Boy this was the movie that had a lot of parents pissed off in 1984. Before the film even came out it came under fire for its tv spots and the poster which depicted Santa going down the chimney with an Axe his his hand. As far as Christmas Horror films go this ones pretty decent. The concept is that as a boy named 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. Understandably worried now about seeing Santa the family leaves to go home and comes 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.
Fast forward to years later and Billy is living in a orphanage and 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. The filmmakers at least make an attempt to make the killing spree he goes on later in life seem plausible. Seeing your parents killed by Santa seems a lot more traumatic than seeing Santa performing oral sex on your mom like the killer in Christmas Evil.
Billy gets older and finds a job at a local toy store and everything seems perfect. In a bad 80’s montage we see Billy stocking shelves, cleaning up, helping little kids reach things, while a bad 80’s “happy song” plays. However Christmas finally comes to the store and Billy is asked to play Santa for the kids. He reluctantly does it and tells the kids that if they’re not good he’s going to punish them.
Christmas Eve arrives and the store closes for a little Christmas party. Billy, still dressed as Santa, see’s the girl 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 impalings, and bludgonings, 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 its still pretty good.
Silent Night, Deadly Night has really become something of a classic Christmas horror movie even with all its failings. Watching it today I wonder if this is where Rob Zombie based his concept of explaining why Michael Myers becomes a psychopath in his remake of Halloween.
Silent Night Deadly Night was followed up by several sequels. The second one is only worth watching for its laughs. I’m really on the fence as to whether it was intentional or not but Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 is hilarious. It features Billy’s little brother Ricky as the killer. The actor playing him is so over the top with the character that its almost bizarre. Every line that comes out of his mouth sounds sarcastic and condescending. He goes on a killing spree while he’s out on a walk with his girlfriend and ends up killing several people just walking outside their houses. You may have seen a clip from this on YouTube which I’ve posted just below which has to be seen to be believed. The other sequels are pretty much crap but Silent Night, Deadly Night is a pretty decent 80’s slasher film and one that I wouldn’t mind seeing remade today.