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Silent Night, Deadly Night


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๐ŸŽ™️ EPISODE 399: 12.23.21 *Review starts @ ~ 22:02

This one has been on my watchlist for a very long time, and as I was prepping for this final review of 2021, I thought what would be the funniest choice to pair with It's a Wonderful Life and surely it has to be this extremely violent, psychosexually charged Killer Santa movie. The crux of this story is that a small child witnesses the bloody murder of both his parents and the attempted rape of his mother at the hands of a criminal dressed as, you guessed it, Santa Claus. He's then abused and mistreated in an orphanage. When he turns 18, the only good nun at the orphanage gets him a job at a toy store, he fills in for the absent store Santa one day and this unlocks all his past trauma and he goes on a killing spree. It utilizes the very effective trope of making the audience truly care about this troubled kid (Billy), only to unleash an onslaught of ultra-violence on some deserving but many wholly innocent targets.
This is an A+ setup for a horror flick. Because we don't know if Billy is gonna become the killer based on his unprocessed memories and abuse at the orphanage, or if the conflict will spring from some other battle, be it real or imagined, as he overcomes that — possibly enacting revenge for his parents' deaths in some way. Maybe I'm being naive, but he doesn't lose it until 45 minutes into this thing. And you're really rooting for him all the way during that setup. So when he pivots to his intense murderous new self, it creates a dissidence.

And the violence is extremely over the top. At one point, Billy impales a topless girl onto a mounted deer's antler. The film was largely panned upon its release and was actually pulled from theaters after one week. Given the sacred subject matter that's being subverted, it's easy to see why that happened, and also why it's garnered a cult following. Still, that holier than thou attitude which was so prevalent in film criticism back then is something to marvel at...
Siskel and Ebert condemned the film and Siskel went as far as to read names of the film's production crew on air, telling them, "Shame on you". Gene Siskel also said that all the money the filmmakers were making off of this film was blood money.




As a movie — and because it's a MOVIE — I found the violence and gore to be great. It's not scary but it's so outrageous and well-orchestrated that it works (and apart from the gruesome opening, it seems to be self-aware of its comical level of brutality, even if it could've been even more camp at times). And, sure, actor Robert Brian Wilson in the role of grown-up Billy/Killer Santa isn't, well, good per say. His stilted detachment nevertheless works for what his character becomes: a zombie-like, primordial creature whose only dialogue revolves around barking out the words "naughty" and "punish."



And that music score is so good. S/O and RIP to the late Perry Botkin Jr..

This film goes right up to the edge of poor taste, in my opinion. When you think Billy might start killing children, well yeah, I would say that's the edge...



Ah yes, a bloody box cutter, the perfect gift for a 7-year-old. Ultimately, this works because of the exact things it was so widely maligned for. That's no accident. It's full of boobs, terrible violence and the occasional joke...



Now, I just need to track down the four sequels to this, especially 1991's Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker which stars Mickey Rooney (!).

CHRONOLOGICALLY
EPISODE 399A - (YOU ARE HERE) - EPISODE 400 (COMING FEBRUARY 2022) ⫸

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⤊ RECENTLY RELEASED MOVIES (HOMEPAGE) • NEWLY POSTED REVIEWS ⤇ Ep. 399B (12/23), Ep. 399A (12/23), Ep. 398B (12/21), Ep. 398A (12/21), Ep. 397 (12/21), Ep. 396 (12/21), Ep. 395 (12/16), Ep. 394B (12/16), Ep. 394A (12/16), Ep. 393 (12/16), Ep. 392 (12/15), Ep. 391 (12/10), Ep. 390 (11/19), Ep. 389 (11/19), Ep. 388 (11/17), Ep. 387 (11/16), Ep. 386 (11/12), Ep. 385 (11/11), Ep. 384 (11/10), Ep. 383 (11/9), Ep. 382 (11/9), Ep. 381 (11/5), Ep. 380 (11/4), Ep. 379 (11/3), Ep. 378 (11/2), Ep. 377 (11/1)

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