Originally I was planning to watch these for the Halloween movie marathon only to quickly discover they are eerily hard to get a hold of. I have VHS copies of them in a storage room in a different city, so that was out. The DVDs went out of print years ago, and that did lead to a dark moment where I debated bidding on an eBay auction for them that was sitting around 50 bucks. Thankfully I realized how ridiculous that would be and here we are a few weeks later, with newly printed DVDs selling for 12 dollars. I can’t even imagine how much I would regret that purchase now.
Especially because these movies aren’t very good.
It’s always kind of fun to go back and watch a movie that was considered extremely controversial when it was first released. This is one of those times. People were fucking furious when this movie came out. The idea of a killer Santa is borderline cartoon show material now, but back then people were not pleased. I’m sure you’ve already guessed that it’s incredibly tame by today’s standards, even with the uncut version presented here.
Silent Night Deadly Night opens with our young lead Billy having a particularly shitty Christmas Eve. After his believed to be catatonic grandfather tells him Santa is going to kill him for being naughty, he then witnesses his father being shot by a man in a Santa suit, and his mother is almost raped and then has her throat slit by the same man. Billy sees all of this go down as he hides in the woods nearby so he doesn’t get killed himself. So bottom three Christmas Eves for him easily.
From there we follow him as he is raised in an orphanage and is shit on by the head nun, Mother Superior. Despite all the shit this kid went through, she still makes him sit on Santa’s lap. The kid punches Santa in the mouth, which causes him to go flying as though this was a 3 Ninjas movie. That moment is the highlight of the first half of this movie.
Then as a troubled adult, he is given a holiday job in the stock room of a department store. This has the best part of the whole movie, with an 80’s sitcom style inspirational montage of him working in the store, complete with the boss watching him and nodding satisfactorily. Then he’s asked to be Santa and murders everyone. That part isn’t as inspirational.
It’s kind of cool to have a movie where you know who the killer is right from the opening scene. There are no red herrings or third act surprise twists, this dude is our killer and we are aware of that the whole time. The whole lead-up to why he is a killer isn’t too original, and not all that exciting to be honest. “He’s a killer because his childhood was fucked up”. Way to go against the grain you guys.
I went in expecting this to be goofy fun but it’s surprising just how sleazy and uncomfortable this movie can be. There are at least two rape attempts, and many of the people who die don’t really have it coming. Only a handful of the actual kills are Christmas themed, with Christmas lights and antlers being the two standouts. Most of them are just knives or axes. There is one funny piece of business where two adult bullies steal a sled and are more excited to go sledding than any child on the planet.
You can always tell when the uncut footage arrives because the video quality takes a significant dip. It’s all just extra gore and it’s hard to imagine how tame the movie would be if those extra little pieces weren’t in there. Also they never get into it but this dude is fucking STRONG! He effortlessly lifts people bigger than him with a single hand. Christmas magic I suppose.
Silent Night Deadly Night is ok overall. The Christmas theme does make it somewhat unique and it’s novel to follow the killer for the entire running time. It takes a while to get through all the back-story though and most of that is not very interesting. Watchable, but nothing I’ll be going back to.
The sequel on the other hand….oh god. If you know about this movie then chances are it’s for two words – “GARBAGE DAY!” This is yelled by our killer at a man taking out his garbage, right before he shoots him for no reason. Yes the climax of this film is the killer wandering around a suburban neighborhood broad daylight with a gun, shooting people and doing one of the most stilted laughs you will ever hear.
If you’re familiar with that clip you may think this whole movie is equally silly. Nope, not at all. You see there’s another reason that this movie is infamous. 50% of it is flashbacks to the first movie. Yes sir, the first 40 minutes of this movie features the younger brother of the first movie’s killer, recalling the events of that movie to a shrink. It actually makes watching the first movie completely useless, you could skip straight to this one and would be brought completely up to speed. Of course the flashback angle is fucking ridiculous because a) this character was a baby for a good chunk of the first movie and b) he wasn’t around for 90% of this stuff and there’s no way his brother could have filled him in. Also he gets shit wrong (such as the name of certain characters), which I can’t accept was done intentionally.
So once we’re done being reminded what happened minute to minute in a movie we’ve already seen, we finally get some new material, and it’s almost as boring. So Ricky (killer’s name) kills a couple of people as he is growing up, there’s another rape attempt, and then he gets himself a healthy relationship with a girl before he murders her because she doesn’t like it when he kills her ex-boyfriend by blowing up his eyeballs. That’s when he just walks around shooting people for a while. Then credits.
Aside from an opening piece of text stating that the modern day events are happening on Christmas Eve (and the flashbacks of course) this movie has almost nothing to do with Christmas. There’s no Santa suit or Christmas puns (which actually the first movie was missing as well, what the hell guys?) or holiday themed kills. What a waste.
Something else worth noting is that the actor playing Ricky is awwwwwwful. This may be one of the worst performances I have ever witnessed. He seems like he’s always trying to sound badass but it just comes off as fucking ridiculous. He uses this low raspy voice that I can’t believe nobody in the crew put a stop to. He’s pretty funny to watch, but it’s not enough to make this movie worth watching. Also same as the first movie, he has inexplicable super human strength. Motherfucker shoves an umbrella THROUGH a guy. I can’t imagine that’s easy but this guy makes it look effortless. Also the girlfriend actually says “gulp” right before she’s killed. I almost forgot about those parts actually….yeah maybe this movie’s ok.
But really it’s 50% flashback, 48% terrible and 2% “GARBAGE DAY!” Do not even bother.