I think one of the many reasons why “Silent Night, Deadly Night” has remained a cult classic is because it’s anything but a simple slasher film. While many movies in the eighties were content with maybe just a movie about a hacking and slashing Santa, “Silent Night, Deadly Night” is memorable for being so insane. It’s a wacky, weird, mean spirited and demented horror movie with hints of dark comedy sprinkled in. The tonal inconsistencies and almost rapid fire highs and lows of the narrative make it such a horror oddity that you can’t help but love it. There are just about five movies in one, and all of them are pretty entertaining in their own right.
Hell, Linnea Quigley even appears for a moment because—the eighties…?!
Charles Sellier’s horror film is one of the few sub-genre offerings that build our movie maniac before he becomes a maniacal Santa with an axe, and it works wonders. With a prologue in the seventies, we meet young Billy who goes to visit his grandfather with his parents and baby brother on Christmas Eve. After a traumatic experience with the demented old man, his parents end up on the wrong place at the wrong time when they cross paths with a murderous robber dressed as Santa. After he murders his mother and father, Billy is sent to live in an orphanage where he’s tormented by the Mother Superior. Later he’s grown in to a young man who begins working at a local toy store, and all seems to go well until Christmas arrives.
The way Billy is built up as a well meaning young man who clicks the moment he puts on the Santa suit is both oddly compelling and inexplicable at the same time. Most of “Silent Night Deadly Night” is so inadvertently funny, considering how Billy just keeps walking right in to trauma after trauma, and it’s a wonder he can function at all. Robert Brian Wilson’s performance is so deadpan and well measured that once he loses his mind and begins hacking people with his axe, he’s menacing and not at all over the top. Billy is actually an intriguing character dealt a shit ton of bad luck, and director Sellier makes him in to a tragic protagonist who just ends up being Michael Myers in the end. What’s interesting about Billy is we’re also never quite sure what makes him tick or lose his mind.
We just know he’s sexually repressed and equates Santa Claus with pure evil, and they clash to create this menacing monster who insists on punishing poor saps he comes across. “Silent Night Deadly Night” is filled with memorable horror moments including Billy threatening a bratty small girl as Santa, Billy mounting a topless Quigley on antlers, a sled ride that ends in a decapitation and the accidental murder of a priest that made me laugh a lot more than it should have. “Silent Night, Deadly Night” is a classic for a reason, and if you haven’t checked it out by now, Scream Factory unleashes a new edition just for the fans.
The 2 Blu-Ray Disc set comes with a reversible cover, while Disc 1 has the theatrical version of the film, and Disc 2 sports he unrated version. For Disc 1 there’s the original theatrical trailer, TV sports aplenty, a VHS Trailer, and a Radio spot. For Disc 2 there are two audio commentaries. There’s one with Actor Robert Brian Wilson and Executive Producer Scott J. Schneid, and another with Michael Hickey, Perry Botkin Jr., Scott J. Schneid and Michael Spence. “Slay Bells Ring: The Story Of Silent Night, Deadly Night” is a forty five minute beautiful and rich documentary about the film with writer Michael Hickey and company, as they discuss the creation of the film, its release, its controversial legacy and the like.
This documentary covers every minute aspect of the film’s creation. “Oh Deer! An Interview wth Linnea Quigley” is a twenty one minute with horror legend Linnea Quigley, who discusses her career, her start in the business thanks to two women at a health spa, being hit on by Jack Palance, and her experience making the movie. “Christmas In July: Silent Night, Deadly Night Locations Then and Now” is a ten minute video from July, which takes us through various locations from the film and how they look today. There’s an Audio Interview With Director Charles E. Sellier Jr. which clocks in at almost an hour, and was originally included on the Anchor Bay release. “Santa’s Stocking Of Outrage” is a four minute feature from the Anchor Bay release which involves looking at a collection of angry letters protesting the film back in 1984. Finally, there’s a Poster and Still Gallery.