Silent Night, Deadly Night Parts 1 & 2 Limited Edition Box Set
Directed by Charles E. Sellier Jr./ Lee Harry.
Starring Lilyan Chauvin, Gilmer McCormick, Toni Nero, Linnea Quigley, Eric Freeman, James Newman, Elizabeth Kaitan, Jean Miller.
Box set featuring two seminal Christmas slashers, given an HD overhaul in time for the festive season.
Christmas is a time for giving, and although 2020 has given us a lot not to be thankful for you can rely on the boutique Blu-ray labels to dig deep into the vaults come the festive season. Having given us a fantastic Blu-ray release of the original Black Christmas a few years back, 101 Films have stuck with the Christmas theme and dug up 1984s controversial Santa slasher Silent Night, Deadly Night for a 4K scan, along with its just-as-controversial sequel (for different reasons) Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 from 1987. You’re spoilt, you lot…
Not that you’d know it from looking at the star ratings at the bottom of the page. This is because both of these movies are technically not very good when gauged against other movies of a similar ilk, either from a production point of view or just as films to sit and watch for something to do, because these are movies that you could pick apart very easily and don’t really hold up to the more ‘serious’ slashers such as Halloween, Friday the 13th or The Burning. However, there is something quite satisfying about owning these movies in a rather snazzy three-disc set, loaded with extras and featuring an axe-wielding Santa on the front, an image that never fails to elicit a feeling that this is something that still riles parents to this day.
The main fault with both moves is with the pacing. The story of Silent Night, Deadly Night is a fairly simple one of a young boy named Billy who witnesses his parents murdered by a psychotic Santa by the side of the road. Fast forward a few years and young Billy (and his younger brother Ricky) are living in an orphanage run by nuns, with the Mother Superior being particularly strict with Billy and his fear of the festive season, a fear that is not entirely irrational but that doesn’t matter to the Mother Superior.
After Billy has witnessed some sexy goings on that triggers his flashbacks off again we fast-forward to Billy now as a strapping 18-year-old and working in a toy store and yes, you can clearly see what is coming as the regular store Santa is injured and unable to do it that year.
And so Billy is dressed up as Santa, trying to keep his rage in check as the bratty kids won’t leave him alone and once the store closes and the staff have their Christmas drinks Billy can’t take any more and goes on the rampage, murdering his colleagues and then going out to find anybody he deems as ‘naughty’, including a topless Linnea Quigley and a sledging bully going a little too quick to stop himself losing his head.
Yeah, it’s all a bit ridiculous but Silent Night, Deadly Night is mean-spirited enough to make the kills feel a bit more savage than they really are but the trouble is that the good stuff doesn’t really happen until the final 20 minutes of the film, which means you get about an hour of Billy gurning and getting teary-eyed as people either shout at him or repeatedly tell him everything is fine, and playing it totally straight when the visuals and the kills are quite absurd is not as much fun as, say, Jason X or any Elm Street sequel you care to mention.
And so Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 tries to redress that balance by going the other way and being as ludicrous in its performances as it is in its kills. Story-wise we pick up with Billy’s younger brother Ricky, who is now in an asylum (of course) and recants what happened to him after the events of the first movie. Naturally, this involves the first 40 minutes of the film being scenes from the first one so that keeps the production costs down but if you’re watching these films one after the other then you might feel the need to skip these bits, having just watched most of it. Conversely, you could not bother with the first movie at all and just watch this one as it gives you all the key moments again but with added silliness.
Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 has become just as infamous as its predecessor but not because of the Christmas killer element, which is toned done a little as Ricky doesn’t feel the need to dress up as Santa to kill whoever upsets him. No, this movie has gained a reputation for a certain scene and its ‘Garbage Day!’ line, uttered by a wide-eyed Ricky as he shoots an innocent man putting out his bins, and whilst it is totally ridiculous and almost Troma-like in its execution, this was 1987 and expectations to make a serious franchise slasher at this point were well and truly out of the window, along with the quality control which, in a way that only the die-hards will understand, is what gives this film its charm.
As with the first film not a lot happens – or not a lot you haven’t seen already – in the first half and it is a rushed second half that offers up what you came to see, and whilst there are kills aplenty in the second half it does feel a little lazy, like somebody remembered that they actually had to write some new material to bulk up the flashbacks.
Whatever the merits of both movies, 101 Films have delved deep into Santa’s sack to make this a package worth shelling out for. Silent Night, Deadly Night is presented in a 4K scan that, whilst still containing a bit of grain and a few pops here and there that only add to the retro feel of it, looks gorgeous thanks to its rich colour palette, especially those seasonal reds that get splattered around once Billy starts the killing. Not only do you get the Theatrical Cut in 4K but also the Extended Unrated Version in 4K, although the added scenes are taken from a less polished source but it isn’t too distracting and you get to see one character’s infamous death on the antlers of a mounted deer as it was intended to be seen.
Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 isn’t quite as sparkly, only getting a 2K restoration but it is a less colourful film to start with and it still looks good tarted up a bit. Both movies come with audio commentaries, lengthy featurettes featuring interviews with key cast and crew members, a short featurette catching up with Ricky in the asylum today, trailers and a collector’s booklet, all wrapped up in a rigid slipcase featuring new artwork that is bound to upset the parents of young children should this release be found on the shelves in your local Blu-ray emporium (or supermarket).
So as previously stated, the star ratings for these movies don’t really reflect the joy that genre obsessives will get from owning this pretty definitive edition of a pair of films that are held in fairly fond regard, despite them not actually being that good. Nevertheless, praise be to 101 Films for taking the time to make these movies look as good as they do and for putting together a package that collectors will definitely want to own, but you might have to be quick as given the infamy of the title amongst connoisseurs the sets are bound to sell out fairly quickly, make it a smashing Christmas present for the horror fan in your life.
Silent Night, Deadly Night – Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★
Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 – Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★ ★