Review: Silent Night, Deadly Night

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A young boy see’s his parents murdered by a man dressed as Santa, Billy has never been the same. Put in an Orphanage and haunted by the memories of the murder and abused by the Mother Superior, Billy grows up with a fear of Santa’s and Christmas.Finally Billy snaps and dressed as Santa goes on a killing spree.

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Silent Night, Deadly Night has to be one of my favourites of the Festive Chills Season so far. After Christmas Evil (which was ok) I wasn’t expecting much from this film at all. It’s nice to have surprises at Christmas.

Yet I’m not sure how funny this was meant to be, I did laugh a few times, maybe my twisted sense of humour. Are you meant to laugh as the Police gun down an innocent man dressed as Santa, and then they just shrug it off as collateral damage, maybe not, but I did!

While Christmas Evil was fairly light on the horror side of things, SNDN doesn’t skimp on its body count at all, it’s a bumper festive killing spree. Our psychopath doesn’t love Christmas, and he’s not out for revenge on those that despise the festive season, like our Christmas Evil psycho. No, Billy hates Christmas and especially Father Christmas having seen his parents killed by a nutter in a Santa outfit. Billy is a child with serious issues and while Mother Superior is convinced that he’ll get over them by sitting on Santa’s knee and facing his fears, Billy has other ideas and that involves staying away from Christmas full stop.

At 18 Billy takes a job in a local store, where things are rather normal, until of course the holiday season kicks in and there are Santa’s everywhere. Billy is asked to play Santa by his Boss, which he does, but he’s on the edge now and it doesn’t take much to push him over. Once he’s over that edge the killing starts, as Billy rampages through the town on his way to deliver one very special present to the Mother Superior. Now this is more like it, a Santa running around chopping people up with an axe, or impaling bare breasted women on wall mounted antlers, this is the stuff you want from you psycho Santa’s.

Robert Brian Wilson is the older Billy and he’s pretty good. In fact most of the cast are really quite good, with scream queen Linnea Quiqley making an appearance and Lilyan Chauvin who was excellent as Mother Superior.

I really did enjoy myself watching this – it has become a Christmas favourite now alongside Muppets Christmas Carol and It’s a Wonderful Life!

This was the uncut version released by Arrow films. I am mentioning this because there is a slight degrading of the picture quality with these new scenes, well at least you know what was added back in. Actually the Arrow disk is rather impressive and well worth picking up if you’ve not got a copy of the film.


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On a visit to his institutionalized grandfather, young Billy is told the truth about Santa, that the fairy tale he was told as a kid wasn’t quite true and that Santa does bad things to people who are bad themselves. Traumatized by this story, his parents stop to help a guy dressed as Santa on the drive home only to be murdered by them. This results in Billy being moved to an orphanage and this is where the movie really kicks in. I loved this as an opening to a movie and the grandfather’s speech was still pretty scary even thirty years later.

His time at the orphanage is made worse by the over domineering nuns who run the place who force Billy into sitting with Santa to which he violently reacts after the traumatic events of his youth. Jumping forward ten years to an 18 year old Billy who has gained employment at the town’s toy store and ends up being dressed as Santa himself.

Finally snapping the psychopath in Billy lets loose, hanging a co-worker with Christmas lights to start off with before going on a spree and ending up back at the orphanage in a face off with the mother superior who used to beat him as a child. The body count starts to pile up impressively although the kills are tame now compared to what we have seen in the torture-porn era there are still some impressive and creative methods used to bump off the victims.

This is a top notch Christmas movie, I don’t think I had ever seen this before but this is brilliant. It ticks all the boxes for me and spends the first half of the movie building up the tension as we follow Billy from innocent child through to being a killer and in all of this you almost find yourself feeling sorry for him in some way. There are plenty of gory deaths in a variety of manners which as a slasher movie fan ticks all the right boxes for me. When the killings start they just don’t let up in intensity and humour and there is no shortage of the red stuff here.

I loved this movie and my only regret is I hadn’t seen it earlier; the strength is in the creation of the psychopath in Billy and the revenge he takes against people who are bad. A fabulous movie for the Christmas horror theme. Definitely will watch the follow up to this.


Final-Score

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