Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Jonathan Best, Tara Buckman, Lilyan Chauvin, Charles Dierkop, Leo Geter, Linnea Quigley
Directed by Charles E. Sellier, Jr.
Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment
“You scared, ain’t ya? You should be! Christmas Eve is the scariest damn night of the year! Santy Claus only brings presents to them that’s been good all year. All the other ones, all the naughty ones, he punishes! What about you, boy? You been good all year? You see Santa Claus tonight you better run boy, you better run for ya life!”
Who could forget that lovable rant from the faux-catatonic grandpa at the opening of one of the most controversial films of our lifetime?
Yep, it was back in good old 1984 when parents, critics, celebrities, industry folk, and everyone in between collectively threw a hissy-fit over nothing. Not old enough to remember and wondering what was up their asses? Let me wax on a bit. Every body was up-in-arms because this low-budget cheapo flick featured a killer who dressed in a Santa suit. Ponder that if you will. No one ever claimed it was the real Santa killing folks in this movie. Just some schmuck dressed like him. Hell, he didn’t even have the beard on all the way. Yet, everyone needs a cause I guess. That and a clue. Just a few weeks after its opening, Silent Night Deadly Night was yanked from cinemas. Thankfully we have Anchor Bay to set things straight for the horror fan looking for a little holiday inspired slaughter, as they’ve just released the most complete cut of the film — ever — just in time for Christmas.
Meet little Billy Chapman. After he and his little brother Ricky witness the murder of their parents by a gun toting oaf in a Santa costume, our troubled duo end up in a Catholic orphanage run by a nun who would make Carrie’s mom seem normal. Fast forward a few years and Billy has become a productive member of society, working in the local retail toy store. It’s not long before that magical time of the year rolls around and Billy’s boss makes him dress up as Santa for the kids on Christmas Eve. As you can imagine, things don’t go so well once Billy dons the old red and white fat man suit. The kid snaps, grabs an axe and sets out to “PUNISH”!!!
That’s the gist of things, and honestly other than it being a gooey good time it’s just your standard slasher fare. Certainly nothing for anyone to lose their minds over. You have got to give it to Anchor Bay though. They almost always go the extra mile for fans. What they’ve done here is found two cuts of the film and spliced them together to create the most complete release to be found anywhere. Every so often you’ll notice a dip in picture quality as one print was in much better condition than the other, but that’s a small price to pay to finally have the movie the way that it was meant to be seen.
Though the extras here are a little on the odd side. First up is a thirty-five minute audio interview with director Charles E. Sellier, Jr. conducted by an interviewer who never identifies himself. Audio interviews work in portable fashion like as MP3’s for I-Pods, etc, but as a DVD extra? Not so much. Still, if you can bare staring at a single still photo for around a half-an-hour there’s some interesting tidbits to be found here, such as the real reason the movie was pulled from theatres, as well as every step of the film’s production. I must admit though that Sellier left me a bit turned off once he started lecturing a bit about “a filmmaker’s responsibilities“, and by stating that he’s kind of sorry to have had done a slasher film in his career. Dude, you didn’t forge a weapon of mass destruction. You made a quickie horror film. That’s it! Get over yourself! I guess his teenage sex comedy Snowballing is a much more respectable piece of art. Sorry, Chuck, but give us a friggin’ break. From there we get a still gallery, and then finally a three part text feature entitled Santa’s Stocking of Outrage which chronicles comments from ridiculously over-protective/borderline psychotic parents, venomous critics, and a very disturbed yet still portly and cuddly Mickey Rooney. This is comic gold I tell ya! A great way to end the special features!
Silent Night Deadly Night is not a great flick. Hell, it’s not even a good flick (yet it does look like an Academy Award winning film in comparison to its four sequels). What we have here is an uber-sleazy guilty pleasure that is aired in my household at least once every December. For me it’s up there with The Grinch Who Stole Christmas cartoon. Click the link below to buy it and then stick it sraight into some one’s stocking today! If only to watch them grimace!
3 out of 5
2 1/2 out of 5
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