Tis the season to survive Christmas. That pretty much means in any and all ways possible. This is the season that makes your wallet scream, your kids paranoid and forces you into crowded situations with groups of angry parents. Good thing that Anchor Bay gave us the Christmas Survival Double Feature including the first two installments in the Silent Night, Deadly Night series. The same day that A.B. puts out the remake of the 1984 classic Santa Claus kill kill picture, they’ve decided to make available the out of print double feature DVD (not Blu-ray) of one of the most controversial flicks in American horror history (Decemeber 4th… order now for Christmas delivery). Billy Chapman and his brother want to share the true meaning of Christmas and teach you how to embody the holiday spirit. Let 1980x tell you just how they plan to do that. We’ll run through both movies and discuss the DVD release.
This whole month will feature Christmas related features on IT CAME FROM 1980x. We’ll start with the first double feature selection and move on to the remainder of the Silent Night, Deadly Night series (review of the new Silent Night film coming to the Liberal Dead shortly and WWW.DOCTERROR.COM from your truly).
SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT
The heartwarming story of little Billy Chapman who ws traumatized by this parents’ Christmas Eve rape and murder, then brutalized by sadistic orphanage nuns. But when a grown-up Billy is forced to dress as jolly St. Nick, he goes on a yuletide rampage to “punish the naughty”. Santa Claus is coming to town… and this time he’s got an ax!
When Leonard Maltin, Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert all agree on a film, outright lambasting it and even offering their own critical protests by publicaly shaming each member of the cast and crew, you know that the film is a. a horror film and b. a must watch picture. We’ve all heard the stories about the P motherfuckin’ TA protesting screenings upon its initial release. Tristar pulled the advertising and the film. They didn’t even try to get it certified in the UK which meant it couldn’t even be rightfully included on the Video Nasty list. Silent Night, Deadly Night takes a much beloved legend and completely bastardizes it. Is it a cash grab? What movie isn’t? Does it qualify as a splatter film worth zero stars? Nope. Well, not the zero stars. It’s actually quite funny if not scary and if not funny you might as well call it a goddamn psychological thriller like the rest of the Oscar worthy performances out there and pin some horns on that scape goat. Truth is SNDN is one creative little horror flick with an amazing back story, over dramatic acting that become quite humorous and contains inventive kills that rival any slasher flick from the last 40 years.
Charles E Sellier Jr. didn’t direct much. His directing credits including Encounter with Disaster (a documentary), Snowballing (80’s skiing sex comedy) and The Annihilators (soldier-sploitation Vietnam vet vs. gang shit). He went on to produce countless TV programs. He looks nothing like what one might expect to be the director of this infamous picture. Paul Caimi wrote SNDN which was based on the book Slayride, but didn’t write anything for the screen after that along with fellow writer Michael Hickey. Lilyan Chauvin who played Mother Superior had an extensive TV acting career and also appeared in Pumpkinhead II. Gilmer McCormick played Sister Margaret but also had roles in Hill Street Blues (I still love that damn theme music) and Slaughter House Five much earlier in her career. Of course there’s Billy played by Robert Brian Wilson (not a Beach Boy) who had some minor success in TV. The two big stars in this film are Linnea Quigley of course who has been in more movie than I care to name here, but rest assured she is the ultimate Scream Queen and the object of your wet dreams. She’s an amazing actress and a genre professional. Then there’s Britt Leach… wait… who? Britt Leach was Gary’s (Anthony Michael Hall) dad in Weird Science. His face is completely memorable and he’ll always be more than Mr. Simms to me. Grandpa has the best lines in the entire movie. “You scared, ain’t ya? You should be! Christmas Eve is the scariest damn night of the year!” Well did you know that Will Hare was Pa Peabody in Back to the Future? Time circuits on!
A movie like Silent Night, Deadly Night demands you have a favorite kill. Mine is the Linnea Quigley antler/chest impale. Boobs. Blood. The Quig and oh my goodness… those shorts! The whole scene makes me laugh, but I couldn’t help watch it on repeat as a kid (on VHS no less… BIG BOX BABY). There’s the Christmas light noose, sleighride beheading, bow and arrow in the back. I like to put SNDN and the original Sleepaway Camp in the same category. They go beyond the serious slasher film to offer the correct camp to boob to blood ratio that is perfect for a date movie or guys night out (I sound like I’m writing for a coupon book).
From the iconic Santa clad arm with ax coming out of the chimney to the various artist interpretations of poster art throughout the years, Silent Night, Deadly Night IS the holiday season for horror fans. It’s the kind of thing that keeps non-horror fans non-horror fans. Filled to the brim with one liners and plenty of cheese ball acting makes this perfect to recite all be it out of your kid’s ear shot. You can imagine the paranoia I felt watching this while the kids were in the house and could come down at any moment. Even the act of watching Silent Night, Deadly Night makes me question whether I’m a good parent or a naughty parent. Guess Mrs. Terror is the only one who knows for certain (innuendos… the writer’s best friend). On to the sequel…
SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT PART 2
Billy’s younger brother, Ricky follows in the family tradition of Christmas carnage. Psycho Santa is back… to deck the halls with chunks of bodies!
Part 2 was released on VHS through International Video Entertainment. Please take the time to check out their call bumper:
This is true 80’s brilliance. It’s why you read this column each week. When logo and company names were more simple. Silent Night, Deadly Night part 2 isn’t a good movie. It’s about 70% recap of the original picture with added narration and the new story of Billy’s brother/Crazed Santa Claus Killer Numero Dos. Of course there are scenes that make this an absolute cult favorite and make me laugh every time I watch the damn movie, but I hesitate to even consider turning it on knowing that I’ll sit through about 90 minutes of recap. Still there’s something to be said about watching part 2. You really do get two movies in the time it takes to watch one. In that sense I suppose it’s economical. Might as well split screen the bitch and call it a day.
Director Lee Harry created this little opus and Street Soldiers in 1991. Other than that his credits are sort of a hodge podge of other on set tasks mostly inclusive of his role as an editor. The writing team includes eight people according to IMDB. Let’s not even try to tackle that. Eric Freeman who plays Ricky Caldwell was also in an uncredited role in Children of the Corn. He also had a role in an episode of Just the Ten of Us as Poco (alongside the Nightmare on Elm Street chicas… mucho sexy). Elizabeth Cayton as Jennifer had roles in Twins and Friday the 13th VII.
Yes, we love the line “Garbage Day”. Sure, I love a good battery charger in the mouth kill followed by an antennae strangulation, but this if the original movie was a cash grab this is like stealing a bone from a dead dog.
ANCHOR BAY CHRISTMAS SURVIVAL DOUBLE FEATURE REVIEW
This is the original, uncut edition of the first film. It’s essentially the same release Anchor Bay had put out years ago and discontinued now receiving a re-release on the merit that it should sell quite nicely alongside the remake (This is good marketing and this makes happy horror fans). Part 1 includes an interview with the director, poster/still gallery and Santa’s Stocking of Outrage (check it out yourself). Part 2 includes audio commentary with writer/director Lee Harry, the trailer, poster/stills and the original screenplay on DVD-ROM.
What you’re not getting… a Blu-ray release. Before the first movie even begins we get the disclaimer that the quality of certain scenes may be noticeably different as they were added to the theatrical cut. Still, it’s not exactly in need of a visual or audio update at this time, so we’ll give them a pass.
This is a good pick up for the horror fan on a budget. You’ll want to watch each film on a different night given the recap-fest of the second movie. The two disc set is well organized, comes in traditional double feature packaging and only missing the big box VHS case.
You can pick up the Christmas Survival Double Feature of Silent Night, Deadly Night part 1 and 2 HERE. Comes out December 4th.
Keep your heads clean, your tape magnetic and your tracking adjusted.-Dr. TERROR WWW.DOCTERROR.COM
PS. I dare someone to ask Santa Claus for a copy of this release for Christmas! BE GOOD FOR GOODNESS SAKE!!! Feel free to send us a copy of your letter to Santa Claus (post below in the comment section or email to firstname.lastname@example.org)