It’s officially Christmas Eve. That means that it’s officially the scariest damn night of the year. You should be afraid, but I suppose if the apocalypse didn’t get you what’s an obese man trying to fit down a chimney with a child labor law violation or two gonna do to you? Welcome to IT CAME FROM 1980x. We’ve been following the “evolution” of the Silent Night Deadly Night series starting with a review of the first two movies re-released as a double feature by Anchor Bay and then moving on to the later three sequels that really have jack and shit to do with the rest of the series. That doesn’t mean that we dislike them although my personal preference on the third installment have been documented interwebz wide. This is the final entry in the franchise prior to the reboot/reimaging/remake that just came out this year from Anchor Bay, Silent Night. The series hasn’t come full circle and just to prove it, the goddamn thing stars Mickey friggin’ Rooney. Let’s go down the chimney, wiggle our noses for a bit, leaves some nuggets of opinion under the tree and then fly away on my sleigh with all eight of my reindeer (or Smart cars as the case may be).
From the back of the VHS box circa 1991:
The biggest surprises come in the THE TOY MAKER’s packages. In fact, you could say they’re toys to die for! Move legend Mickey Rooney portrays toy maker JOe Petto in the fun n’ fear-packed continuation of the SILENT NIGHT series.
As the story opens, it looks like a fright Christmas for young Derek Quinn (Willaim Thorpe). he’s seen what living horror s lurk inside the brightly wrapped boxes from Petto’s shop – an experience that left him mute. Now the can’t even scream when the deadly toys come to life again in his own house. Who’s behind the terror? Is it jolly Joe, his mysterious son Pino or even the strange newcomer named Noah? Don’t wait another moment to find out. This one’s all wrapped up with one place to go – your home.
Before we go any further I wanted to ask you to stop by Dr. Terror’s Blog of Horrors and check out the Silent Night Deadly Night Giveaway we’re running. One lucky winner gets the whole damn thing on DVD and choice of Silent Night on Blu-ray or DVD. Go HERE for details. Make sure to like the Facebook page to enter. Thanks for everyone who participated.
This entry into the Silent Night series is another direct to video, non sequel, produced by the great Brian Yuzna and directed by Martin Kitrosser who has a rather unspectacular career as a director, however his efforts shine out in the writers share. You’re looking at the writing mind behind Friday the 13th A New Beginning (RIP Danny Steinnman). He’s been a script supervisor on a number of very popular movies including Dr. Terror favorite Inglorious Basterds and was a character creator on Friday the 13th The Final Chapter and worked on the screenplay of Friday the 13th Part III. That’s a horror pedigree that shines. While we can’t say that SNDN5 was the most promising entry in the series or horror movie during the direct video cycle it certainly is good for a few laughs. As previously mentioned this is a Brian Yuzna production who directed Part 4: Initiation. There are some signature Yuzna moments in The Toymaker. Let’s start with Yuzna’s connection to the Stuart Gordon cult classic Dolls. Yuzna produced that as well. This puppy seems to pull a few screen shots directly from Dolls. Now I’m not an unhappy horror fan. I fuckin’ love Dolls. It’s one of the few movies that has the ability to scare me, make me laugh and then give me some powerful one liners to scare my kids with. Yuzna’s influence in creature design or at least helping the art creation is obvious. We’re glad to have him back to the series especially since this is clearly the better effort. Yuzna Power!
From an actor standpoint Clint Howard’s back playing Santa. Relax! It’s a very small part, his name is Ricky and it goes NOWHERE. In fact, Santa barely makes an appearance save for Mickey Rooney dressing up in the fat man’s garb. Neith Hunter also shows up having made the cut from the Silent Night Deadly Night 4 cast. Zoe Yuzna shows up (that would be Mr. Yuzna’s daughter) although this appears to be the only acting credit to her name. Tracy Fraim has a respectable television career but nothing really horror related worth mentioning. Van Quattro (yes, that’s a name and not a razor blade) has had some modest success in Hollywood evening appearing in a bit part in Fight Club. Jane Higginson was in Slaughterhouse which just so happens to NOT be my favorite movie of the slasher cycle in the mid-80’s though the cover box of that little gem always left me desperate to watch it. Our leading young man, William Thorne, also shows up later in Demonic Toys. Talk about getting typecast. That’s one of three movies in which he appeared and then… gone. Mickey Rooney’s the big star on campus and though he’s been in everything I can’t help but think that this is a long way from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I suppose play Joe Petto (Geopetto, get it) must have seemed appealing when he read the script. Hell, he’s even said to have written a letter protesting the original film. I guess killer toys is better than a killer Santa?
So what works for Silent Night Deadly Night 5? The synth music is characteristic of the time, but stands out. I even thought that Matthew Morse was responsible for more horror during the early 90’s. That’s just not the case. He’s barely touched the genre as a composer. Make sure you focus in on it during the credits. What score do you think it sounds like? The creepy, killer toys are eclectic and although not very well animated or actualized, they’re concept is the thing of Stephen King fantasy (remember Battleground) and even borrows from Xtro in more than one instance. I’m not gonna call it a rip off, but I bet one of these mothers is a fan. Screaming Mad George (who created the cockroach in Nightmare on Elm Street 4) did the effects work. He’s worked with Yuzna quite a bit giving the Yuzna film that grotesque practical effects pow. The movie is funny. It’s intentionally cheesy and it doesn’t take itself seriously at all. This is the kind of movie that can drop comedic one liners that are obvious to the audience and can stand on their own without the courtesy of a laugh track. That would make it a good candidate for a party or drinking game movie.
Why you’ll wanna steer clear of it.. it has nothing to do with the original Silent Night Deadly Night. That’s pretty much the norm as far as sequels go with this franchise, but if you’re expecting killer Santa you’re outta luck. Not enough naked folks for my taste although one of the intimate scenes has an especially comedic kill attached to it as the toys try to cut in on the lovemaking.
This is a direct to video flick from 1991. Live Home Video put it out as was the casein the fourth installment as well. The production company is listed as Still Silent Films, Inc.; isn’t that clever? The early 90’s saw some pretty fun horror releases, but ultimately everyone was in on the racket and mom and pop video stores were gonna soon find out what Blockbuster would be able to do for its shareholders. That means it’s slowly watching the home video market become a giant ocean of distributors and rip offs trying to capitalize on Hollywood successes and making movies for some of the lowest budgets on record. I love this kind of shit stink movie. Silent Night Deadly Night 5 actually cuts above the rest mostly because it chooses not to take itself seriously.
RANKING THE BASTARDS:
After watching all of em including the remake I’d rate them as follows:Silent Night Deadly Night Silent Night Silent Night Deadly Night 5: The Toymaker Silent Night Deadly Night 4: Initiation Silent Night Deadly Night 2 and last and definitely least Silent Night Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out!
As for the little survey we ran a few weeks ago during our recap of Silent Night Deadly Night 3, here are the results:
1. How should Silent Night Deadly Night Part 3: Better Watch Out! have ended?
Favored response: The real Santa Claus shows Ricky that he’s on the naughty list; kills Ricky violently with a live reindeer.
2. What should Silent Night Deadly Night 4 have been called if it had continued following Ricky Caldwell?
Favored Response: Ricky’s Dead the Final Nightmare
3. Are the kills in Silent Night Deadly Night Part 3 a let down?
Favored Reponse: Yes, I wanted more impaling on tradional Christmas decorations
4. Be Creative! What would you call Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 6?
-Bloody Stockings–Silent Night, Deadly Night 6 It’s an old-school, USA Up-All-Night quality flick! (Tits & Stabbings! Maybe a couple of swears!) Everybody wins!
-Be Good For Goodness Sake!
-“Silent Night, Deadly Night 6: Deadlier”
-Silent Night Deadly Night 666: Naughty or Nice?
and last, but not least… UGH Another one?
Thank you for participating and have a Merry fucking Christmas. Keep your heads clean. I hope everyone got the VHS tapes and VCR decks your retro libidos wanted.
Make sure to check out the previous entries in the series and the review of the remake below: