Silent Night Deadly Night series retrospect.
Tonight after a very long day of baking (or shall we say burning cookies, and having to preheat the oven at least ten times.) and day drinking, I knew it truly wouldn't feel like the holidays until I watched the ultimate Christmas slasher.
Silent Night Deadly Night.
I'm sure I'm speaking for tons of people, but it feels as if this holiday came out of nowhere. Just yesterday I was celebrating Galligangiving and Thanksgiving, now it's Christmas?! Crazy. Maybe it's because I just got off work yesterday, and with the hustle and bustle of everything, it seems insane that tomorrow is Christmas Eve. Yes I have everything done that needed to get done, but one thing I feel I feel seriously behind on was watching holiday themed movies. I tried to begin early this month but just this week I've crammed in Home Alone, Scrooged, Tales From The Darkside- Season's Of Belief, Tales From The Crypt - And All Through The House, Black Christmas, Black X-Mas, and Gremlins. I know it seems like a lot but I still feel super behind with my annual line-up. In fact I'm hoping in the next 48 hours I can cram in at least Night Of The Comet, Die Hard, Home Alone 2, and fingers crossed all of the Silent Night Deadly Night movies. In fact during Thanksgiving I watched Society, and Return Of The Living Dead 3 and tried getting into the theme of things by watching more Yuzna movies, including Silent Night Deadly Night 4 and 5. It kills me there was so time for me and my buddy Chad from The Horror BBQ to record our Silent Night Deadly Night 5 fan commentary due to how busy we've been. But hey kids, another reason to look forward to next Christmas season! Any who, tonight even though several movies I ordered came in the mail today, I'm trying to stay with the theme by watching ALL of the Silent Night Deadly Night movies. As of right now I'm watching the 1984 original classic by the light of my Christmas tree and I'm loving every second of it.
I still remember being in the third grade, and how we had this project for Black History month and how I was determined to give my speech without looking at any notecards. I remember rehearsing, and rehearsing, and rehearsing and within a few hours I actually got my whole speech down on Mr. Percy Julian (yep, still remembered the guy's name!) to celebrate my mother rented me a movie from the old school video store down the street which was always a huge sample of my childhood growing up. Rewards for me was renting horror movies, and after I proved to my mother at a young age I could handle these types of movies whenever I deserved a treat she would surprise me with some movies. This day she came home with what I believed was the coolest VHS cover e-v-e-r. Here we had Santa climbing out of a chimney on a snowy rooftop holding an axe. Instantly I knew I had to check this out. I can't really tell you my exact memories of actually watching this, but I knew I loved it. Having been a huge fan of slashers like My Bloody Valentine, I loved this gritty Canadian take on a very twisted and disturbing story of a poor young man pushed too far. Years later when I was in middle school I remembered I was hanging out with friends at my local mall and finding not only this movie on DVD but the sequel as well as a double disc set! I bought it and hours later experienced the emotional rollercoaster otherwise known as Part 2. (Interesting...to say the least) Years passed where I remembered seeing the VHS covers to part 3, 4, and 5 but never actually seeing this. Silent Night Deadly Night became a staple of mine watching every December. One night as a teen I remember even though I had seen this movie 50 + times before, I watched it on Christmas Eve with all the lights off and got really freaked out (mostly by the beginning with the parent's murder, and the scene where the cop gets killed.) This was a favorite of mine and I would watch it every single year no matter what. The movie is filled with memorable moments. My favorite of course being Linnea Quigley's famous antler death, or the haunting soundtrack. Just this month I got Mondo's soundtrack to this movie and have been blasting it almost every morning. Love singing "Warm side of the doooooorrrrrrr!"
As much as I didn't like part 2 (They seriously missed the boat with that movie.)
Over time I've always grown to love it for the piece of shit it is. Thanks to Chad's love of the movie, along with the laughable acting, one-lines, the fact 80% of the film is footage from part 1, and the famous "Garbage Day!" scene, after a few recent re-watches I've slowly understood this is the ultimate B movie. It's bad...I mean really, really, really bad. Still, I liked the idea of them continuing with Ricky the brother (I always found Billy from the original so dreamy, plus what a great ending the first movie had opening up for a sequel.) but the movie isn't complete dog shit. I really liked the scene where Ricky sees the man abusing his girlfriend and how a teenage Ricky runs him over in a jeep and how the girlfriend witnesses this and instead of freaking out she simply says thank-you. Or how about the scene of him seeing the nuns walking down the street and begins to have an episode? Decent movie, just such a mess.
I watched part 3 after scoring it during a pretty epic VHS hunt in 2011. I watched this movie alone and in my eyes this is the true sequel to part 1. The cover of the pretty girl with the colors always stood out to me as a kid. This film is beautifully shot, and besides the laughable performance of Mr. Bill Moseley (now taking over the Ricky role) with a plastic dome on his head (really people?) this movie is pretty epic. It's filled with surreal visuals, a beautiful score, and a really decent ending. The character of Laura, the blind girl who has a psychic link with Ricky is a great lead, and I've always loved her showdown with Ricky at the end.
Part 4 is where things got really weird but after FINALLY just watching it last year I completely loved it. People need to understand these movies were made at a time when horror was tanking. They had low budgets, had a lot of heat on them when they were released (part 1 being the most famous for this) and were sequels to a Christmas slasher. They aren't about to win any Oscars anytime soon. One thing they did do which was very ahead of it's time was decide to end of killer Santa brothers storyline since it truly was finished with the end of part III. Now taking place in a new universe with new characters, and a new story we shift gears to a Christmas on the West Coast and follow a beautiful young reporter who's trying to be taken seriously and investigate the mysterious death of a woman who seemed to burst into flames and fall to her death off a building.
Thanks to the amazing writer/director Brian Yuzna, and mind bending effects by Screaming Mad George, this truly is what would a Yuzna holiday movie look like. You got Clint Howard sex (I'm not joking), witches, bugs, amazing effects such as a girl basically in a cocoon, and her fingers twisting together like snakes. This is a bizarre mind trip of a movie but it's actually really good! I love the opening credits, it truly is Yuzna giving zero fucks and doing whatever he wants.
The last true original sequel is part 5 The Toymaker which is a huge guilty pleasure of mine. I really love this movie and re-watched it several times after Thanksgiving. Yet again we got a new storyline of a young boy witnessing his step-father get brutally murdered one night by a mysterious toy that was left on the doorstep. Now in shock, the boy refuses to speak over what acutely happened, while more packages are being left around town with deadly hidden agendas. This movie I watched a few years back and LOVED when I got a 3 disc set of part 3, 4, and 5 on DVD. Part 5 is a cheesy, low budget movie with a poster that truly has nothing to do with the rest of the film. I mean the tagline even tries to cash in on Home Alone which was a huge holiday hit at the time. Produced by Yuzna again, it feels like one of his movies. Yet again we get a West Coast Christmas, with even cameos of characters from the forth movie. This film features great effects and puppets by Screaming Mad George again, and features Mickey Rooney (who originally protested the original film. Guess cash was hard to come by huh buddy?) and the adorable Brian Bremer from Society and Spontaneous Combustion. These two steal the show as Petto and Pino the father and son who own the local toy store. This movie has laughable moments (Who can forget the kid completely eating shit on roller-skates that are at high speed and goes flying into a car?) or the very odd and uncomfortable scene of what is best described as a giant ken doll/robot dry humping a woman screaming mommy. Ah the early 90's, what a time to be alive. This film is a cheesy B classic and as God as my witness I will record a fan commentary to this...even if it might take me a few drinks.
Years passed and there was silence. The original as well as it's sequels gained cult status as horror fans from all over remarked on what great fun movies they were and how they were a staple to watch this time of year. Thanks to several killer companies we've gotten amazing prints, soundtracks, ugly Christmas sweaters, ornaments, shirts, and so much more based off theses movies. Fangoria even did a re-release of the first movie just a few years ago. In fact, both Billy and Ricky have been found and have started the convention circuit. I myself have only met Bill Moseley and have gotten him to sign my part 3 VHS. Thanks to DVD releases and a blu-ray release, we can watch this movies anytime we want. I myself wasn't that butt hurt over the blu-ray release. Sure it's dark but, that's all of the restored lost uncut footage. Besides who cares, it's on blu-ray now...look at how far we've come?!
Finally in 2012 it was announced at there would be a remake. Like so many other classics that's been remade we all knew the time would come. This movie went direct to DVD and I didn't end up watching until just last year when I got the DVD at a flea market for 2 bucks. This doesn't follow the original storyline. With a pretty impressive cast, it basically just pays tribute to the original in several scenes and is a much more violent take on the killer santa story. We got a small town where a crazed psycho is going around brutally murdering everyone. I was stunned by how graphic this movie was but it's a cheesy bloody mess and I loved it. I wouldn't say it's amazing, but decent. Still, would be interesting if they ever tried to remake the original movie more closely.
So there you have it, 6 Christmas themed movies, all so very different, with high and low points. These movies are a must for any horror fan and I'm proud to say will forever have lasting power and be shown every December at my house!