At a time of year when most people are looking forward to Christmas, I am looking forward to another joyous occasion, yes that's right, the first EVER UK release of 'Black Christmas'. The film makes it's debut on Region 2 DVD on the 8th of December and by way of celebrating, I interviewed my friend Dan Duffin, webmaster of www.itsmebilly.com, the worlds foremost authority on all things 'Black Christmas' and the driving force behind the new DVD.
When did you first hear about, and see Black Christmas and why are you so passionate about it?
When I was about 8 years old my parents took me out to Canada for a month. We were thinking about emigrating at the time. When we returned (around July 82) they were showing a season of Canadian Horror films on TV. My Dad videotaped Black Christmas from the TV at my mum's request. I managed to see the tape the next day, not even knowing what the film was. After I first saw it I was completely blown away (this at age 8 or 9 years old). In the following weeks I watched it so many times, my dad decided to record over it, figuring a little too late that it wasn't healthy for me to be so obsessed with Black Christmas.
I searched for many years for the film in the UK, but could not find a copy anywhere, or even find anyone who had ever seen it. I finally managed to obtain the film again from the internet, after seeing Monte Philip Cohen's website talking about the film. It's fair to say I was a happy boy when the first VHS US import dropped on my door mat.
How did the idea for the website www.itsmebilly.com come about?
Well I had originally been inspired by Monte Cohen's site, we exchanged a few emails, and then his site was taken down from the internet and he disappeared along with it. I searched for a long time for Monte, but didn't manage to find him. In the meantime the lack of a "BLACK CHRISTMAS" Online presence disturbed me, so I set about creating ITSMEBILLY.COM to gain the film its rightful place as NO.1 Slasher film.
How did the region 2 DVD release come about, and how did you get involved?
Well it's kind of difficult to give some of that information away, I basically called them and told them who I was. They were immediately interested and gave me a very warm welcome.
Tell us what to expect from your special feature 'And All Through the House'.
Well, "And all through the House" is a very low budget extra that we put together to sit alongside the Critical Mass documentary. It features footage shot at the house and a brief audio commentary by me running over the top. It's a fun feature and one that's exclusive to the UK DVD.
Now I know that you have actually visited the house where the film was shot. Can you tell us what the actual house was like, and what it was like to walk through it?
Well I'm going to let my mini feature on the DVD do the talking here. You guys will just have to go and buy a copy.
Hold your breath for terrifying 'Black Christmas'.
Tell us your thoughts on the much rumoured sequel. Do you think it would be a good or bad idea?
That all depends on how the material is handled and how much creativity is left as well as the talent involved. I wouldn't like to see the film fall in line with conventional Hollywood Scripts, i.e. always a happy ending. Black Christmas should do what it says on the tin. "Paint a dark portrayal of the other side of Christmas." which of course the original pulls off to perfection.
Have you met any of the cast or crew?
Yes I have. I met up with Nick Mancuso who plays the voice of Billy. An extremely accomplished actor and a credit to Black Christmas. You can see a picture of us on my website.
What is your favourite scene and why?
Personally, I love the scene when we are outside the house at night, and Peter comes into frame, He stands and looks at the house for a while, before taking a seat on the bench opposite. It's an eerie scene.
Does it annoy you that everyone gives Halloween credit for doing what Black Christmas did first?
Well Yes and No. In many ways I kind of like the cult status that Black Christmas carries. If it had the fanbase of Halloween then I`d be just another fan of "that" film. Where as now, I can be the one fan who brings Black Christmas the attention it deserves slowly and surely through my website. A little selfish, Yes. But I`m kind of protective over Black Christmas as I`m sure you've noticed by now.
Tell us a bit about your plans for the future with regards the site and future projects etc.
Well, that all depends on the feedback I get from the visitors to the site. You guys tell me what you want from Itsmebilly.com in the coming months? :)
"Thank you ever so much for taking part in this interview Dan,
and we wish you the best of luck in the future with 'Itsmebilly.com'."
Visit Dan's fantastic Black Christmas website "Itsmebilly.com" website here: Itsmebilly.com