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Crime News Homicide for the Holidays

Did 'The Vampire Rapist' Inspire The Holiday Horror Hit Film 'Black Christmas'?

The 1979 horror classic "Black Christmas," which has been remade twice over the past few decades, tells the story of a killer stalking a sorority house.

By Becca van Sambeck
Black Christmas Trailer 1

This article was updated to reflect the 2022 season of "Homicide For The Holidays."

How to Watch

Catch up on Homicide for the Holidays on Peacock or the Oxygen App.

The holidays may be billed as the happiest time of the year, but there's no denying they can sometimes have a darker, more disturbing side.

That's made evident in Oxygen's series “Homicide for the Holidays,” which has new episodes airing Friday, October 7 and October 14 at 9/8c on Oxygen. Past episodes have included a New Year's Day slaying, a Christmas massacre, and a gunman dressed as Santa Claus.

Holiday crimes have always fascinated us. The 1974 cult classic horror movie, "Black Christmas" has its roots in a true crime, for example. In the film, college students are getting ready for a Christmas party at their sorority house — until they start getting picked off one by one by a mysterious, shadowy figure. All the while, they're tormented by disturbing phone calls.

What is the true story it's based on? 

The screenwriter behind "Black Christmas," Roy Moore, was partially inspired by a popular urban legend at the time, according to a 2019 ScreenRant article: you know, "Babysitter and The Man Upstairs." The basic conceit of the story is a babysitter is tormented by creepy phone calls — and eventually finds out from police the calls are coming from inside the house. This influence is pretty obvious: After all, toward the end of the film, one of the young women, Jess, is horrified to be told by police that the caller harassing them is inside the home with her.

Moore was also inspired by a series of murders in Montreal years earlier, according to a segment on the 2008 Blu-Ray edition of the movie, CBC reported in 2019. Some have determined he was referring to Wayne Boden, a serial killer nicknamed "The Vampire Rapist" due to his habit of biting his victims. He killed five people from 1969 to 1971.

However, during a 2020 interview with Nick Mancuso, the actor who played the film's villain "Billy," The Daily Telegraph reported the Canadian murders in question were actually referring to a 14-year-old boy, who killed several of his family members in the Westmount neighborhood of Montreal in 1943. That seemingly refers to a killer named George Webster, but little information about this crime is available today.

Either way, the legacy of "Black Christmas" lives on today.

For more holiday horror, watch “Homicide for the Holidays,” which has new episodes airing Friday, October 7 and October 14 at 9/8c on Oxygen.