Silent Night, Deadly Night

It’s once again that time of year when families gather around the warm glow of the television and watch such holiday classics as It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story, Home Alone, and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation to name a few.  Sure, your pals here at Critical End! watch those too, but when the hour grows late, the fire has died down, and the kids from Ryan’s third marriage have all gone to bed, that’s when the real Christmas fun begins.  Logan mixes his “special” eggnog (Ingredients: Eggnog, mostly booze), while Ryan warms up the DVD player for those holiday slasher films known as Silent Night, Deadly Night.  This year, in honor of the birth of Christ our savior (Okay, and the release of Parts 3 to 5 on DVD), we thought we’d let Logan share his opinion on each film in a special 5 part series each week until Christmas. 

silentnight1This week Logan looks at Silent Night, Deadly Night.

Body Count: 13
Best Death Scene: Death by impaling on a stuffed antelope’s horns?  Count me in!

Silent Night, Deadly Night is the cult slasher that was so highly offensive that, get this, C.A.M.M. (that’s Citizens Against Movie Madness in case you were wondering) decided that they needed to boycott its 1984 theatrical release.  Several “concerned” parents felt that the image of Santa with a bloody ax was going too far.  Hell, they even got Hollywood legend Mickey Rooney to join their letter writing campaign to TriStar Pictures (Never mind the fact that Rooney himself would later star in Part 5).  Want to know the kicker?  All of this worked.  That’s right, after two weeks in only a handful of theaters, Silent Night, Deadly Night died a quiet death.  Luckily, it was the early ’80’s and people were enjoying the spoils of a rather new gadget called VCRs.  It was here that the film really took off, quickly selling close to a million copies on VHS and becoming a cult hit.

So was all the uproar really worth it?  Yes, actually.  This movie is pretty damn gory, full of needless nudity, and, truth be told, rather fun.  It opens on Christmas Eve 1971 with 5 year old Billy and his newborn brother Ricky accompanying their parents to visit their crazy old Grandfather.  Crazy old Grandfather warns them that they better run when they see Santa tonight, but do they listen?  No, because he’s crazy and old.  On the way back home the family happens to run into a maniac dressed like Santa who shoots the father and rapes the mom in front of the two kids.  Outraged yet, Mickey Rooney?silentnight2

Needless to say, Billy grows up hating Santa and working at, of all places, a freakin’ toy store.  It’s also the only toy store that I’ve ever seen with easy access to a huge fire ax (It’s located next to the board games and stuffed animals).  Well, we all know what happens from here.  Through a series of events (mostly told by way of a cheesy ’80’s montage), Billy ends up dressing up as the store Santa.  A sleazy, tight pants, co-worker hitting on Billy’s best gal is all it takes to send Billy into a Christmas Eve/morning killing spree with the above mentioned ax…but not before using a bow and arrow to dispatch one unlucky victim.  Why this toy store sells real bow and arrow sets is beyond me, but who am I to question the practices of Ira’s Toys?

From here until the “shocking” ending things are pretty much your typical ’80’s slasher film with something of a budget.  That is to say that Silent Night, Deadly Night is really no different than any fun, trashy horror film along the lines of the original Friday the 13th.  Yes, it’s garbage, no doubt, but it’s a great time if this is your sort of thing.  I could honestly recommend this for your yearly alcohol fueled Christmas party, if not for the existence of Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2…but we’ll get to that next week.  Until then, why not find a copy of Part 1 and check it out this holiday season?  Tell them Mickey Rooney sent you.

Rating: ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆
5 out of 10

Next week: Little baby brother Ricky picks up where Billy left off and delivers one of Logan’s five favorite film lines of all time in Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2. 


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