Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
Director: Charles E. Sellier Jr.
Robert Brian Wilson/Billy
Lilyan Chauvin/Mother Superior
Gilmert McCormick/Sister Margaret
Billy (Wilson) had it rough as a wee child. He witnessed his mom and pops get diced by a criminal Santa and then got his ass whipped by some old nun at an orphanage (hey, a nun’s gotta relax too!) Now an 18 year old buffed-up young man, Billy is ready to re-enter society and become productive. That is until his X-Mas spirit catches up with him, of course. He imminently dons the Santa suit, gets the axe and shares all kinds of love. SLASH! SLASH! SLASH!
"Naughty..." -- Billy
Not a mouse was peeping when the killer Santa flick Christmas Evil aka You Better Watch Out was released in 1980. But for some reason, when "Silent Night, Deadly Night" was put out in 1984, anal retentive parents (who should’ve been home taking care of their damn kids) actually went out and picketed various theaters in protest of it. In consequence, the flick got pulled out of the cinemas, but thankfully found its audience when it hit video stores in a cut version.
With the holiday crud buzzing in my ear non-stop of late, I decided to hit the uncut version of this genre seasonal offering with a healthy cup of Egg-Knob in one hand and my landlord's severed head in the other. I’m happy to report that I was not disappointed. Talk about wholeheartedly pissing on the X-Mas spirit! YEEHAW! I LOVED IT! This cup of holiday jeers was one hell of a mean-spirited beverage which basically took all of the token pleasant X-Mas imagery we all know and love (or in my case…loathe) and put a much welcomed morbid and twisted spin to them. I could now see why the film peeved all the mommies of the world!
This film started off mucho strong with a spooky ass scene (grandpa is whack!) setting up the tone of what’s to come. After a couple of intense murders, the storyline surprisingly leaped a notch above the usual slasher fare by focusing on the trauma that plagued the young lead in a realistic manner and with an emphasis towards drama. Personally, seeing some insecure kid get a spanking by some old bitch nun bled my heart...I felt that shite! Poor little tyke...cut him some slack! Having said that, the emotional resonance of the film didn’t stay with me for too long, because at about 20 minutes in, Billy turned 18 years old, metamorphosed into a Paul Walker clone, started twitching at the sight of Santa and that was that on that! The tale switched into FULL-ON slasher mode and the games began!
And what a messy game it was! Granted, what followed was a fast-paced yet fairly standard slasher, in terms of substance and narrative twists, but the whole affair was jacked up to a higher plane of existence thanks to the incredible mean streak and heavy misogynistic attitude it displayed throughout. In my bible, this sharp gift took the killing of the female species on celluloid to an all-new disgusting level in terms of cruelty and the amount of nudity that was included during the actual murders. It somewhat disturbed me. And that’s a good thing! It’s a damn horror movie! I wanted to be taken aback and slapped around a bit like Tina Turner in the Ike days! The Ho Ho Ho Holy Shit slaughter found in this asylum kicked by ass all over the freaking place. Talk about brutal fun! OUCH!
On the sucky side, this ride did hit a few bumps along the way. I didn’t care much for the cop and nun sub-plot which in places, interrupted the murder spree. A couple of overly long stalk sequences also slugged things down a bit. I know the flick was trying to build suspense and all, but it didn’t work since I was rooting for the psycho from frame one. Lastly, it’s a tad of a shame that the film dropped all of its smarts early on when it came to Billy. I was actually interested in the lad on a human level (Robert Brian Wilson made that happen with his sympathetic presence) and I wanted to get to know him more. I guess that’s the price you pay to see Santa axe the crowds and throw peeps out of windows. Small price to pay, if you ask me!
So here’s what we got, my sicko friends: lots of plasma, lots of unrepentant violence, lots of chickadee flesh and an unapologetic cruel streak. And it’s all set within a X-Mas setting with holiday music in tow to boot! How can you go wrong? All in all, "Silent Night, Deadly Night" made my night a gnarly one by satisfying the X-Mas Grinch and sadist in me. Time to get the axe and do some seasonal punishing! SANTA IS WORKING OVERTIME THIS YEAR!
Santa has brought us all kinds of neat presents via this uncut cut of the film! We get bullet hits (one in the head), slit throats, a slash in the back, a hanging, a stabbing, a hammer in the head, an arrow in the back, a gross impaling, a chopped off head and an axe in the chest. THANK YOU SANTA! NOW LAY OFF MY COOKIES!
Robert Brian Wilson (Billy) had this blonde hair, apple-pie look to him that did wonders for the dark role. He seemed like such a nice guy and I adored the contrast! I also bought his “off-balance” performance. Lilyan Chauvin (Mother Superior) gave a grounded and very credible show. Did she know she was acting in a slasher? I bought it! Gilmert McCormick (Sister Margaret) did what she had to do adequately. As for Linnea Quigley (Denise), well, she delivered her lines and showed her tits...not much of a part, but nice rack!
T & A
Showing your tits is NAUGHTY, ladies! Don’t you know that yet? We get at least 4 tit shots in here, the bad news is that two of them were during attempted rape/murder scenes. Not fun. We do get a Linnea Quigley breast shot though and I don’t know about you guys, but I love seeing that shite under my tree! The ladies get pumped up Robert Brian Wilson shirtless and a couple of other dudes shirtless.
Charles E. Sellier Jr. delivered the goods via some slick creative shots and camera movements that took me by surprise in terms of the artistry behind them. He also padded things up with a slick use of “white flashes” and slow motion. Money!
There’s nothing like X-Mas songs playing over disturbing and violent images to awake the holiday spirit within me. We get lots of those here! YIPPEE! We also get a score that went from effective to somewhat dated in its tackiness.
As the end credits rolled, I said to myself: “Self, you’ll never look at that bearded fat fuck they call Claus the same way”. Thank you, "Silent Night, Deadly Night" for showing me the true meaning of X-Mas! This well-directed and bitter slasher slayed me with its yowzerl kills, its abundance of TNA, its appealing psycho and the huge gob of saliva it spat at the holiday season. Sure, the film didn’t fully capitalize on its potential when it came to the psychological exploration of the lead’s noggin, but let’s face it, this movie wasn’t and didn’t want to be about that. It was about a Killer Santa doing some human laundry with a big ass axe. Simple as a head job at a car wash! And in that vein, it came through gangbusters. Man, I have to get my grandma to watch this one on X-Mas eve...she’s going to flip out! He He He! MERRY X-MAS ALL! GO NUTS FOR THE HOLIDAYS!
"Silent Night, Deadly Night: Part 2" recycled 40 minutes off the original while the new material addressed Billy’s brother Ricky now grown up and doing his own brand of seasonal slaying.
"Silent Night, Deadly Night: Part 3" featured a walking comatose Ricky (played by Bill Moseley wandering around killing peeps with his brain exposed in a jar on his head). Don't ask…