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Silent Night, Deadly Night
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Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

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Plot Summary:
"A young boy watches his parents killed by a thief in a Santa suit. He spends his youth in an orphanage, staying quietly to his self, but his mind is further bent by an ironhanded Mother Superior. He finally gets a job at a local store, where he finally snaps when he is required to wear a Santa suit, and goes on a killing spree that leads him slowly back to the orphanage."


Review by
Phil Davies Brown
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@horrorasylum
Review Date: 30 March 2004 My Rating: out of 5

 

I finally managed to cross this one of my 'slasher films I must see' list and have to say I was quite disappointed with it!!

Young Billy has 'the fear' put into him by his loony old grandpa and is then forced to witness the murder of his parents by a guy in a santa suit, all in the same day.

Orphaned, he is sent to a convent school and continues to witness 'bad' things such as the older kids having sex and struggles to fit in, before finally going whacko and beginning a killing spree dressed as who else but........santa!!

Surrounded by controversy upon release, due to it's graphic content and violent nature, I was expecting a hell of a lot from this movie and whilst it mildly delivered some of the good stuff, overall it aint that impressive.

The opening was quite unsettling and the infamous murder of Billy's parents was quite graphic, but it's nothing that hasn't been done countless times before.

The story annoyed me because it then spent a large amount of time trying to show us how the tragedy was affecting Billy every day and it was quite frankly rather dull! So he catches some kids shagging and has a fear of santa? Big deal, all kids have adjustment problems!!

Billy survives his teens and then we have to spend time watching an 80's music montage as he deals with his first job...get on with the killing already, this is a horror movie!!

When Billy finally picks up an axe, we do get some good deaths, a few decent scares and even some clever female characters (one woman despite being drunk, has the good knowledge to phone the cops and try to smash her way out of a building with an axe after she has knocked out the killer and managed to keep hold of the weapon).

As we plod forward to our conclusion, you pray that the annoying bitch mother superior (excellently played by Lilyan Chauvin) will get it and then the ending is a cop out!!

The obligatory set up for the sequel is pretty lame too!!

OVERALL SUMMARY
In the end, this is not a bad film, it does try to develop it's characters and show us something other than the standard stalk and slash of the day, but then that is probably why most viewers had wanted to see it in the first place.



Reviewer: John Dedeke @horrorasylum
Location:USA
Review Date: 31 October 2001 My Rating: out of 5

When viewing Silent Night, Deadly Night today, it's hard to figure out what all the fuss was about at the time of the film's release. The movie caused all kinds of trouble when it came out in , inciting protests and boycotts from offended parents and social groups opposed to the idea of a killer in a Santa suit (interestingly, none of them seemed to have a problem with You Better Watch Out [aka Christmas Evil], a killer Santa flick that came out four whole years before Silent Night, Deadly Night). The movie was even banned in some areas, and publications refused to advertise it. These days, however, one has a lot of trouble believing these things were all caused by such an uneventful, mediocre film.

Breaking from the mold of the day (the popular whodunnit-style slasher made common by Friday the th and the like), Silent Night, Deadly Night comes right out and tells you who the killer is. In fact, the first half to he film is told almost entirely from the point-of-view of Billy, the little boy who will grow up to become a stalker in a Santa suit. The film shows us Billy's childhood and the traumas and abuses he is forced to endure, then skips ahead around the -minute mark to the 'present' day, where Billy gets a job at a local toy store. Things seem to be looking up for the mentally disturbed teen until the manager dresses him up in a Santa suit, prompting Billy to snap and go on a murder spree, killing anyone he deems to be 'naughty.'

Silent Night, Deadly Night is a B-movie in the purest sense of the term, and it wears that badge proudly. EVERYTHING in the film is gratuitous, from the plot itself (this kid has about the worst childhood in history) to the killings (mostly done with an axe) to the numerous displays of nudity throughout the film (it seems like none of the women in Billy's town wear bras). The problem with the film is that none of these elements are very fulfilling. The story is obviously somewhat profane and twisted, but it drags all over the place. The killings are blatant, but with hardly any style (suspense) or substance (gore). Much of the slasher appeal is lost by knowing the killer's identity, and Billy's character is so uninteresting that you find yourself hoping that there is really someone else doing the killing and he'll show up and take Billy's place.

True, Silent Night, Deadly Night isn't a total loss. Some might actually find some merit in the psychological storyline or its dated cheesiness. Others might get a kick out of scream queen Linnea Quigley's appearance (naked, of course). But ultimately the film suffers from the same problem as its Christmas-themed slasher peers: it's boring. Bits and pieces are okay, but the overall product fails to satisfy, even on the most basic B-grade levels.

OVERALL SUMMARY
Though it certainly caused a stir in , this story of a sicko in a Santa suit never manages to be more than mediocre. Santa should cross the makers of Silent Night, Deadly Night off his 'nice' list.




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