Sunday, December 13, 2015

Movie Review: "Silent Night, Deadly Night" (1984)

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Movie"Silent Night, Deadly Night"
Director: Charles E. Sellier Jr.
Year: 1984
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 19 minutes

As a young child, Billy saw his parents murder by a man dressed as Santa Claus. Raised in an orphanage  after their deaths,he was taught the importance of punishment by the nun's Mother Superior. Now all grown up, Billy works in the stockroom of a toy store, but on Christmas eve, he is made to play Santa for the kids. This seems to be the final straw and Billy finally snaps after years of psychological problems. He then goes on a murderous rampage dressed as Santa, punishing anyone who has been naughty. 

🎶 It's the most wonderful time of the year.
A killer stalking 
with an ax he'll be chopping 
as you scream out in fear!
It's the most wonderful time of the year!!! 🎶

Usually, Christmas is supposed to be about peace on earth and showing good will towards others. For Billy in "Silent Night, Deadly Night," it doesn't mean that at all. The holiday houses some deep and dangerous memories of his parents being murdered by a man in a Santa Claus outfit when he was just a young boy, which takes its psychological toll on him throughout the years. Billy is played by multiple actors throughout the film: Jonathan Best at age 5; Danny Wagner at age 8; and Robert Brian Wilson at 18. Most of the year, Billy is just a normal kid and goes about his life doing what normal kids do. But every year at Christmastime, those nasty memories start to creep up, and Billy begins to act out. With his parents dead, he and his brother, who was too young to remember the incident, have been raised in an orphanage. The nuns, in particular Mother Superior, played by Lilyan Chauvin, have a 'spare the rod, spoil the child' attitude. She believes that any misbehaving, no matter the root cause of it, must be beaten out of a child, and eventually they will learn to suppress these memories and behave properly out of fear of punishment. By the time Billy is 18 and quite a strapping young lad, he seems relatively well behaved, but when he is forced to play Santa at the toy store where he works, one day, he snaps. Years of learning that violence is the proper form of discipline, and he starts to unleash severe punishment on anyone who has been naughty. Billy is quite the sympathetic psycho killer when you think about it. It was a traumatic experience and years of physical abuse that drove him to murder, but still, obviously very wrong. He is very physically strong and uses that to his advantage once on his rampage dressed as Santa. He kills people in a variety of creative ways that offers a good ghoulish, yet festive time. Christmas horror films are some of our favorite guilty pleasure movies, so we always like to kick off our 12 days of Christmas movie reviews with something of this cheesy yet fun nature. Slasher flicks were big in the 80's, and this movie fits very well into that genre. As with many films in this genre, there is a fair share of humor as well, though a lot of it might be seen as unintentional. Obviously, this is not the most sophisticated movie, but it's still fun none the less. Its surprising social commentary on child abuse manages to give this film an unintended layer to it, too.

My Rating: 6.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 6.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 94%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?
One year ago, we were watching: "Santa's Slay"

Two years ago, we were watching: "Arthur Christmas"

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