It's not uncommon for directors to have a similar theme or a signature style within their works. It's also not uncommon for film directors to be chameleons and make movies that are vastly different from each other. What's a little less common, and also very interesting, is a director that is able to take the same theme and tell two wildly different stories in different pieces of work. And that's exactly what Bob Clark was able to do with, arguably, his two most famous films.


Clark was a director, writer, and executive producer who was known most prominently for his work in the Canadian film industry, despite being American himself. A few of his productions are still in the running for some of the biggest Canadian films of all time. He's responsible for the cult classic film Porky's, which is cited as a huge inspiration for the American Pie series and the teen sex comedy genre as a whole. But what he's probably most known for is his contribution to the world of holiday season classic movies with two films about the Christmas season, with massively different points of view.

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His first Christmas film came in 1974 and is called Black Christmas. Though it's a bit more of a quiet film, it has a big fanbase in the horror community and was massively influential in the horror genre. His next Christmas project was released in 1983 and is a bonafide holiday classic called A Christmas Story. When watching these two movies back to back, they couldn't be more different despite both being holiday movies. Luckily, they're both incredible movies and worth a watch this holiday season.

Black Christmas

black christmas claire

It's entirely possible that people won't know about Black Christmas, despite there being two recent remakes, because it's a little bit less of a mainstream holiday classic than other films. However, it's massively influential and has helped shape the horror genre as a whole. It's also just in general really ahead of its time and holds up really well for a modern watch.

The story follows a group of college women in a sorority house right before Christmas break is to start. They're being harassed by an unknown caller who spews scary and vulgar things at them over the phone, and one day one of them is missing. Though the characters don't know this, the viewers can see that they're actually being killed off one by one.

Black Christmas was released in 1974, the same year as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre these two films are often credited as being the real start to what audiences will now know as the slasher genre. Of the two, Black Christmas especially has been said to have been a big inspiration for John Carpenter when he was creating Halloween. Halloween is generally thought of as the real father of the slasher genre because though it wasn't the first, it made slashers popular.

Another thing that makes Black Christmas great (for most people) is that it's ahead of its time and in many ways, very feminist in tone. All of the main characters are women and they aren't only there to look pretty, they have multiple conversations that don't revolve around men or relationships. It also offers commentary on abortion issues, and police not taking women's issues seriously.

A Christmas Story

ralphie a christmas story

In the opposite vein of Black Christmas, A Christmas Story is a completely sweet and wholesome movie that many families around the world love for the holiday season. It's a simple movie shown through a series of small vignettes revolving around one specific Christmas season for a boy named Ralphie Parker and his family. It was released in 1983 but is set in the early 1940s.

The small vignettes are narrated by an adult Ralphie, looking back on his memories, and though there are a lot of short stories there is one main plot. Ralphie is on a journey to acquire his dream present for Christmas: A BB gun. It's an interesting movie because it's based on semi-autobiographical short stories from Jean Shepherd, who also was a writing partner of the film and narrates the adult Ralphie moments.

A Christmas Story is a classic and is a must-watch every holiday season for many. It's feel-good and funny with moments appropriate for the whole family, and it just, in general, does an amazing job of putting the viewer in a Christmas kind of mood. Though it wasn't a huge box office hit, it's absolutely gained popularity and lived on through tradition for all of these years. It is also said to be somewhat influential, as the narration style was later used and popularized in the hit TV show The Wonder Years.

There are marks of similarities that go past just Christmas, but they're very minuscule and found mostly within the opening and closing title cards and credits. Besides that, these movies couldn't be more different despite being made by the same person. It's really amazing that Bob Clark could create two films that stand the test of time as Christmas classics for completely separate crowds.

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