Silent Night, Deadly Night/Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 (1984/1987)
Directed by Charles E. Sellier Jr.; Lee Harry
Written by Paul Caimi, Michael Hickey; Lee Harry, Joseph H. Earle, Dennis Patterson, Lawrence Appelbaum
Produced by Ira Barmak, Scott Schneid, Dennis Whitehead; Lawrence Appelbaum, Joseph H. Earle, Eric A. Gage
Starring Robert Brian Wilson, Lilyan Chauvin, Gilmer McCormick, Britt Leach, Toni Nero, Randy Stumpf, Nancy Borgenicht, Danny Wagner, H.E.D. Redford, Linnea Quigley, Leo Geter, Jonathan Best, Will Hare, Tara Buckman, Geoff Hansen, Charles Dierkop, Max Robinson, Eric Hart, A. Madeline Smith, Amy Styvesant; Eric Freeman, James Newman, Elizabeth Kaitan, Jean Miller, Darrel Guilbeau, Brian Michael Henley, Corrine Gelfan, Michael Combatti, Ken Weichert, Ron Moriarty, Frank Novak, Randall Boffman, Joanne White
Accumulated traumas create a killer from an orphan (Best, Wagner, Wilson) whose parents are slain by a homicidal nut (Dierkop) costumed as Santa on Christmas Eve, after formative years of sexual suppression and chastisement inflicted by his orphanage’s abusive, obtusely injudicious Mother Superior (Chauvin), then harassment from a odious coworker (Stumpf). This toy store’s stockboy finally snaps when selected by his boss (Leach) to entertain children as Santa, and paints his town red with its locals’ blood.
In Part 2, his younger brother (Freeman) recounts his slaughterous sibling’s exploits, then his own to a psychiatrist (Newman) in the mental ward where he’s imprisoned, before he escapes to confront his Final Boss: Mother Superior!! (Miller)
The first Silent Night is a pedestrian slasher that slogs through its vapid vignettes with perfunctory predictability. In spite of its superabundant cutbacks, the sequel’s bloodletting is more engaging and incoherent.
All others in these casts rate from mediocre to abominable, but Freeman elevates Part 2 to delightful camp by interpreting the junior murderer miles over the top with malicious zest and waggling eyebrows.
Perry Botkin’s score would be unlistenable were it as pestilential as Morgan Ames’s and Doug Thiele’s doo-wop ditty, Santa’s Watching.
Killing sprees perpetrated by Freeman’s bloodthirsty psychopath are hysterical for his wacky diction and idiosyncrasies. A famous moment therein was memed years ago, but it’s best witnessed in its entirety.
- Best, Wagner, and Wilson respectively embody the deathmonger at ages 5, 8, and 18, but ugly Wagner doesn’t resemble his photogenic counterparts at all.
- Linnea Quigley’s newly enlarged breasts are nauseating.
- Wilson irrupts through Quigley’s front door, which is clearly constructed from the flimsiest plywood.
- Every “shock” can be prevised by 1-30 minutes.
- The sequel’s first 40 minutes is a clip show derived from the first feature’s footage, which Freeman’s narration barely enlivens.
- Four men are credited for this incomplete story.
- In the absence of a production designer or set designer, an office is poorly dressed as a tiny cinema patronized by the superciliating slayer and his girlfriend (Kaitan).
After a profitable opening weekend, Silent Night was picketed by activists during their ample spare time, who successfully pressured Tri-Star to withdraw it from theaters a fortnight following its premiere. Without zany Freeman, these otherwise unremarkably cheap horrors would have no cult, and transient remembrance.
Instead, watch Black Christmas.