THEN: If you are familiar with this internet meme you know exactly who the muse is for this very special Holiday inspired “Where in the Horror Are They Now?” Of course I am speaking of the man with the eyebrows and the thespian who took over-acting to a whole new level. Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you Eric Freeman.
In the oh-so-bad its good sequel to the controversial killer Santa horror flick SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT (1984) - the appropriately titled SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT PART 2 (1987) - filmmakers brought in this handsome young actor to play a brand new man in a red suit looking to punish the guilty. In the second chapter of this goofy horror franchise Ricky, the younger brother to the original killer, spends nearly the entire time narrating about 40 minutes of flashbacks from the original film until ultimately telling his own bloody business. The actor is Mr. Eric Freeman. His performance could be the epitome of bad acting. With terrible, yet strangely compelling line readings and more eyebrow raises than I ever thought possible, Freeman went nuts playing a psycho Santa.
It is hard to even imagine this over-the-top presentation unless you actually witness it. Certainly it could be that he and director/editor Lee Harry realized full well what they were trying to achieve. That hammy Ed Wood-ian type of horror flick can oftentimes generate a ton of buzz just for the sheer ridiculousness displayed on-screen. The problem is however that the movie is so lazy (using an astonishing amount of footage from SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT in the first forty minutes or so) that there is little doubt they were simply rushing in trying to build on the original features controversy regarding an axe-wielding Santa Claus. With a mere ten days to shoot, they may have just attempted to make the best movie they could with the budget and time they had – listening to the commentary on the DVD that seems to be the case.
Since this awesomely bad performance, Eric Freeman made a handful of television appearances. The more I watch of this dude, the bigger the fan I am. He found work as a buff body builder in the Heather Langenkamp starring sitcom, “Just the Ten of Us” in 1988. He also went on to guest star on “Valerie” in 1990, “Dangerous Curves” in 1992 and finally that same year he appeared on the Wayans Brothers sketch comedy series, “In Living Color.” Considering the infamy that SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT PART 2 brought, the next part of his story is a little surprising… and very strangely mysterious… He simply disappeared…
FULL GARBAGE DAY CLIP!
NOW: I’d love to say that we were able to track Mr. Freeman down and find out his thoughts about the cult following that SNDN2 as well as his performance, have developed throughout the years. Since the film’s release, many of these cheesy horror films have found a second life thanks to home video and YouTube. The trouble is, reading the actors IMDB page is similar to reading one of those “chose your own adventure” books. Some people say they have found him and that he is a youth pastor, others say they know him personally but not much else, and one person was actually trying to call somebody that they think is Eric Freeman, only to be threatened with legal action by whomever it was wife.
Eric Freeman enjoyed (?) a brief career that has spawned a surprisingly impressive cult following. One post on his IMDB page is from gay friendly director David Decoteau who knew Eric and hasn’t seen him for around twenty years or so. Where is Eric Freeman… the man who gave a whole new meaning to “Garbage Day!”? We may never know. And Eric, if you are reading this… a whole new generation of horror movie hounds really dig what you did with Ricky! I for one, salute you! Happy Holidays everybody and don’t forget… DON’T BE NAUGHTY!!!