|BLACK CHRISTMASTHE ORIGINAL|
The remake of the 1974 film serves as a companion piece to 'Ready or Not' in re-examining gender dynamics within the genre.
[This story contains spoilers for Black Christmas, Ready or Not and Hustlers]
Horror has long been a space to talk about femininity and gender, whether it's the overt abortion allegory of 1974's It's Alive or the role of the final girl in countless slashers. 2019 has been particularly pointed in how the horror genre uses gender to critique issues affecting women today, and this weekend'sBlack Christmas, a loose reboot of the 1974 Bob Clark-directed sorority horror feature, caps a year that saw a number of films looking at the horrors women face, and their desire to stand up and fight for their rights.
Where the original Black Christmas dealt with sexual harassment and a side plot on abortion, director Sophia Takal and co-writer April Wolfe's take is a pointed critique of today's culture. Their leading lady, Riley Imogen Poots, is a student of Hawthorne College and is a rape survivor. While Riley is still suffering the effects of her trauma, the college has moved on, with the administration not believing her claims and only her sorority sisters and a few others standing in solidarity with her.
Screenwriter Wolfe has said that the movie was inspired by the confirmation hearings of Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court justice accused last year of committing sexual assault as a teenager. It's easy to see this influence reflected onscreen. The fraternity at the center of the movie is one with roots deep in the founding of America. Riley's friend Kris Aleyse Shannon brings up that the founder of Hawthrone owned slaves and his statue, once the centerpiece of the campus, has been removed due to cultural sensitivity. As Riley and her friends are set upon by the frat, it's discovered that their power comes from the statue itself. This blending of the mystical and the historical also popped up earlier this year in the film filmReady or Not. That film also involved a final-esque girl, played by Samara Weaving, being hunted by her rich in-laws.Ready or Not | Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
The family at the center of Ready or Not also have its wealth and, by extension, its power, gifted to them through magical means. The family patriarch effectively sold his soul to a man named Mr. Le Bail who granted him money and prestige. In return, anytime a family member gets married their spouse must “play a game.” Weaving's Grace is the new initiate tasked with surviving a game of hide and seek and, like the women of Black Christmas, realizes that being a woman means she's perceived as lesser. In the world of the rich, powerful, and male, she will always be the sacrificial lamb. So when her husband, a man going presumably against his family and willing to throw away money for love, ultimately turns on...
Bill Murray‘s appearance as himself in Zombieland is one of the greatest cameos of all time. It’s so perfectly Bill Murray, and the way it ends is truly worthy of a chef’s kiss. However, before the Ghostbusters star was confirmed to make the cameo, there were several other versions that were considered. In fact, the original draft had Patrick Swayze making the big cameo with a ton of references to his greatest movies from the 1980s, and some serious shade thrown at one of the favorites.
Zombieland co-writer Paul Wernick took to Twitter to release the script pages with Patrick Swayze’s cameo. But there are some things you need to know before you start reading. In this draft of the script, Woody Harrelson‘s character Tallahassee was originally named Albuquerque, Jesse Eisenberg‘s character Columbus was called Flagstaff, and Abigail Breslin‘s character Little Rock was Stillwater. But Emma Stone‘s character was always Wichita.
So there you go, and here are the pages:
The scene plays out much differently than what we got with Bill Murray, mostly because Patrick Swayze is actually a zombie in the scene instead of pretending to be one to assist in his survival. However, this zombie seems a little more reserved and tricky since he takes the time to fake out Flagstaff by sneaking up on him while he’s messing with the pottery wheel from Ghost.
Speaking of which, the placement of the characters has totally changed. In the final cut of the movie, it’s Jesse Eisenberg and Abigail Breslin’s characters who are watching a movie starring Bill Murray while Woody Harrelson and Emma Stone are the ones who encounter him first. But with Patrick Swayze, it’s Woody Harrelson’s character who shows Abigail Breslin the movie Road House, and Jesse Eisenberg and Emma Stone are the ones who encounter zombie Patrick Swayze.
Plus, unlike the outpouring of love that Tallahassee gives Bill Murray in the theatrical cut of Zombieland, the Patrick Swayze scene has the character still fuming that the man he loved in The Outsiders and Red Dawn stooped so low as to shake his ass in Dirty Dancing. Apparently he never forgave him, and once the time comes to kill Zombie Swayze, all four of the characters have a movie for which they feel he deserves to be punished, and that’s that.
Unfortunately, co-writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick weren’t ever able to offer Swayze the chance to take this cameo because around the time it would have been sorted out, the Red Dawn star had just started his fight with cancer. This would have been one hell of a farewell role, but then again, it might have been a little bittersweet since Swayze died just one month before Zombieland was released in theaters. I’m willing...