Christmas, Slasher, Thriller

Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

0 Comments 23 December 2010

Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
Studio:
Tri-Star Pictures
Theatrical Release Date:
November 9, 1984, December 23, 1984 (re-release)
Director:
Charles E. Sellier Jr.
Rated R

by James Klein

Blasted by Siskel & Ebert, picketed by angry mothers, pulled pre-maturely from theaters and even the director received an angry letter from actor Mickey Rooney; the film Silent Night, Deadly Night has earned its reputation as one of the sleaziest slasher films from the 1980’s. The movie still hasn’t lost it’s power to offend either and for those of you looking for the anti-Christmas film, look no further.

Shot in Utah on a low budget, the film opens with eight year old Billy and his parents and baby brother going to visit Billy’s mute grandfather at a psych ward on Christmas Eve. When Billy is briefly alone with Grandpa, Grandpa breaks out of his trance and talks to Billy about Santa Claus and how he is a monster and will come and punish Billy that night. Why Grandpa says this to his grandson is never explained and just adds to the creepiness of the film. One can’t help laugh at the expression on little Billy’s face when Grandpa howls, “Christmas Eve is the scariest damn night of the year!”

On their way home, Billy expresses that he is now frightened of Santa Claus and as the family drives down a dark, empty road they come across a man whose car is broken down and is dressed like Santa. Little does this family know, Santa just shot a convenience store clerk in the head, stealing money from the cash drawer. Santa pulls a gun on the family, wanting the car. When Dad tries to peel out of there, Santa shoots Dad in the face. Billy runs out of the car and hides in the bushes and watches as his mother is molested by Santa and her throat cut. Santa then screams at Billy to come out, taunting him with his bloody switchblade.

As years go by, Billy is tormented by at an orphanage run by Mother Superior who has no tolerance for his fear of Santa Claus. The kind Sister Margaret is able to get Billy a job at a department toy store when he is older and now Billy seems to be getting his life back on track…until Christmas rolls around. When the department store Santa calls in sick, they make Billy as his replacement and soon Billy flips his marbles and is ready to spill some blood for the holidays. Billy first kills a mean co-worker by strangling him with Christmas lights, lifting him up off the ground. A topless co-worker is then stabbed in the chest and gutted. Another co-worker gets shot with a bow and arrow and the owner of the toy store gets an axe to the head. Now Billy is ready to go back to the orphanage to meet with Mother Superior for some revenge.

The death scenes are both incredibly hilarious and extremely graphic as a teen gets his head chopped off while sledding and a naked woman gets stuffed on deer antlers (this scene was edited out of the R rated version but now can be seen in its full glory) There is even a sick scene of Billy whose about to kill a young child but when she declares she was good all year, he instead gives the little girl a bloody knife that he used to kill her babysitter with. The dialogue is also over the top and laughable (“Punish!” is my personal favorite) but that just adds to its sick charm. We even have a music montage at the toy store showing off old Star Wars and Strawberry Shortcake figures. But what really knocks this out of the park is the most offensive scene during the climax where a dying Billy looks at a bunch of frightened children and says to them, “You are all safe now. Santa Claus is dead.”

Followed by four sequels, the original Silent Night, Deadly Night is mandatory viewing for the holidays for those of you with a twisted sense of humor and a strong stomach. The film is best watched with spiked egg nog and a group of friends.

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