Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984-1991) Series Review

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Seeing as it is Christmas 2015 I
Think we should watch some
good traditional Christmas films
with a good message.

Failing that lets watch some horror

How about the original Silent Night, Deadly Night series not including the remake

  Silent Night,
Deadly Night (1984)

You scared, ain’t ya?
You should be!
Christmas Eve is the scariest damn night of the year!

Directed by Charles E. Sellier Jr. and Starring Robert Brian Wilson, Silent Night Deadly Night is a classic Christmas horror film from the 80’s that I have to recommend.

Starting with a family on their way to see their ill Grandfather it has little Billy being very inquisitive about Father Christmas during the car ride.
Once they get to the home that Granddad is residing they find out he is now completely none responsive to any outside stimuli.

When little Billy is left alone with him however we learn Granddad is faking the whole thing. Don’t expect a reason as to why because this film isn’t going to explain and if you can’t get to grips with this odd little scene then you will struggle later.

Meanwhile a man dressed as Father Christmas holds up a petrol station and kills the unfortunate worker behind the till.

Naturally both these stories collide and with Billy now scared of the jolly fat man thanks to Granddad, seeing him murder his parents causes a lifelong fear of Christmas and Old Saint Nick.
So we find both Billy and his little brother in an orphanage a few years later at Christmas.
Billy it seems is a good child but plays up during this festive\pagan season due to a very understandable reason which it seems isn’t very reasonable by the not so very understanding Mother Superior running the orphanage.

Anyway, thanks to his family being murdered by a man in a red suit and the Mother Superiors archaic and almost torture like ways of disciplining children that have done nothing more than have a nightmare; 10 years later Billy is just ready to snap.

And snap he does.

In wonderful style. Good, nice, random deaths in a small town on Christmas Eve that has everyone dressed as Santa on the polices most wanted list.

Full of randomness with a decent soundtrack and decent performances this is one of my favourite slasher films which I can watch every Christmas. Not bad for someone who is bored of that genre which went predictable, stale and unoriginal decades ago.

 

Silent Night,
Deadly Night 2 (1987)

Jennifer: I hate you Ricky!
I hate you!
Ricky: Punish!
Jennifer: [gulps] Uh-oh

So we have the inevitable sequel to make money of a really quite good original that might have a few of the original cast back but ultimately bears little in spirit, look and feel to the original.

Well not here.

The film starts of with Billy’s younger brother who’s now 18 and has been locked up. Receiving a visit from a psychologist and he starts to tell his story starting at the beginning.

The beginning of Silent Night, Deadly Night part 1 and for the first 39 minutes and 30 seconds of this film we are given an almost scene for scene recap of the first film.

The whole film by the way is only 88 minutes long.

It isn’t a bad thing though as those clips from the first film are the best parts to watch.
It isn’t a bad follow up. It has some good original deaths and at times has that random quirkiness from the original but misses the point of the what made Billy snap and gives us a ham fisted attempt to copy that in Ricky.

It’s so lazy at one point he simply goes on a gun rampage and is no longer punishing those who have been naughty. He’s shooting anyone.

The end does attempt to bring this back to the first film (if you can imagine a film that spends 40 minutes recapping the original can lose sight of it 20 minutes later) and does an ok job of it.

Not the best sequel but still worth a watch.

Even the trailer spends more time on the first film than it should

Silent Night, Deadly Night III:
Better Watch Out! (1989)

Is it live, or is it Memorex?

The third in the series stars everyone’s favourite Bill Moseley as Ricky who’s had half his brain shot off and reconstructed which is now housed in a glass bowl on Ricky’s head protecting his brain that is now showing.

Not the first time Bill Moseley has played a character with something exposed on his head to protect his brain *cough*Chop Shop from Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)*cough*

And if you think that sounds silly it turns out Ricky is almost zombie like when he wakes from his coma and is psychically linked to Laura who was at the same hospital and taking part in studies on entering peoples dreams using a comatose Ricky as an unwilling subject.

This does give us more flashbacks to the first film, how I wish I was watching that again, but takes the series about as far away from what the first one was about as it can.
It wont surprise you to hear the next two are sequels in name alone.

So it’s Christmas eve and Laura with her brother and his new girlfriend are off to spend it with their Grandmother.
Problem is Ricky wakes up and with their psychic link is heading there himself. Plus for a slow moving, almost zombie like person he manages to beat them there by hitch-hiking.

I suppose there’s a sort of murderous rampage like the previous two but for about 20 minutes nothing happens other than the cop and doctor talking about car phones and Laura being a bitch to her brothers new girlfriend.
That’s her thing apparently but she isn’t that bad to watch.

So there’s something about Laura having to focus her powers to stop Ricky which she doesn’t do.
I don’t understand the point of that scene unless it is a MacGuffin, and Ricky is now more like Michael Myers. Nothing can stop him including a shotgun blast to the chest.

This is too far removed from not only the look and feel of the original and to a lesser extent Part 2 but the Silent Night world already established.
It feels like a film rewritten to include the character of Ricky and using some of his motivations with Christmas thrown in.

Speaking of Christmas, this is the 4th Christmas horror film I have watched this week (I also watched A Cadaver Christmas) and none have had any snow or people dressed up as if it is cold.
Are these films predicting the unusually warm Christmas we are currently having here in England?

As a stand alone film this wouldn’t be that bad, the way they stop Ricky is cheap but overall a bad film you could watch.
But a Silent Night film this is not.

The makers have been naughty.
Someone needs to punish them

And her srceam really is that bad

 

Initiation:
Silent Night,
Deadly Night 4 (1990)

Oh dear, now the series has lost all connections to the original film and reality.

Co-wrote and directed by one of my favourites Brian Yuzna, 

Initiation is about a misandristic coven of witches looking to give rebirth to one of the members daughters even though she died at the start of the film during that same rebirth ceremony.

That bit doesn’t make sense, anyway they need a like minded neurotic, chauvinistic woman who refuses to accept any blame for her actions but feels entitled as fuck to replace the daughter
Turns out women like that are easy to find so the very next day they run into Kim.

They drug her repeatedly and inform her about the story of Lilith, Adams first wife in the bible and the snake that convinced Eve to eat the apple.
Trust me story wise that little bit is better than the any of the story in the film. So not giving too much away she either fights them or joins them.

This isn’t a good film. It’s worse than Part 3 though far more lively. I was entertained for 84 minutes but it deserves all the low scores it gets. My hopes were high given that it was made by Brian Yuzna who has made some classics such as the Re-animator series and Return of the Living Dead 3. 

It does have Clint Howard in it and he’s good plus it gives new meaning to the phrase firecrotch.
So what are the links to the Silent Night series?

Well Silent Night, Deadly Night part 3 is shown on a TV in one scene and once again there must be a heatwave on yet another Christmas eve and another American town has forgotten to put up any decorations.

It isn’t the worst film and did entertain me yet despite knowing this was related in name only I still feel cheated out of another Silent Night film.

I have more hopes for tomorrows film “The Doll Maker” as that name suggest at least a Christmas theme for the film but if that’s bad I might have to add the remake to this list of reviews and see if that can salvage the series.

Oh and this films is also called Bugs because there are bugs in a couple of scenes.

That’s it

 

Silent Night,
Deadly Night 5:
The Toy Maker (1991)

 

I’M YOU’RE SON NOW…
NOT HIM!
NOT HIM! NOT HIM!

And so the fifth and final film of the original franchise. Co-written again by Brain Yuzna and with more of a Christmas theme (even if it does look like it was filmed in March again) this one is probably the best of the sequels after Part 2.

So we have a little boy called Derek who sneaks downstairs and finds a present for him outside on the front porch.
This present then kills his Father which which leaves him unable to speak due to the psychological trauma.
To cheer him up his Mother takes him to Petto’s (get it) Toys with Petto played by Mickey Rooney and home to his very weird son Pino. It appears Petto is holding a dark secret.
In fact every adult in this film is either amoral or a big fat liar right back to Dereks Mum.

More presents turn up and more people die in rather unbelievable but humorous ways even if the film did not intend for them to be so.
The climatic showdown was particularly hysterical in parts out of sheer absurdity.

This film does have Neith Hunter and Clint Howard back as Kim and Ricky from Silent Night 4. How bad must Neith’s career have gone if she watched Part 4 and decided she would be willing to reprise her role again even if only loosely based on Kim from Part 4.

Clint always has his brother to rely on and has made a name for himself as a support actor in these types of films so seeing him back isn’t that unusual.
Unless you consider that Ricky died in Part 4.

The series is now Yazuna’s and his style shows so don’t expect anything like the first couple of films anymore. These are simply to cash in on the name of Silent Night, Deadly Night, if that series has any credibility anymore after so many cash ins.
It’s a cheap ploy that horror does to death trying to fool people into thinking a film is worth watching based on an earlier good film which sadly works.
I’ve sat through all five simply because the Part 1 is such a classic but there is nothing here that deserves to have itself associated with this series.
Ok this is worth a watch based on its own merit yet putting it with this franchise and this goes for Parts 3 and 4 too is conning the people watching them.

As I’ve been conned too much by now I’ve changed my mind and decided that I will watch the remake. At least remakes try to exploit as much of the original source material that I might get the film none of the sequels delivered.

Silent Night 2012 Banner

Silent Night 2012Silent Night (2012)

 

So I decided to watch this against my better judgement and thank god I did.

It isn’t bad. It does have a few of the usual problems with modern slashers i.e. the final confrontation, but at least in this one they didn’t have to dumb down the killer as much as they usually do for the final girl to win and there wasn’t a pointless chase scene between the pair with the killer falling over every table the final girl tips over in front of him.

You still need to suspend belief and forget how unstoppable the killer has been throughout the previous 85 minutes but as someone who has gone off slashers thanks to the clichéd mess modern ones have turned them into I really enjoyed this.

It has good characters from the pervy priest, to the cynical Santa, all done to leave you thinking “is that the killer” although I think they overplayed that aspect eventually.

The final girl here is Deputy Aubrey Bradimore, and she’s still mourning her husband or boyfriend. The film doesn’t explore that too much and she is full of doubt which is refreshing. Usually the final girl is smarter and just better than everyone else around her but here her investigations lead to the wrong man being arrested and even though we find out who the killer is, she never does.

Malcolm McDowell is on fine form playing a more comedic and inferior version of Dr Loomis but as ever he’s the most entertaining person to watch.

What we have here is a Christmas film with snow and set in a town that is actually celebrating Christmas so it gets that right more than 5 of the other 6 Christmas based horror films I’ve watched this year.
I’m including A Christmas Cadaver in that list.

It also has a killer Father Christmas so that is something it gets right unlike 4 of the other 5 Silent Night, Deadly Night films. In fact there are so many Father Christmas’ in this film you’d think the makers are trying to make up for the lack of them in the sequels.

Silent Night does borrow a bit from the original. Vegetative state Granddad and the deer skewing scene are examples but obviously not as good as the original, especially the Deer scene but I only realised that was going to happen moments before it did so it gets points for not being so bleeding obvious about it.

Naturally this looks slick and is well made with lots of colour correction to bring out the teal so to highlight the flesh tones. You know the look.
Practically every studio made film and its poster does that these days yet I can’t really fault the production.

There isn’t much CGI and CGI blood thankfully in the many deaths which look very good so overall I will say I like this.

Would I like this as much and not be cynical myself over a studio taking a classic and remaking it just to make money if I hadn’t seen all the sequels over the space of 3 days?

Probably. But there is enough here done well for it to be largely forgiven.

Cool film, the look of the killer is really good.

I’m glad I decided to watch it.