ann hale can’t sleep tight…
Tonight’s film was released the year I was born, 1984, to a pretty pissed off group of Americans. The film had hoped to be the next Halloween but was only in theaters for two weeks before they had to yank it due to protesting parents. Basically, the newspaper ad portrayed a chimney with Santa’s arm sticking out holding an axe and this was giving children nightmares.
Instead of being responsible adults and explaining to children that this was fake, the parents made a big to do and the film and ads were pulled. Naturally, this made everyone want to see it. This made me want to see it. Obviously I didn’t want to see it in ’84 as I was an infant, but once I heard the story behind the release of Silent Night, Deadly Night, I HAD to watch.
Little Billy and his baby brother, Ricky, are taken to an old mental asylum on Christmas Eve to visit their grandfather. Billy is left alone with his grandfather who tells him to be scared as Santa only brings presents to kids who have been good all year. The naughty kids get punished. He asks if Billy has been good ALL year, to which he says no. When Billy tells his mother what his grandfather said, she says he is just a crazy old fool. Billy tells her Santa is going to punish her because saying bad things about old people is naughty.
On the ride home, they come upon a guy dressed like Santa in the middle of the road. They stop to help him thinking his car has broken down but they don’t know that he just held up a gas station and killed the attendant. When he pulls a gun on them, they try to drive away but Santa kills Billy’s parents as Billy watches from the tall grass on the side of the road.
In the orphanage, the nuns find that the memory of Billy’s parent’s death is slowly coming back to him every year. Instead of teaching him how to cope with the memory, they allow it to stay suppressed. Here is where Billy learns that naughty people are always caught and punished…always.
As a teenager, Billy gets a job at a toy store. When Christmas comes around, the store’s Santa breaks his ankle and the store is left without their seasonal star. Billy is then made to play Santa Clause for the children.
Now, the mixture of all of this is enough to drive anyone crazy. The kid watched his parents murdered by Santa Clause and then he is sent to nuns? If you were raised Catholic, you know he never stood a chance being raised by nuns after all that has happened and dressing up as the man who murdered his parents is just sick. No wonder the guy goes on a killing spree.
It’s a shame this film was pulled from theaters. It really might have enjoyed as much success as Halloween but leave it to irresponsible parents to ruin everything. This is some quality horror.
The story is consistent, the acting isn’t awful, the deaths are creative and there is some very decent cinematography. The only thing I never liked about this movie was that they had Billy running around yelling “Punish!” like a caveman every time he killed someone. I mean, the dude is crazy not stupid.
This is a far better killer Santa film than Christmas Evil. The unedited version has just been released and I, of course, preordered it. I recommend picking it up and watching it this Christmas. Enjoy!