Born in New Orleans and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Bob Clark’s early life was one filled with poverty and uncertainty, but he had dreams of being a filmmaker and after studying theater at the University of Miami, he made the move so many do when trying to break into the business.
He started making horror films.
He had a small success with his weird, necromantic Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things before making true horror history with the cult hit Black Christmas.
Starring Olivia Hussey, Andrea Martin, Margot Kidder, and Keir Dullea, Black Christmas is often praised as one of the most important precursors to the slasher genre, and it isn’t hard to see why. It’s holiday setting, beautiful young cast, and hidden killer definitely helped shape the mold others would use for years to come.
The fact that it’s scary as hell doesn’t hurt either.
What many horror fans may not know is that just under a decade later, Bob Clark would make another VERY different Christmas movie that has not only become a classic, but also required holiday viewing for households around the world.
What was it, you ask?
A Christmas Story!
That’s right, the same man who scared the hell out of us with tension-filled obscene phone calls from a deranged killer also gave us Ralphie (Peter Billingsley), the kid in a giant pink bunny suit who just wanted a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas.
Based on the book In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash by Jean Shepherd, A Christmas Story drops us into the life of Ralphie Parker, a kid with a big imagination and an even bigger desire for a his favorite kiddie firearm despite his mother, father, Santa Claus, and his teacher warning him that he’d shoot his eye out.
It was one of the most hilariously dysfunctional holiday movies ever made, and it has a cult following as strong as its creepy Christmas predecessor.
We think it’s time we tried these two films out as a holiday double feature. What do you think?