Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

PLOT:

A young, impressionable child named Billy goes to visit his mentally ill grandfather on Christmas Eve and hears him deliver a terrifying monologue about Santa Claus’s tendency to “punish” naughty children. The old man’s pronouncement is validated when a man in a Santa suit car-jacks Billy’s family on their way home and shoots his father before sexually assaulting and murdering his mother. Billy and his little brother escape alive, but with a traumatizing back-story.

We then follow Billy a few years into the future; now he’s 9 or 10 and known as “that boy who hates Christmas” by the overbearing nuns at his orphanage. From these nuns he learns what sort of behavior is worthy of “punishment,” namely teasing and pre-marital sex. Nothing much interesting happens for the next decade of Billy’s life, so we cut to his 18th birthday (the legal age for killing) and his transformation into a blond Adonis. One of the more kindly nuns is getting him a job at a toy store, a brilliant choice for a boy whose only weakness is a crippling fear of Santa Claus. When the store’s in-house Claus bails on Christmas Eve, Billy is predictably the one who ends up in the suit. His carefully planned and painstakingly detailed back-story catches up with him and he snaps, killing all those he judges to be “naughty” in typical slasher movie style before returning to the orphanage to finish off the nuns where his ax finally catches up with him.

SCORING:

  • Ambition – 8

I think in the slasher-crazy 80s doing a killer Santa movie must have seemed like the ultimate line-crosser. They work very hard to justify it too, but all of Billy’s wacky history would serve much better as flashbacks instead of front loading the movie with obvious sign-posts on the road to crazy land.

  • Presentability – 7

Nice that you can show it for multiple holidays. Formulaic enough to talk over but unusual enough to crack clever jokes at.

  • Sex/Violence – 9

Mainly axing, but a pretty creative use of antlers. The sex scenes are kind of hot, and the whole idea of Santa sexually assaulting your mom earns this flick high marks.

  • Performances – 6

I was a little disappointed by the casting in this movie. Why make the villain so He-Man like? I would have found a wrinkly old fat killer Santa much more terrifying. That said, bonus points go to the monologue from the crazy old grandfather in the beginning. He really goes for it.

  • Datability – 7

Nicely dated by the scandal it created. Makes you realize how far we’ve come that in a world in which 12-year-olds can watch “Two Girls One Cup” a killer Santa barely qualifies as a Family Guy cut-away.

  • Script – 5

The concept here is innovative, but the script itself isn’t stand-alone bad enough to be memorable, although neither is it by any means competently written. Also I think there were many, many missed one-liner opportunities for the killer Santa. Sure, “Punish!” and “Naughty!” are good. But what about “Dashing through…your stomach!” Or “It came upon a midnight…fear!” Or perhaps even “Chestnuts roasting on an open…I’m stabbing you!”

  • Relevance – 9

This movie was pretty offensive when it came out, so I’d consider it groundbreaking in paving the way for even more offensive things to follow.

  • Originality – 8

The bottom line is this is just another 80s slasher flick, but following through with the Santa thing was, as I said, pretty groundbreaking for it’s time.

  • Cinematography – 6

Lots of flashbacks, fades and other cinematic techniques designed to show craziness.

  • Production Design –  7

Pretty good actually. Competent music, sets and lighting. This could actually pass for a well-made movie if it wasn’t, you know, so retarded.

TOTAL: 72
Picking up dog shit. And then the dog looks at you like “Isn’t this pretty shocking what you’re doing?” And you look back at him like “Yeah maybe in 1984. Nice try.” And then you spend the rest of the evening snuggling on the couch and watching German pooping porn.

FOOD TO SERVE:
I think the most effective tribute would be to serve some sort of delicious Christmas cookies or cakes and then when your guests are eating them announce that you put semen or pubic hair or something in them, thus ruining a holiday tradition forever, just like in the movie.

MOVIE EXPRESSED AS A SEA-SHANTY:
When I see Saint Nick, I always go crazy
And have the urge to kill some nuns that raised me
I punish the naughty with hammers or axes
Sometimes I run antlers through slutty girls’s backses
The worst sin I know of is showing your nipples
That’s why I kill teenagers, deaf guys and cripples

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~ by mgjk on January 3, 2010.

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