Ironically, Halloween started as a Christmas horror movie

John Carpenter's Halloween was originally a sequel idea for a great Christmas movie, though it was a much bloodier one than Love Actually.

Halloween could have been a Christmas movie sequel

There’s a long-established link between horror movies and the holiday season. Something about the endless joy of Christmas seems to lend itself to bloodshed and darkness. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and all that. The connection is so clear, in fact, that one of the best horror movies ever – John Carpenter slasher Halloween – could have been a sequel to the festive classic Black Christmas.

Black Christmas, of course, was a terrific example of the slasher genre, a few years before Halloween came along to make it truly popular. It might be on the verge of turning 50, but Bob Clark’s sorority house bloodbath still stands among the best horror movies ever made. And Clark explained that, while working with John Carpenter, he inadvertently inspired Halloween – one of the best movies of all time – and its ferocious killer Michael Myers.

“He asked me if I was ever going to do a sequel [to Black Christmas] and I said no. I was through with horror. I didn’t come into the business to do just horror,” Clark told Icons of Fright.

The director added: “[Carpenter] said: ‘Well what would you do if you did do a sequel?’ I said it would be the next year and the guy would have actually been caught, escape from a mental institution, go back to the house, and they would start all over again. And I would call it Halloween.”

Jamie Lee Curtis might never have faced Michael Myers in Halloween if it wasn't for Black Christmas

Four years after Black Christmas changed the game for new movies in the horror space, Halloween came and changed it again. But Clark was very clear that he doesn’t think Carpenter ripped him off at all when setting the tone for the best slasher movies to come throughout the ’80s.

“John didn’t copy Black Christmas. He wrote a script, directed the script, did the casting. Halloween is his horror movie and besides, the script came to him already titled anyway,” said Clark.

“He liked Black Christmas and may have been influenced by it, but in no way did John Carpenter copy the idea. 15 other people at that time had thought to do a movie called Halloween, but the script came to John with that title on it.”

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Whatever the genesis of Halloween, there’s no doubt that Carpenter pushed the slasher genre into the mainstream with his tense masterpiece. But we think there’s plenty of room for Black Christmas too, and Clark’s film deserves to be revisited as one of the unsung heroes of the early slasher wave.

It’s one of the best Christmas movies around, if your family can tolerate something more gruesome than Love Actually or The Holiday.

For more great horror, check out our guide to watching the Halloween movies in order and find out about our picks for the best John Carpenter movies. You can read our Halloween Ends review to see how it all concluded or explore the dark side of Christmas further as we explain why Keira Knightley’s other Christmas movie is really bleak.