) or A Christmas Story (below)? Image source: Warner Bros. Discovery.

Bob Clark’s A Christmas Story can considered be a quintessential Christmas classic, but a decade prior, Clark directed a darker Christmas film named Black Christmas. I was shocked when I realized nobody has done an article deciding which one is the better film. I will look at both of Clark’s Christmas classics to see which is the superior film. Both films will be judged based on the following criteria: plot, characters, Clark’s direction, and cultural impact.

Plot

A Christmas Story follows a young boy’s quest to get a BB gun for Christmas. Along the way, he deals with resistance from his parents, teacher, and even a mall Santa Claus on the idea. This plot’s effectiveness relies upon audiences relating to Ralphie’s experiences and drawing connections between his and their own.

Considered to be the first proper slasher film, Black Christmas is the story of a group of sorority sisters who are hunted by a man seemingly named Billy (Nick Mancuso) during the Christmas season. The film’s simple premise keeps the pace going at a fast rate perfect for a horror film.

Both are equally great premises and have been endlessly duplicated in movies and television shows since their respective releases.

Winner: Tie

Characters

A Christmas Story focuses on the characters of the Parker Family consisting of Ralphie (Peter Billingsley), Randy (Ian Petrella), Mr. Parker (Darren McGavin) and Mrs. Parker (Melinda Dillon). Along the way, the film sees Ralphie encountering his teacher Miss Shields (Tedde Moore), friends Flick (Scott Schwartz) and Schwartz (R.D Robb) and a bully named Scut Farkus (Zack Ward). It is interesting to note how nearly every single adult character is made to be way more over the top than the children. This is hilariously displayed in the character of Mr. Parker “The Old Man”, whose quirks such as his fascination with the leg lamp give him a well-rounded personality.

Black Christmas focuses on a group of sorority sisters including Barb (Margot Kidder), Jess (Olivia Hussey), Clare (Lynne Griffin), and Phyl (Andrea Martin). Jess and Clare’s boyfriends, Peter (Keir Dullea) and Chris (Art Hindle)…

--

--

Valenti Govantes

Just your friendly, neighborhood Medium writer. Always open to discussing anything movie or comic book related.