Tuesday, October 13, 2009

HORROR EPICS: Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

No comments from the peanut gallery about how a Christmas movie is being reviewed for Halloween this year. I grew up in a household that didn’t celebrate Christmas, and was occasionally teased about it as a little kid. Consequently, I sort of harbor a real resentment towards Christmas and much of what surrounds the holiday. In Silent Night, Deadly Night, Billy Chapman is another little kid who grows up with animosity towards the holidays. But he’s got a better reason to hate them than I do: his parents were murdered in front of him on Christmas Eve by a guy in a Santa outfit. Now THAT sucks, dude. Billy finishes out his childhood in an orphanage run by a sadistic nun who beats him routinely for any reason she can think of. By the time he’s a strapping young lad of eighteen, he’s working at the local toy store and appears to be just fine. But when Christmas rolls around, Billy’s Catholic guilt starts to get the best of him. Then his boss asks him to dress up as Santa Claus for the little kids, which is like playing with fire. Still in costume and getting sauced with his co-workers at the after-hours party, Billy snaps and kills them all. Why? Because Santa punishes the naughty children, boys and girls. And oh, how they get punished! If you’re naughty in Silent Night, Deadly Night, you can expect to be one of the following:

* Shot
* Stabbed
* Bludgeoned
* Impaled
* Decapitated
* Strangled by your own Christmas lights

I think little kids would behave a lot more if the Santa Claus story came with that kind of a twist, don’t you? Don’t despair…Santa does reward the good children if he finds them. But it ain’t no candy cane or an Atari system, that’s for sure. When this Yuletide slasher was first released, it caused a bit of an uproar amongst angry parents, who picketed the theaters. The critics who were outraged by the film make me chuckle. “Killing people on Halloween, that’s okay. But a killer Santa Claus? Now, that’s just going too far!” Screw the critics. Did you grow up hating Christmas too? Then this low-budget Santa slasher is for you. Followed by four sequels that we probably don’t care to bother with.

For an added bonus, here’s Siskel & Ebert with their view.

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