Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

What better to get you in the festive mood than a good old fashioned slasher? Well, apart from a good old fashioned Christmas slasher that is.

Silent Night, Deadly Night is the story of Billy – a particularly unlucky kid as unlucky horror film kids go. On his way back from visiting his grandfather in the asylum (oh yeah, that is a fun day out for any child under the age of ten) with his parents and baby brother, his parents are murdered by a robber in a Santa suit in front of his innocent little eyes.

Well, if that’s not enough to put you off the whole December 25th hootenanny, I don’t know what is …

Traumatising yes? Why not make young Billy’s life just a tad more horrific by raising him in an orphanage run by a religiously fanatical, sadistic nun?

Um, OK then.

He’s scared of Santa Claus? Well, when he’s old enough send him to work in a toy shop at Christmas. The guy who works as Santa calls in sick? Make Billy dress up as the jolly fat guy and make him deal with snot nosed, rug rats all day, kicking him in the shins and basically poking a ready made serial killer with a sharp, pointy stick.

The result? Christmas carnage brought to you by yet another disturbed guy in a white beard.

This one is a bit of a let down for me. It follows the basic slasher formula, but with a hint of psychological horror thrown in for good measure. The acting is pretty bad, with characters that are so unlikable (with the exception of the well meaning, but pathetically weak Sister Margaret who tries to save Billy from himself), that again you find yourself empathising with the killer rather than the victims, and do not get me started on the excruciatingly bad soundtrack of songs that I’m assuming won some sort of a competition with a title such as Songs That Help Suicide Attempts Along At Christmas 1984. I know if I ever attempt to end my life at the festive season, that’s the music that’s going to make me go through with it.

The film is trashy and ridonkulously misogynistic, with a little too much nudity without any real explanation behind it (because every girl wanders out the front door looking for her cat with no top on, right?), and a definite element of sleaze to each scene with a remotely attractive girl in, but honestly, it’s a B-Movie from the 80’s, what the hell do you expect?

When all’s said and done Silent Night Deadly night is an, entertaining, but very forgettable exploitation style, slasher, but I’m not sure it deserves the praise heaped upon it by horror fans. It’s watchable, with some stellar death scenes and genuinely stylish, creepy moments (Santa handing a little girl the bloody knife he’s just used to butcher her sister and boyfriend with, as a present for being a good girl, is an absolute classic), but there’s something about it that just never seems to grab me the way that so many others have, with much less effort.

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