Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

Silent Night, Deadly NightBoy this was the movie that had a lot of parents pissed off in 1984. Before the film even came out it came under fire for its tv spots and the poster which depicted Santa going down the chimney with an Axe his his hand. As far as Christmas Horror films go this ones pretty decent. It Christmas Eve and a boy named Billy and his family are visiting his grandpa at a retirement home. Grandpa seems catatonic to the world around him until he’s left alone with little Billy and then Grandpa come to life and goes ape shit crazy ranting about how Christmas is the scariest night of the year because Santa is coming to punish the bad kids. Billy is understandably terrified now about seeing Santa. The family leaves to go home and comes across a broken down car in the road driven by a man in a Santa suit. Of course this is the same Santa that just finished robbing a liquor store and killing the sales clerk. Billy starts to freak out telling his parents to drive on but they don’t and Santa kills his parents, sexually assaults his mother, all while Billy hides in the bushes watching.

Fast forward to years later and Billy is living in a orphanage and still terrified of Santa. It doesn’t help that the Mother Superior tries forcing him to sit on Santa’s Lap or that he’s witness to the Mother Superior beating two kids for having sex. The filmmakers at least make an attempt to make the killing spree he goes on later in life seem inevitable. Seeing your parents killed by Santa sounds like it would be a fairly traumatic event in a young child’s life.

Billy gets older and finds a job at a local toy store and everything seems perfect. In a bad 80′s montage we see Billy stocking shelves, cleaning up, helping little kids reach things, while a bad 80′s “happy song” plays. However Christmas finally comes to the store and Billy is asked to play Santa for the kids. He reluctantly does it and tells the kids that if they’re not good he’s going to punish them.

Christmas Eve arrives and the store closes for a little Christmas party. Billy, still dressed as Santa, see’s the girl he’s had a crush on get assaulted by one of his co-workers and he snaps. He kills everyone that works at the store and heads out on the town. We’re given some decent creative kills here Billy does decapitations, an antler impaling, and bludgeons a few folks, All the while screaming “NAUGHTY”. Christmas morning Billy heads back to the orphanage to kill Mother Superior but is stopped by a local detective before he can finish the job. The ending is a bit of a let down since we don’t get the satisfaction of seeing Billy take out his biggest tormenter.  Plus he dies at the end so there goes any hope of a sequel where he breaks out of the loony bin to do it again.

Silent Night, Deadly Night has really become something of a minor classic Christmas horror movie even with all its failings. Watching it today I wonder if this is where Rob Zombie based his concept of explaining why Michael Myers becomes a psychopath in his remake of Halloween.

Silent Night Deadly Night was followed up by several sequels. The second one is only worth watching for its laughs. I’m really on the fence as to whether it was intentional or not but Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 is hilarious. We’ll be posting about it later.  For now check out this trailer from Silent Night, Deadly Night!