John Carpenter’s Halloween bears many similarities to Black Christmas, and it turns out one slasher grandfather directly inspired the other. If there’s one quintessential slasher film that established most of the genre’s tropes, it would be Halloween, the 1978 tale of a masked killer stalking babysitters and their boyfriends in the small town of Haddonfield, IL. However, it’s arguable that director Bob Clark’s Black Christmas should get much more of the credit when it comes to slasher tradition.
Black Christmas is one of those films that diehard horror fans tend to hold in extremely high regard, but most outside that circle likely haven’t even seen. The upcoming Black Christmas reboot will likely turn at least a few new fans on to the joys of the original yuletide fright fest, although they’ll be surprised at what they find, since the reboot looks like an almost completely different film. Halloween, on the other hand, is one of the most famous horror films ever, and gave birth to a franchise that’s still continuing today.
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That said, it’s obvious that if one influenced the other, it had to be Black Christmas doing the influencing, as Clark’s film came out four years before Halloween. In fact, the two horror classics are indeed directly related, in a rather surprising way.
How Black Christmas Inspired John Carpenter’s Halloween
As the late Bob Clark once revealed, years before Halloween materialized, he and John Carpenter were working together on a project that ultimately didn’t pan out. Carpenter had seen and enjoyed Black Christmas, and asked Clark about the potential for a sequel. Clark then relayed an idea to Carpenter in which the killer from Black Christmas would’ve been caught between films, then escape from a mental institution, and head back to the same house to claim more victims. The title for this idea? Halloween.
Before anyone tries to accuse Carpenter of simply ripping off Clark’s idea, it’s important to note that during that same conversation, Clark told Carpenter that he had no plans to do more horror and that the Black Christmas sequel idea wasn’t something he’d actually intended to make. Clark in no way felt that Carpenter stole his idea when making Halloween, and also stressed that the small germ of a plot he passed along to Carpenter was hardly a blueprint for a complete film. Carpenter wrote the script for Halloween, directed it, composed the score, and in Clark’s mind, Carpenter deserved every accolade the film had earned. One does wonder though what the butterfly effect could’ve been if Clark had actually made a Black Christmas sequel called Halloween, as it’s possible Carpenter’s career wouldn’t have taken off like it did, and other great films like The Thing and They Live wouldn’t exist.
Key Release Dates
- Black Christmas (2019) release date: Dec 13, 2019
- Halloween Kills (2020) release date: Oct 16, 2020
- Halloween Ends (2021) release date: Oct 15, 2021
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