Christmas Horror Movies: Silent Night, Deadly Night
For those too young to remember to who weren't even born yet, Silent Night, Deadly Night was the movie that the parents hated! The commercials and poster featured and Ax wielding Santa that simply enraged parents groups. There were protests all over the country which is pretty shocking to think about today. Our society has become so desensitized that I doubt a killer Santa film would garner so much as a raised eyebrow today.
Once you get past the hype the Silent Night, Deadly Night is one of the best Christmas Horror flicks made but its also has a by-the-numbers slasher plot. As a boy, Billy and his family are visiting his grandpa at a retirement home. Grandpa seems non-responsive to the world around him until he's left alone with Billy and then he goes ape shit crazy ranting about how Christmas is the scariest night of the year because Santa is coming to punish the bad kids. Billy is now Understandably worried now about seeing Santa but promises his Grandpa that he'll be a good boy. But fate has other plans for Billy and his family.
On the way home the family come across a broken down car in the road driven by a man in a Santa suit. Of course this is the same Santa that just finished robbing a liquor store and killing the sales clerk. Billy starts to freak out telling his parents to drive on but they don't and Santa kills his parents while Billy runs away and hides in the bushes watching. Only Billy and his baby brother Ricky survive.
Fast forward to years later and we find Billy & Ricky are living in a orphanage and Billy is still terrified of Santa. It doesn't help that the Mother Superior tries forcing him to sit on Santa's Lap or that he's witness to the Mother Superior beating two kids for having sex while she screams about how naughty they are. The filmmakers at least make an attempt to make the killing spree he goes on later in life seem plausible.
Billy gets older and finds a job at a local toy store and everything seems perfect. In a bad 80's montage with horrible Randy Newman type music, we see Billy stocking shelves, cleaning up, helping little kids reach things, smiling at customers, and getting to know the store hottie. However Christmas finally comes to the and Billy is asked to play Santa for the kids. He reluctantly does it and tells the kids that squirm or complain that if they're not good he's going to punish them while their parents look on and comment how great he is with their kids.
Christmas Eve arrives and the store closes for a little Christmas party. Billy, still dressed as Santa, see's the hottie he's had a crush on get attacked by one of his co-workers and he snaps. He kills everyone that works at the store and heads out on the town. We're given some decent creative kills here Billy does decapitations, antler impaling, and some bludgeoning, All the while screaming "NAUGHTY!". Christmas morning Billy heads back to the orphanage to kill Mother Superior but is stopped by a local detective before he can finish the job. The ending leaves a lot to be desired and there could have been some more killings in there too but for a typical 80's slasher film it's still pretty good.
Silent Night, Deadly Night has really become something of a classic Christmas horror movie even with all its failings. As with many slasher films of the time it became a franchise spawning 4 sequels. The second film is horrible by any standard but features a bizarre killing spree by Billy's little brother Ricky. He's ridiculously sarcastic and says really stupid things before shooting people while walking down a suburban street. It may be worth the watch just for that. Parts 3, 4 and 5 have been out of print for some time but were just a week ago reissued on DVD. I'll be reviewing them next week for HauntedHouse.com.
5.5 out of 10 bloody axes
- Henry Northrup