What better way to celebrate the most heart-warming holiday season with a heart rate competition between two of our most beloved Christmas horrors. Well, one beloved Christmas horror and a polarizing remake. We’ve recruited a test subject to monitor both the original Black Christmas (1974) and Black Christmas (2006). Do the classic scares stand the test of time or does holiday horror need a makeover every quarter of a century?
For this competition we equipped our test subject with a professional grade, hospital certified heart-monitor to record real-time measurements of her heart-rate, oxygen intake and stress levels. (FearScale reports on Heart-Rate monitoring but at times will take into account story structure, acting and plot to draw conclusions about physiological responses when compiling results)
Test Subject: Leah
Fears: Ghosts / Eyeball Gore
Resting HR: 62 bpm
Walking HR: 75-80 bpm
Black Christmas (1974)
It’s time for Christmas break, and the sorority sisters make plans for the holiday, but the strange anonymous phone calls are beginning to put them on edge. When Clare disappears, they contact the police, who don’t express much concern. Meanwhile Jess is planning to get an abortion, but boyfriend Peter is very much against it. The police finally begin to get concerned when a 13-year-old girl is found dead in the park. They set up a wiretap to the sorority house, but will they be in time to save the remaining sorority girls?
Black Christmas (1974) Analysis:
A couple of respectable peaks close to 80bpm were all the film could muster during the first half of monitoring. However the film slowly established an unknown presence on the other end of the line which set our subject up for a high climb toward the finale. The scale above shows a few quick intense scenes filled with slow moving interludes which in the end dropped the average heart rate overall.
Black Christmas (2006)
Billy, an abused and neglected boy, witnesses his mother and her lover kill his father before being locked in the attic. When he is a teenager, he is sexually abused by his mother and she has a baby girl called Agnes. During Christmas, the deranged Billy escapes from his imprisonment, kills his mother and stepfather and blinds one eye of Agnes. He is declared insane and his sister is sent to an orphanage. In the present day, Billy escapes from the Clark Sanatorium to spend Christmas with his family. Meanwhile, his former home is the Delta Alpha Kappa sorority and the house is preparing for Christmas. When three sisters vanish, the others begin to realize they may not be alone…
Black Christmas (2006) Analysis:
For a test subject with an aversion to eyeball gore this film was the perfect pairing. The shocking scenes hit quite often allowing only a few periods of rest. A more modern film style can be seen on the scale above playing toward a generation with less attention span than subjects may have had in the past. Each gory scene seemed to jolt our subject’s numbers progressively higher until reaching the impressive peak HR 94bpm during an intense chase.
Our data gathered during these monitoring sessions proved to be a compelling study in film production. The lack of backstory or gore in the original tended to be less scary upon first viewing but buried itself within our subjects psyche days after viewing. Whereas the remake dumped on a heavy dose of shocks and dramatic sequences to raise her heart-rate significantly but once the film ended was highly forgettable despite winning our Holiday Heart Rate challenge.
The good news when viewing either one of these films is you can still burn off more calories than a single serving of your favorite Christmas treat. (As long as you steer clear of the Eggnog!)
Candy Cane: 50 Calories
Gingerbread Cookie : 158 Calories
One Glass of Eggnog: 223 Calories