Film Review: Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

Release Date: November 9th, 1984
Directed by: Charles E. Sellier Jr.
Written by: Michael Hickey, Paul Caimi
Music by: Perry Botkin
Cast: Lilyan Chauvin, Gilmer McCormick, Toni Nero, Robert Brian Wilson, Linnea Quigley

Slayride, TriStar Pictures, 79 Minutes (Theatrical), 85 Minutes (Unrated Cut)

silentnightdeadlynightReview:

Silent Night, Deadly Night isn’t the first slasher film to take place on Christmas. It also isn’t the first to have a killer with the name Billy. Black Christmas had all of that before this movie. Black Christmas is also a better film. But that doesn’t mean that Silent Night, Deadly Night isn’t a waste of time. It is actually pretty damn enjoyable.

As a young boy, Billy is told by his crazy grandfather that Santa Claus will punish those who are naughty. Later that night, his family is killed by a robber dressed as Santa. He then goes through the rest of his childhood in an orphanage where the Mother Superior punishes those who are naughty. Billy also has developed a great fear of Santa Claus. As an adult, he overcomes his fear when he becomes the Santa in a toy store. After witnessing some coworkers being “naughty” he decides to “punish” them. The rest of the film sees Billy, dressed as Santa, killing everyone he deems as “naughty”. He also just yells out “Punish!” and “Naughty!” as he kills his victims.

The film isn’t a classic but it is decent as a mid-80s slasher movie. None of the kills are all that fantastic and some of them are completely nonsensical. Also, his ability to separate the naughty from the nice is horrible and he pretty much kills those that make things more convenient for his reign of terror.

The acting is bad, the cinematography is inconsistent, the picture quality drastically changes from shot to shot and the special effects aren’t good at all. Furthermore, the filmmakers didn’t understand the basics of physics. There is a scene where Billy strangles a coworker with Christmas lights by holding him in the air with just one arm. Billy is not a hulking beast like Jason Voorhees, he is just some scrawny white dude. There are a few other physics faux pas but that one stood out the most.

Plus, there are scenes that just don’t make sense. For instance, a cop shoots a priest multiple times in the back because he’s dressed like Santa Claus. Then the cop, as well as the nuns and kids who witnessed it, just brush it off as the cop goes off to keep doing his job.

Silent Night, Deadly Night is strange. The main reason is because it isn’t a good movie but for some reason, I really like it. Maybe it is due to how flawed it is or maybe it is because I’d just like to see more horror Christmas films. Don’t watch the sequels though, they are complete shit with no redeeming qualities. And somehow, there are five of these movies.

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