Most of you will think of The Philadelphia Flyers when you hear the name Bob Clark. Sure it has a slightly different spelling to the Bob that I mean but you could be forgiven for imaging the sportsman over the Late film director. The Bob Clark that I mean should have got a lot more credit than he did for creating a genre in film. Instead, Bob was taken from this earth in horrific circumstances that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
Bob’s first Foray in to film was a horror piece released in 1972 – Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things and although it was not widely received, it did not prevent him from making, in my opinion, one of the best horror films that I have seen to date. That Film was Black Christmas and it literally started the slasher theme that has embedded itself in horror films today.
Black Christmas, a Canadian film, done well at the box office when it was released; it netted nearly $4 million from a budget of Little over $620,000. Despite the profit it wasn’t widely accepted and received mixed reviews from critics, some of who asked the question of what the point of this film was. Years later Black Christmas was released again under a different name to pretty much the same reception. It wasn’t until years later that it got a cult following and bumped it’s way to the top of my list of all time favourite horror films.
Everything about Black Christmas is fresh and it is easy to see where many horror films borrow their techniques from – John Carpenter’s Halloween being the most prominent. Unfortunately for Bob Clark, his vision is not given the credit of creating the genre of slasher films and this is criminal. Instead, Halloween has a right of passage to the top and it seems somewhat unfair that something made so many years earlier would be forgotten by many.
Bob Clark later went on to make a very successful B-movie by the name of Porky’s which is also considered a cult classic, not to mention his later credit for A Christmas Story. Bob had the bad luck of making films that were not widely received by critics on release but have since gained a notorious status in the world of Cinema. It is never the case that you can say that somebody is responsible for 3 cult films within 3 separate genres. This alone deserves credit and this is why I respect Bob Clark a lot more than most film makers.
Sadly, I will never have a chance to meet this genius and this makes me sad. On April 4th 2007, Bob and his son were in a motoring accident that ended both of their lives. A twice deported, drunken, illegal immigrant that also held no driving license ploughed in to their car and ended their lives far too soon.
Here’s to Bob and his near-perfect horror film – Black Christmas.