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Billy Lenz
Black Christmas
Billy Black Christmas
First appearance Black Christmas
(1974)
Last appearance Black Christmas
(2006)
Created by A. Roy Moore
Bob Clark
Portrayed by Black Christmas (1974)
Bob Clark (form)
Nick Mancuso (voice)
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)
Scott Wilson (as "Eugene")[1]
Black Christmas (2006)
Cainan Wiebe (child)
Robert Mann
Information
Full name Bill Eugene Lenz (2006 mockumentary)
William Edward Lenz (2006 film)
Nickname(s) The Moaner
The Sorority House Killer
Billy
The Prowler
Species Human
Gender Male
Occupation Mass murderer
Serial killer
Family 'Black Christmas' '1974'
Agnes (sister)
'Black Christmas' '2006'
Frank Lenz (father, deceased)
Constance Lenz (mother, deceased)
Agnes Lenz (sister/daughter, deceased)
Unnamed Stepfather (deceased)
Nationality Canadian (1974 film)
American (2006 film)
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Billy Lenz is a fictional character from the Black Christmas series of slasher films. He first appears in Bob Clark's Black Christmas (1974) as a deranged murderer who breaks into a sorority house and begins to make obscene phone calls before killing the college students one by one. In the original film, Billy, referred to as The Prowler in the closing credits, was portrayed by Nick Mancuso and was portrayed by Robert Mann in the 2006 remake of the same name. The character was created by screenwriter A. Roy Moore and has since appeared in two films, a mockumentary and a novelization based on the 1974 film.

The character is the primary antagonist in the Black Christmas film series. While the character remains ambiguous behind his identity and motivation in the 1974 original film, the 2006 remake explores the childhood of Billy and the motivation for his killings.[2][3] Clark's intention was to never reveal what Billy looks like, so in the 1974 film, Billy's physical appearance is never fully shown (appearing only as a silhouette and one exposed eye), while in the 2006 film, his appearance is fully revealed.

AppearancesEdit

Billy made his first appearance in the 1974 original film Black Christmas. In the film Billy, a mentally disturbed man known as "The Moaner", regularly calls a local sorority house leaving disturbing and obscene messages. During one such phone call one of the sorority sisters, Barb, provokes him; he responds by threatening to kill them. The caller then goes on a killing spree, murdering many of the sorority house’s inhabitants.[4] The character later appears in a 1976 novelization of the film written by Lee Hayes.[5] With the police not knowing who the murderer is, Billy makes one more call to Agnes.

Billy later appeared in the 2006 remake of the original film. In the film, the character’s history is expanded, his real name being William “Billy” Edward Lenz (Robert Mann), suffering from severe jaundice due to a liver disease. Although his father loves him, Billy is physically and mentally abused as a child by his mother, Constance Lenz, who blames him for being born.[6] After watching her and her lover (the man who became his stepfather) murder his own father, she locks Billy away in the attic. Attempting to have another child with her lover, he repeatedly falls asleep on the job, frustrating Constance and leading her to rape Billy at age twelve. Although young, and despite the years of abuse, it is implied that Billy becomes aroused when Constance reveals her nude body to him. He then impregnates Constance, leading to the birth of his half-sister and daughter, Agnes. Eight years later, Billy escapes the attic and the two murder their mother and stepfather. Billy then maims, but does not kill, Agnes. Billy is placed in a mental asylum and 15 years later, at age 35, escapes. Billy joins Agnes in attacking the sorority, but both are badly burned by Kelli and Leigh. Billy revives and attacks Kelli, but is pushed over a railing and impaled on a Christmas tree. Billy’s fate is changed in the film’s alternate endings: in one, Billy dies on the operating table, while in another Billy seemingly dies on the operating table only to disappear; the final shot shows Billy peering out of the vents.

CharacterizationEdit

Bob Clark's intention was to never reveal what Billy looked like.[7] Throughout the course of the original film, Billy's appearances are all silhouette, with only a glimpse of his eye being seen just before Barb is killed and when Jess comes face to face with him. Billy is depicted as a verbal, mentally unhinged, mass murderer who says disturbing things incoherently during the phone calls he makes to the sorority house. He is shown to be able to change his voice frequently.[8] Although his physical appearance is not revealed in the 1974 film, in the reboot Billy is shown to have severe jaundice due to a liver disease.[9]

ReceptionEdit

Script error In Shock Value: How a Few Eccentric Outsiders Gave Us Nightmares, Conquered Hollywood, and Invented Modern Horror, Jason Zinoman praised the character saying that, "What really made Black Christmas stand out was the killer, who, despite all expectations to the contrary, the audience never actually sees-except for one shot of his eyes peeking out of the crack in the door to the attic. We know he's up there and that he occasionally comes downstairs to butcher people, but we never know when."[10] In Horror Films of the 1970s, John Kenneth Muir, who criticized certain aspects of Black Christmas for being unbelievable, called Billy an effective villain stating, "the "Moaner" is a really creepy villain. His sick, oddball voice is frightening, and the things he says are downright horrid." He then said that the phone call scenes work because "we've all been plagued by crank callers, and some of us have been plagued by crank callers while in our homes."[11]

ReferencesEdit

  1. [Exclusive] The ‘Black Christmas’ Connection That Will Change the Way You Watch ‘Behind the Mask
  2. The Myth and Reality of Serial Killers in US Cinema. ProQuest. ISBN 0549375333. 
  3. Hantke, Steffen (2010). American Horror Film: The Genre at the Turn of the Millennium. Univ. Press of Mississippi. pp. 112. ISBN 160473454X. 
  4. Bob Clark (1974). Black Christmas (DVD). Canada: Ambassador Films. 
  5. Molgaard, Matt. "10 Horror Movie Novelizations You Might Not Have Known Existed!". https://horrornovelreviews.com/2013/08/18/10-horror-movie-novelizations-you-might-not-have-known-existed/comment-page-1/. 
  6. Glen Morgan (2006). Black Christmas (DVD). United States: Dimension Films. 
  7. Nowell, Richard (2010). Blood Money: A History of the First Teen Slasher Film Cycle. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. ISBN 1441188509. 
  8. Muir, John (2002). Horror Films of the 1970s. McFarland. ISBN 0786491566. 
  9. "Black Christmas movie review". http://doom-generation.com/black-christmas-1974-and-2006/. 
  10. Zinoman, Jason (2011). Shock Value: How a Few Eccentric Outsiders Gave Us Nightmares, Conquered Hollywood, and Inven ted Modern Horror. Penguin. ISBN 1101516968. 
  11. Muir, John (2002). Horror Films of the 1970s. McFarland. ISBN 0786491566. 

External linksEdit

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