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The Story Behind the Missing Scenes in the ‘Black Christmas’ Remake

Ten years ago, Black Christmas spread holiday fear at the box office.

It may not pop up on many “Best Remakes” lists, but Glen Morgan’s 2006 re-imagining of Bob Clark’s Black Christmas is a film I personally have a whole lot of love for – so too does Jess Hicks, who wrote a piece in defense of the remake back in 2014. Granted, the film was undoubtedly a bastardization of the original – Billy is freakin’ yellow?! – but as its own movie, it’s a damn fun flick that totally nails the Christmas theme. While the original is a scary and suspenseful masterpiece, the remake is a gory slasher that feels ripped out of the ’80s, and I love it for that.

After revisiting Black Christmas 2006 (Black X-Mas, if you prefer) this past weekend I found myself digging for info and fun facts about the movie – among other things, I learned that it was marketed as a Final Destination sequel over in Japan! – and I was reminded that the original theatrical trailer was home to some pretty memorable moments that never actually ended up appearing in the film itself. They weren’t in the theatrical cut, they’re not in the unrated cut, and you won’t even find them in the DVD’s deleted scenes section. What gives?!

First off, let’s revisit that original trailer.

What’s that? You don’t remember a scene on a frozen lake wherein a woman reaches her hand through the ice? And that spinning Christmas light killing machine isn’t ringing any sleigh bells either? There’s a good reason for that. Because neither scene is anywhere to be found in any cut of the movie. And it wasn’t that those scenes were cut from the film after the trailer was put together, as is often the case with scenes that appear in trailers but not in the actual movies. Rather, those scenes were shot specifically for the trailer, after filming had wrapped.

Weirder still, they were shot behind Glen Morgan’s back. And he wasn’t happy about it.

Speaking with Chris Vander Kaay and Kathleen Fernandez-Vander Kaay for the recently released book Anatomy of Fear, Morgan detailed the whole story.

The guy who played Agnes was a focus puller named Dean Friss. After the movie was finished, we got a call from Weinstein’s marketing guys about going to pick up some shots for TV spots, ornaments and stuff. So I said, “Okay, go ahead,” being a good sport. I get a call from [Friss] about being in LA shooting some stuff for the TV spots. He was telling me something about carrying a gun. So I looked into it and they shot footage of Michelle Trachtenberg running around with a shotgun, and there’s a weird lawnmower electric light thing on the roof. So if the audience sees that and likes it, they go to the movie and don’t see it. And if they don’t like it, they don’t go to the movie. I’m sure it was against guild rules, and I didn’t understand.

Most of the scenes shot for the trailer feature young actress Jillian Murray (Cabin Fever 3: Patient Zero), who didn’t actually appear in Black Christmas at all; that’s her falling off the roof, tangled in Christmas lights, and that’s also her in the aforementioned frozen lake scene. As for the scene of Michelle Trachtenberg wielding a shotgun that Morgan references in the book, that was only used for a TV spot that I wasn’t able to track down – in the spot, she aims the shotgun at someone ringing the sorority house’s doorbell and says, “Merry Christmas, motherfucker!

Morgan talks openly about his troubles with Black Christmas in Anatomy of Fear, revealing that it didn’t really even end up being his movie. The Weinstein brothers, he says, had their hands all over the film, insisting that he increase the violence, the silliness, and even change the original ending. The two killers (Billy and Agnes)? That was also their idea, rather than Morgan’s:

I felt that a ten million dollar movie of Black Christmas didn’t need anyone’s help, and they should have left us alone. But they had to have the two killers, and then they were after kids from “The O.C.” We compromised a lot.

Are you a fan of the Black Christmas remake? Sound off below!

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COMMENTS

31 Comments
  • Andrew Lyall

    I’m glad you liked it. I think it’s complete garbage.

  • Jay

    I do watch it every year around the holidays. It’s decent enough but very strange. Was not a fan of the two killer concept and the hospital ending felt tagged on/rushed. Cast was decent and was shot well. Just the script needed a bit of work.

  • J Jett

    John, i too love this movie. i own it on DVD and re-watch it usually once a year as well. it’s a guilty pleasure type of deal but it also has genuinely good things about as well (the cast, the gore and most definitely the gorgeous cinematography). i admit i was pissed that the very cool looking scenes in the trailer weren’t in the actual film nor were they included in bonus features. i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again, THE WEINSTEINS FUCKING SUCK AND ARE THE WORST THING TO HAPPEN TO THE HORROR GENRE EVER.
    i still don’t understand how it’s legal to intentionally false advertise a movie. food products can’t get away with false advertising (claiming “eat this product and you’ll lose 100 pounds in 1 week!” when it clearly will not do that) so how is it that movies ARE allowed to do this. if i remember correctly the Weinscums did the same thing (not as egregious) with PIRANHA 3D (some scene in the trailers weren’t in the actual film).

  • This is one of the best guilty pleasure slashers ive ever seen, the cast is phenomenal. I MEAN KATIE CASSIDY AND MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD IN THE SAME MOVIE? Cmon guys, even Michelle and Lacey. The use of these modern iconic actresses may have been a bit wasted (the off screen kill inside the car, i mean really?) But that doesnt mean the kill count isnt impressive. I enjoyed the gore in this film and wish there was more like this in the year 2016. But thats a shame about the scenes used for the trailer only. I feel like the spinning trap would have been one of the most memorable deaths in the movie had they thought of it before filming was over.

    • J Jett

      i always wondered what exactly Billy did to MEW in that car that cause the EXPLOSIVE blood spray on the windshield. lol.

  • Calum Sanderson

    It’s a shame it wasn’t a fun experience for Morgan but I hope he knows it entertains a good handful of us horror fans regardless of the shit he clearly had to put up with.

    • OmarComin’

      It’s not about his ego. It’s about the people consuming the product.

  • Screamz

    Yeah, definitely a guilty pleasure I watch every year after I’ve watched the original. It’s awful, yet so very entertaining. Get with a bunch of friends and just laugh and have a good time. Then get scared silly with the original…

  • DarkBree

    It has been a long since the last time I saw it, but I remeber liking it mainly because of the cast.

  • ArmitageX

    I don’t think it’s a very good movie, but…I always find myself watching it this time of year. It’s not a patch on the masterful original, but…man, is it ever great to look at. Every frame just oozes “Christmas!” I think that’s what I appreciate about it most, even though the plot is just a total mess.

    • Aaron Johnson

      That’s one of the best things about it, it has atmosphere in spades. I just wish it held together better. I love the addition of the Blizzard, the set design, the cast. It had potential.

      • ArmitageX

        I could not agree more.

  • aFriendlyAgenda

    I was never into Black Christmas,
    but I heard that John Carrpenter was not above stealing the babysitter/women threatened shtick from that movie?

    • aFriendlyAgenda

      Although he would reverse it, and created one of the first women surviving a horror movie?

  • lonestarr357

    It still blows my mind that the same guy could be responsible for the stylish, underrated Willard remake and this mountainous pile of shit. What a waste of a lovely cast.

    • The Drucifer

      Willard is fantastic

  • Trisha Tachanawa

    One of my favorite guilty pleasure films. I remember seeing it for the first time, my bet was Michelle would be the final girl, but I was introduced to the awesome Katie Cassidy instead. The entire cast was great, but it always sucks when you hear a director state that they didn’t really get to make the film they wanted.

  • lupe

    The Weinstein’s should have been stopped. And I thought Platinum Dunes was bad.

    • Aaron King

      They ruined a lot of potentially great films. I will never forgive them for Hellraiser: Bloodline.

  • Kyle Ord

    I was always really let down the Christmas light killing thing wasn’t in the movie. It was my most anticipated part!!!!

    Really let down by it

  • Hash-Slinging Slasher

    I’ll never forget the experience of watching this with a rowdy crowd packed in a sold out theater. Laughing at all the wrong times, groaning at all the cringe-worthy lines and broken logic. You could actually FEEL how bad the movie was.

    • Javi Simon

      Good bad movies are the best to watch with a rowdy crowd lol.

  • Nahuel Benvenuto

    this is called FAKE ADVERTISING and it should be punible by law

    • punible?

      • OmarComin’

        I’ll have what he’s smoking.

  • richp_91

    I enjoyed it. I liked the cast and the gore. Looked pretty too!

  • Andrew Thompson

    I absolutely fucking despise this movie, even on its own merits(or…”merits”). But I was cognizant of the BTS troubles, so it was an uphill battle for me even ignoring that it’s a remake. Which was easy because I’m usually not bothered by them.

    The ice skate kill was funny, though.

  • Javi Simon

    Funny how some movies make you say, “damn, that was 10 years ago,” while others make you say: “damn, that was only ten years ago?” this one rings the latter. Never really loved the remake, nor did I hate it. It was a descent movie to watch when it came out. I remember seeing it in theaters on my own (saw a lot of horror movies in theaters alone at the time lol). It’s been long enough that I wanted to give it another shot especially this time of year … but you gave away the ending.

  • Halloween_Vic

    I liked the remake, hell of a fun slasher film. Gonna watch it this weekend it’s been a couple years.

  • Sweet Reaper

    I’m in the minority of people who actually enjoy this one and still watch it every year at Xmas. I’m not saying it doesn’t have MAJOR flaws but it’s a fun watch. I’m not surprised the TWC hand their fat greasy fingers all over this movie and it’s a shame that we will never get the Director take and vision on the film.

  • marklola12 .

    nah did not like it at all BUT I loved Sorority Row which flopped bigtime but I found it pretty good

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