Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Silent Night, Deadly Night Series Pt. 1 & 2

Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
Dir:Charles E. Sellier Jr. (The Annihilators)

In the spirit of Christmas I have decided to dive into the only Christmas Based Horror franchise there is. The being Silent Night , Deadly Night. The first Silent Night garnered quite a bit of success after being deemed controversial due to the opening scenes and parent and Christians through the states boycotted this film in hopes of getting it banned. Much like most other films that get this much publicity  the film became hugely popular . As for the film itself it is a pretty nice little slasher for it's time. So now on to the story of the most brutal Santa Killers of all,  Billy.
Billy and his baby brother Ricky are taken to see there mentally ill Grandfather who appears catatonic until Billy is left alone with him and he tells Billy that he should fear Santa because Mr. Claus punishes children who have not been good all year and to run if he see's him coming.
On the ride home The family is stopped by a man broke down on the road in a Santa suit, When the family stops to help Young Billy pleads for them to keep going but they carry on and the Santa approaches the car and Shoots the father dead then Rapes and kills the mother while Billy runs off into the woods leaving baby Ricky behind in the car. This scene is the one that rose so many eyebrows and tempers of the conservative film goers.
After the traumatic event the two brothers are sent to a catholic orphanage and raised by a very strict Mother Superior. It becomes obvious right away that young Billy now 8 has some serious issues with The man in red as when he is asked to draw something for Christmas he sketches out Santa and a Reindeer violently slaughtered. This behavior is not acceptable to the Mother Superior and we get a few scenes of him being punished terribly during his stay at the orphanage.
Flash forward ten more years and Billy is now 18 and one of the Nuns Sister Margaret gets Billy a job at a toy store  and we are treated to a montage of Billy working and adjusting to life outside the Orphanage.

Everything seems to be going well for our lead until he is given the honor of being the store Santa.
After a Christmas party at the shop Billy see's two of his Co workers sneak off to the stock room to get busy and this is when the shit starts to hit the mistletoe.Billy follows the couple and see's that his job site rival Andy is being to aggressive with Pamela and he gets forceful when his advances are not taken as he would like. Billy comes to the save but gets a bit too excited and chokes his co-worker to death with some Christmas lights, Then Pam freaked out verbally assaults billy and this sets him off to gut her with what appears to be a broken tree ornament.
Mr. Simms hears some noise from the stockroom and drunkenly stumbles in to find the bodies and is Struck with a hammer followed by the last remaining employee being shot down by a bow and arrow. At this point Sister Margaret arrives at the store after hearing about Billy being forced to play Santa and knowing the potential problems goes to try and prevent the innevitable, Only to  find the victims strewn about the Store.
Billy hits the town hunting down those he deems as naughty and this leads to a few unrelated Murders to pad the Body count score. The first being a nice cameo by 80's Scream Queen Linnea Quigley who plays a slutty Babysitter who is about to get it on with her boyfriend when she hears bells at the door, Thinking it is her cat she goes to the door, Topless of course....only to find Billy who manhandles the petite Linnea and Sticks her to some Deer antlers on her wall in a pretty decent gore scene.
And following suit shortly after is her boyfriend who puts up a fight before being thrown through a second story window to his death.
While Billy is out on the town doing Santa's work, Sister Margaret is at the police station trying to help in the hunt for Billy. She knows he is heading to the orphanage to get his revenge on Mother Superior, But before he makes it there we are treated to one more decent unrelated killing. This one involving some bullies , sleds and A Axe. As one of the Sledders heads down the hill he is beheaded via Axe leaving his headless body to meet his friend at the bottom of the hill.
Now on Christmas day Billy makes his way to the Orphanage ,But not before some officers kill a man in a Santa suit approaching the children thinking it is Billy, Not the case.We then get our final showdown as Billy meets up with the evil Mather Superior and he goes in for the kill just as The head detective and his back up arrive on the scene to save the day.
Now here is the SPOILER:

Billy is gunned down in front of his Brother Ricky and as he looks at Mother Superior Ricky grimaces and says "Naughty" as we now have a opening to our obvious sequel.......
So that is Silent Night , Deadly Night in a nutshell. I will save my opinions until after I am through summarizing part 2.
Overall: 7 out of 10

Silent Night Deadly Night Pt.2 (1988)
Dir: Lee Harry

So now for one of the worst sequels of all time, Silent Night Deadly Night 2.....The film opens with a now grown Ricky , Billy's baby brother from the original , As he is being questioned by a therapist in jail about his past. This leads to over 40 mins of flashback footage from the previous film. This is an extremely lazy tactic as the entire first half of the film is essentially just a recap of the last movie. One positive to this is that if you have not seen part one and want to save time while going through this franchise, You can either skip the first 40 mins of this one or just skip the first installment all together as you are really missing nothing either way. So with that said , After the first 40 mins of the film we get more flashbacks but these are of Ricky's story and some of it is pretty entertaining though the character of Ricky has got to be one of the corniest and most annoying killers ever to grace the silver screen. Constantly spewing out one liners worse than any I have ever heard and being sarcastic with every answer he provides.We see that Ricky started killing young as he runs a man down for trying to force himself upon a woman during a picnic , In which after the girl thanks him and just walks away.
After that we see Rick Kill a drug dealer after trying to bully his customer for his debt. Ricky disposes of him in very Penguin like fashion as he shoves a umbrella through the mans gut and then opens it before it starts raining , leaving his body in the alley behind the restaurant Ricky works at.
The therapist then asks Ricky about Jennifer , who was apparently Ricks short lived girlfriend. they go on a few dates after she runs him over on his Motorcycle and they start to fall for each other until Ricky meets her ex boyfriend the very douchebaggy Chip. One day on a walk through their neighborhood the couple runs into Chip fixing his car. Chip then starts drilling Ricky and spilling the beans on he and Jenny's past relationship including some intimate details. This pushes Ricky over the edge and he then Hooks Chips head to a car battery charger blowing up his head. Jenny horrified by this goes off on Ricky and he then Kills her by Using a car antenna.
A cop arrives on the scene and Ricky forces the officers gun to his own head killing the cop and acquiring a gun now. This leads to the films most famous scene and a infamous scene for it's utter goofiness.Ricky casually walks through the neighborhood shooting anyone in sight when he happens upon a man taking out his trash to which Ricky says "Garbage Day" and then shoots the man. After a decent car stunt, Ricky's rampage is short lived as he comes across a police barricade where he tries to shoot himself but is out of ammo. This leads us to the present time and why he is in jail to begin with.
When we return to the interview , we learn that the therapist has been killed and Ricky escapes the prison, To seek revenge on the Mother Superior. He quickly arrives at her house which is Ironically addressed 666.
A game of cat and very slow wheelchair bound mouse begins. Then comes to an end when Sister Margaret and the police arrive to find Mother Superior Decapitated. Ricky is of course gunned down and we get the mandatory Killer opens his eyes scene to end the film and once again leave plenty of room for another sequel.
SO for the ratings of this lump of coal....
Overall: 4.5 out of 10

Now to my thoughts. the Silent Night Deadly Night Franchise had a very promising start with the first installment being a very good slasher offering some original stuff to bring to the table. The back story was solid and the acting was pretty good for a film of it's kind during the time it was made. It is by far not the most gory film of it's genre during that time but it did have enough controversial material within it to garner a cult following. As far as slasher films go Silent Night provides a little more depth than the average film from the genre and you could do allot worse. Also as far as Christmas themed Horror films go I would say that this is my favorite one out there only bested by the original Black Christmas, But in all honesty this one provides a more solid story as Black Christmas is more of the prototypical Slasher.Now with that said, Part two is just god awful, And truthfully it isn't even a full  length feature. The flashbacks to the previous film take up so much of the film that you never even get a chance to get invested into the characters involved in the sequel, which may not be too much of a loss since the actor that plays the role of Ricky is downright annoying. I can see that they were trying to cash in on the success of the Nightmare On Elm Street series by trying to use the sarcastic one liner approach which made Freddy stand out on his own, and it just does not work in this case much like the swarm of other films during this time period that tried the same approach. So I will save my final opinion of the series until I finish watching all of the entries but this one started with some real potential and immediately fizzled out with this lazy lackluster attempt to follow up with the Brothers story arch.I have seen the third installment and I remember it being extremely cheesy but I also remember enjoying it as a child , It has been at least 15 plus years since I watched it last and I will just have to watch it again tomorrow night to find out if it succeeds in saving this franchise or just adds more weight to the anchor dragging it down that Silent Night deadly Night 2 is. I would truly recommend checking out the first installment if you have not seen it , or if you really wanna watch the comparison of Good slasher and shit film in the same movie just pick up part 2 and kill two birds with one stone. Please come back tomorrow and check out as I continue to look into  the  Series as I will review both Part 3 and 4 in hopes that this franchise will be brought back to life.

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