Video Rewind: Silent Night: All IS not Calm
Remember these tag lines from 1950's horror films:
"The movie that went to far!"
"They tried to ban it!"
"They didn't want you to see it!"
Only this time it was early November 1984 and the ads were for a homicidal Santa Claus in the Christmas horror themed Silent Night Deadly Night.
Sure they were successful at getting the ads from late night television off the air and the movie didn't fare as well as the producers had hoped, but a couple of years later it came out on video, gained cult status and launched four sequels.
The movie itself has a plot to it. Actually, the plot is quite believable when you think of it.
It's Christmas Eve 1971 and little Billy, his baby brother Ricky and parents are on their way to visit his grandfather in the state mental institution. When his parents leave the room for a minute, the grandfather comes out of his "catatonic state" and reminds Billy that Santa's coming tonight. He asks the youngster if he knows what Santa does to naughty children.
Terrified he figures out that he hasn't been such a good boy as he thought all year and on the drive home, his mother tells him Santa's going to bring him a big surprise. That surprise is mental instability after he witnesses his parents murdered by a roadside Santa.
The boys grow up in an orphanage where Billy is subjected to much punishment by Mother Superior. His only ally, Sister Margaret, feels for the young lad and has taken him under her wing. When he's older, she manages to get him a job working at a toy store and does fine in life until he's asked to be Santa.
Regretfully he takes the job and tells the children to behave or they'll be punished.
Once the store closes on Christmas Eve, the employee have a party and when his boss tells him he has a long night ahead of him, he knows he'll have to begin his killing spree at the store before taking it to the street.
Growing up, he had associated Santa with murder and had always tried to lead a straight as an arrow, by the book life. Well, they could have done something with the Farrah Fawcett wig he wears as Santa.
It's best to skip the sequel since it's just a rehash of the original with a few new scenes stuck in for good measure. It also tells how Ricky took over as the Santa Claus killer. And if you've seen the original, the last name changed from Chapman to Caldwell and one of Billy's original victims (a deaf mute priest) has his career changed.
Part three (aka Better Watch Out or Blind Terror) brings Ricky back. He's been in a coma for the last six years and is being worked on by a doctor who believes that psychics can communicate with those in comas. Of course it works and after he goes on a slaughtering spree at the hospital, he tracks down the girl giving him life to her grandmother's house in the country where he waits for her.
Now you're probably wondering how he had gotten into his coma. Well, at the end of part two, he's riddled with bullets and has just a little bit of brain energy left, so the doctor takes a risk and tries to bring him back to life.
When a young girl falls to her death while on fire, a young reporter gets involved in the story and the set up for part four (The Initiation) has her getting mixed up with some crazy lesbians.
This is by far the second worst film in the series. If she's not being drugged, raped or puking up cockroaches, then I wouldn't recommend this to anyone. Okay, maybe my worst enemy.
Neith Hunter, Conan Yuzna and Clint Howard reprise their roles from part four to part five (The Toy Maker) in which an old toy maker (Mickey Rooney) and his son make killer toys.
However, the last two movies really don't have anything to do with the original vision of the supposed series. In the latter parts, Howard plays Ricky (a sort of geeky nerd) and in five he has a cameo as a department store Santa. Remember, Ricky is supposed to freak out by nuns, the color red and Christmas, but who's to say why they have him in this film.
With the exception of the original, each of the sequels has the "killer Santa" movie playing on television with a clip from the previous movie.
If you're still up for a scary Christmas movie, I think you'll be better off with the original and skip the rest.