What could be better than watching a deranged Santa Claus enforce his misguided morals upon naughty girls and boys on Christmas Eve? As we learned in 1984, nothing.
SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT opens on Christmas Eve, when Billy and Ricky witness their parents being killed by a thief in a Santa suit. They are quickly shuttled off to the local orphanage, where Billy runs into trouble with Mother Superior for drawing pictures of dead Santas and sneaking a peak at two young lovers. After lashing him with the belt and tying him to the bed, Mother Superior teaches Billy that punishment is good. Punishment is absolute. We are always punished for our sins. Years later, Billy takes a job at the local toy shop, where he is forced to play Santa Claus for all the town's children after a co-worker calls out sick. With the memories of mom and dad still fresh in mind, Billy snaps, and decides to spread a little bloody Christmas cheer of his own the only way he knows how... PUNISH!
It should come as no surprise that a poster depicting Santa coming down the chimney with a fire axe might stir up a few parents, and after much complaining, SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT was effectively cut or banned from countless theaters across the country during its initial release. But why? SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT is no more harmful than any of the other holiday Horror films to come out in the early 80s. DON'T OPEN TILL CHRISTMAS had someone slinking around London killing anyone dressed as Santa? MY BLOODY VALENTINE showed the sadistic Miner ripping out people's hearts on Valentine's Day? It is clear from the start that this isn't the real Santa anyways, though that wouldn't have convinced any of the parents who boycotted the film without even seeing it. Could it have been the loose plotting about trauma, punishment, and revenge, or maybe the sub-par acting? No, it could only have been the fact that a psycho Santa is running around killing people with a freakin' fire axe!
There really is nothing more to SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT than a ton of awesome gore, but who's complaining? Well... Besides the parents. First off, we get the world's worst grandpa, who warns Billy that "If you see Santa Claus tonight you better run boy, you better run for ya life!" Thanks, grandpa. Next, it isn't enough for the armed gunman in the Santa suit to steal the family car... No, he has to shoot dad and then rape mom before slicing her neck open. Classy! Does poor Billy get any sympathy after witnessing these traumatic events? Hell no, Mother Superior adds to the fire and tries to beat the fear out of him. It works, for a little. But once Billy gets a hold of that Santa costume, it's all over. Billy strangles a naughty co-worker with Christmas lights, stabs another, brains his boss with a hammer, shoots the Mrs. with an arrow... And that's all before leaving the store! Linnea Quigley makes a great wall mount as she is thrust through a pair of deer antlers, topless. Her boyfriend doesn't get much better treatment. Thankfully, her little sister has been a good little girl, and is handed a bloodied box opener instead of being killed. Two bullies steal a pair of sleds, and it is off with their heads! The film rightfully ends at the footsteps of the orphanage, where Santa makes one final stop on his deadly rampage. In its uncut form, SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT paints the winter snow red with blood. And if the brutal deaths weren't entertaining enough, Robert Brian Wilson's absurd performance as Billy takes the cake. He is completely emotionless as he coldly shouts 'PUNISH' before planting his axe into each victim.
For everything that this tasteless and trashy film lacks, it more than makes up for in bloody violence that Slasher fans are sure to enjoy year after year!
Movies like SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT:
SILENT NIGHT BLOODY NIGHT, DON'T OPEN 'TIL CHRISTMAS, CHRISTMAS EVIL, PSYCHO SANTA, SATAN CLAUS, SANTA CLAWS, BLACK CHRISTMAS, MY BLOODY VALENTINE.