Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Review: Silent Night, Deadly Night

Silent Night, Deadly Night
Directed by Charles E. Sellier Jr.
85 minutes.
Uncut and Uncensored

"You've made it through Halloween, now try and survive Christmas."

Silent Night, Deadly Night is one of the most notorious horror films of the 80’s. Before the movie was released, the PTA tried to ban it because the marketing depicted Santa Claus with an axe. Regardless, it was still released November 15th 1984. Upon it’s release, Siskel and Ebert (who at the time were notoriously against horror films) gave it a scathing review. On their show they listed off the names of the filmmakers, shaming them after each one listed. Siskel went on to say that all the money earned from this film was “blood money”. The film was released the same day as A Nightmare on Elm Street and managed to outperform the classic, earning #1 in the box office for that week. However, the following week the film was pulled from theaters due to more protesting. Bunch of assholes if you ask me.

Silent Night, Deadly Night is about a boy named Billy who, on Christmas Eve, witnesses his parent brutally murdered in front of his eyes by a psycho dressed as Santa Claus. He and his baby brother are then brought to an orphanage where one of the worst nuns in the history of film tries to raise them like good Christians. She is the fuckin’ WORST! She doesn’t believe in psychology one holy bit, so instead of helping Billy overcome the trauma that he suffered watching his parents murdered on Christmas eve she forces him to celebrate Christmas. He, of course, freaks the fuck out. One day he witnesses some orphans banging the shit out of each other in a room and the evil head nun finds him spying. She runs in the room and grabs a belt and spanks the sin out of the two fornicators. It’s the worst kind of kinky. She proceeds to tell Billy that what they did in that room was wrong and that they deserved to be punished. Well this totally fucks him up even more and by the time Billy turns 18 not only is he scared out of his mind by Santa Claus, he’s got weird sexual problems. On top of it all, the nun put into his head this messed up version of right & wrong and who deserves to be punished.
This penguin is a total bitch

Billy gets a job at a toy store with help from a nice nun (possibly the only nice character in the whole movie). Everything seems fine until on Christmas eve, the toy store Santa breaks his ankle and the manager tells Billy that he has to be Santa Claus for the rest of the day. That's when Billy starts to lose his shit. Once the store closes, the employees celebrate with a little party. After Billy consumes booze for the first time, he witnesses the girl that he has a crush on and an asshole coworker making out. They go into the back room and shit gets real when the dude basically tries to rape her. Billy wanders back there and sees this happening and because of a combination of the booze, the Santa Claus outfit and his messed up feelings about sex, he gets a giant murder boner and kills the would-be rapist. Instead of feeling grateful for Billy saving her, the crush immediately starts calling him a crazy bastard. I just don’t get it. This guy just saved you from getting raped and you’re mad about it? Well, she’s dies and so begins "Billy’s Santa Claus Christmas Rampage ‘85".

This flick is brutal. Throats getting slit, people getting shot, heads being chopped off. There’s a lot of standard slasher film deaths but they are really well done. They best death in the movie is Linnea Quigley’s. Oh, did I not mention that scream queen Linnea Quigley is in this movie? She is and that can only mean one thing: she gets naked. 
She answers the front door topless and is predictably attacked by Billy. She gets lifted up in the air and skewered onto the antlers of a stuffed deer head on the wall. It’s pretty awesome! Billy’s catchphrases when he murders are “PUNISH!” and “NAUGHTY!”. It’s hilarious in a way. He says those two words about a million times* (*a rough estimate) throughout the film. I guess it’s better than “HO! HO! HO!”.

The absolute best part of this movie happens in the very beginning of the movie. Billy and his family go and visit dear old grand dad in the Utah Mental Facility. Grandpa just so happens to be a total nut ball. He also is seemingly comatose. When the family leaves Billy alone with ol’ Gramps, the old coot tells Billy all about Christmas.

Grandpa’s acting in this scene is just phenomenal! That right there makes this movie for me.

Crazed, overprotective mothers didn’t want anyone to see this holiday horror classic and man, they were dumb for trying to do so. This movie is just as great as any of the Friday the 13th movies and should be considered a classic among the slasher genre. The PTA and Siskel & Ebert somehow pushed this movie out of the limelight it deserves but Anchor Bay lovingly restored it to it’s uncut and uncensored glory. It is fantastic. Hopefully you’ve been good all year round and maybe you’ll find this movie in your stocking. Happy Holidays!

-T. Reinert

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