Let’s get the story straight or at least as straight as I can remember it. One cold winter’s eve I sat down with a four pack of Burton Baton from Dogfish Head and drank the whole damn thing plus an Insanely Mad Elf and probably some vodka. Maybe more beer. In fact I find it highly unlikely that in the time where I was a freak booze hound with a penchant for micro brews with an abnormally high amounts of alcohol and sugar that I wasn’t pouring at least one more six pack down my gullet. Why do I “confess’ this? Because when I was imbibing the spirits of the season I was watching Silent Night, Deadly Night parts 3, 4 and 5 for the very first time and while I enjoyed 4 and 5 (you know how I feel about 3), part 4 has come to be somewhat of a guilty pleasure of mine. I believe there to be a perfectly good explanation for my short but sweet love affair with Initiation. Most likely it has a good deal to do with Brian Yuzna at the helm and Clint Howard under the hood. In continuation of the IT CAME FROM 1980x countdown to Christmas, Silent Night, Deadly Night retrospective let’s eyeball up some SNDN4 and relive the memories that are only now slowly starting to squirm out of my sobering, wagon riding brain.
From the back of the box of themost amazing three movie set released by Lions Gate:
A female reporter investigates the death of a woman who, while on fire, leapt off a building to her death. Her investigation leads her to discover the existence of a strange cult dedicated to the Egyptian god Isis – and the cult wants her as its new queen
Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 4 is not a great horror movie. It’s filled with the plot holes you can fit a killdozer through. Cult group. Egyptian gods. Where the fuck is the Christmas spirit? You wanna talk about a war on Christmas, well I’d say that SNDN4 pretty much is the sequel equivalent. Where’s Santa? Exactly! Sure there’s a Christmas tree in the background of a couple scenes and maybe picking up our dear old friend Clint Howard out of the gutter to make him the servant of a cult group sounds like you’re giving a guy a second chance, but let’s be realistic… there’s nothing here. No Ricky. No Christmas lights around anybody’s neck. Nada. It’s a sequel in name only and while I may have said that SNDN3 really just borrowed hear and there to get the Silent Night, Deadly Night name, Initiation reaches out well beyond the scope of any decent, money-grabbing sequel. And I love it for that! Direct to video money making scheme number #156!
Let’s run down the cast and crew to find some semblance of familiarity with a rather unwatched movie, but a great one to get you in the Christmas spirit or at least make you have Kafka-esque Christmas fantasies involving Mrs. Claus and a can of RAID. Brian Yuzna directs SNDN4. He’s a horror movie icon beyond reproach and has directed some of my very favorite films and produced movies that make horror movie fans shit puddles of gorgeous, aching fuck and love. Some of his directing and producing credits include: Re-animator, From Beyond, Dolls, Bride of Re-anaimator, Beyond Re-animator, The Dentist, Necronomicon (which doesn’t get nearly enough credit for being amazing), Return of the Living Dead III (bless Mindy Clarke’s sacred chest) and a movie I’m deeply excited to watch one of these days Society. That’s a pedigree. He also produced SNDN5: The Toymaker which we’ll do for CHRISTMAS EVE next Monday night! See… Reproach? Can’t do it. Writer, Richard N. Gladstein, has two writing credits to his name; SNDN4 and The Time Being in 2012. In between the two films he’s produced EVERYTHING but most notably Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown… you know… the classics. Richard Band (brother to Charles Band) does the score for this and a pile of movies that you love the score to. This one knocks me off my socks. Synth me! Richard Band does 30% of the soundtracks you love that don’t come straight outta Goblin.
In the actors corner you’re looking at the aforementioned Clint Howard who should be considered B movie royalty starring as Ricky (I am not allowing the connection to any Ricky in any previous film… no sir… no way!). Neith Hunter who was in Less than Zero, Firght Night Part 2, and Near Dark, Tommy Hinkley from The Cable Guy and Star Trek Generations and a whole lotta TV included Night Court. Um… how about Reggie Bannister! No need to introduce him, but I would like to say that I have often thought that he and Clint Howard are like the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of each other; inverted versions of semi-bald men from awesome movies. I smell cage match! Glenn Chin was in 50 First Dates and Natural Born Killers, but SNDN4… well… I wonder if that makes it on the resume. As for the hottie, cult leader, goddess, murderess… Maude Adams who in fucking Octopussy, The Man with the Golden Gun, Roller Ball and A View to a Kill! There’s something strangely seductive about her in SNDN4. Egyptian deity worshiper suits her well.
So there’s no Santa and this really isn’t a Christmas movie, but it is a movie about implanting strange insect-like creatures in the stomachs of sexy reporters turned poster girl for pagan festival leader. I’d say the whole thing actually shapes up like one convaluted fever dreams that starts with Clint Howard pecking through a garbage can as a homeless man to find a burger (and of course there’s “NO CHEESE!”) and a body half on fire falling from a roof top and ends with a woman falling from a roof on fire after our “hero” sticks her hand into the leader of the Egyptian cult group’s stomach and, by doing so, incinerates her. So in between there’s a mix of imagery in which we see everything from cult rape and impregnation to a breaking and entering by Clint Howard himself who sits down to watch TV while Kim (Neither Hunter) and her man try to bring some boobs to the big screen.
There’s a cameo by Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 3 on the boob tube as if it wasn’t forgettable enough. What did Initiation have that Better Watch Out! lacked? A giant cockroach. Plain and simple. Somehow this turns into one giant awesome effects driven, all be they very cheap some what sleazy special effects, labor of latex love. Yuznafest 1990! In the back of my brain I’m supposing that the reason I find it so endearing is that hammed up effects with special attention to seedy detail and half baked dialogue that somehow still conveys the story of an Egyptian cult in such a way that you can still put a goddamn Christmas tree right on the front cover of the direct to video release. Witches on Christmas Eve! Well I guess they did have the holiday first (even if these are Egyptian witches and the Pagan Yule may be a bit askew from the Osiris/Isis mythology).
Also, let us not forget that Part 4 is brought to you by Live Entertainment. Throughout this series we’ve shown you some amazing bumper action from one of the king’s of call signs from the direct to video era. They don’t make distro company introductions like this anymore.
There should be no mistake that this is a trash film; one of those release during the direct to video era that got you so excited based solely on the premise and cover that content went straight out the window and a brief tit shot gave more excitement than a gallon of gore. The first time I watched it, drunk as I was, this movie seemed to provide just the right amount of nostalgia for that 80’s greatness without hitting all the marks of a great 80’s films. This isn’t the Dream Warriors, but we’re not exactly watching Microwave Massacre either and it didn’t even come from the 80’s anyway.
You can pick up Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 4 HERE in the combo pack from Lionsgate on the cheap. I believe you could still conceivably get it in time for Christmas if you’re on the nice list. Naughty listers, no need to apply. You can always try on the VHS HERE.
Keep your heads clean.