I had never heard of this movie before seeing Bravo's "100 Scariest Movie Moments." Olvia Hussey - who stars as Jess - told a story about meeting Steve Martin and him telling her that Black Christmas was his favorite film and he saw it 27 times. After seeing a few highlights, I was very curious to see it. It's been at the top of my Netflix queue for about 4 months. This is a true cult classic, and for good reason. This preceded most of the slasher films, and is one of the great ones, because it's terribly scary without being bloody.
It's a classic slasher setup. A bunch of girls are staying at their sorority house over Christmas and a maniac gets into the house and kills them one by one. And in true horror movie fashion, the first death is the most memorable. The first girl to be killed - in a shocking departure from horror cliches - is the virtuous virgin. There's also an element of the "obscene phone call" setup which would later be used to great effect in When a Stranger Calls.
This is a really great scary movie. Perhaps something that greatly adds to its creepiness is the fact that you never see the killer. You never know who it is, or why he's killing people, and he's never caught. That's extremely unsettling and disturbing, and I think it makes it more successful.
This movie is being remade with Michelle Trachtenberg. I'm not sure why. Remakes, as a rule, are inferior, and horror remakes are more so. They should really just re-release the original. The tag line is so right - "If this movie doesn't make your skin crawl ... it's on too tight!" *shudders* Quite.