According to sources, Lee Harry’s “Silent Night Deadly Night 2” was given a horrible budget, and was asked to re-cut the original film to make it look brand new. What we get is basically a barebones plot about the brother of the original murderer… for about thirty minutes or so. About seventy five percent of the film is a highlight reel from the original film with everything from the origin of the series, to every single murder that ensues, right down to Linnea Quigley’s famous death. While that amounts to nothing, Eric Freeman works overtime to make this “sequel” a worthwhile viewing experience, and he accomplishes that.
Years after Billy Caldwell went on a murder rampage, his little brother Ricky, who survived the night of his parents death also grew up to become a vicious psychopath. Now under the order of a mental asylum, on Christmas eve, a doctor tries to figure out how he descended in to murder and torture. Ricky recalls everything that happened to his brother inexplicably, and then tells us his story, which involves falling in love with a girl, and taking pleasure in murdering people he deems sinners, punishing them with the severe of deaths he can chalk up.
“Silent Night Deadly Night 2” skates by on the fact that Eric Freeman’s performance is so over the top it becomes gradually entertaining. The moment he’s on screen, he can barely deliver a line of dialogue without looking like a cartoon, but it’s invariably becomes charming. Freeman hits every bit of dialogue like William Shatner, and he’s a lot of fun to watch. It’s a big task that director Lee Harry asks of star Freeman who has to recall everything we’ve already seen from the original film with some sense of excitement. Once you figure out the movie is just a clip show for the original movie, it gets boring very quickly, but Freeman has a good time, nonetheless. A lot of the film’s fun is also pointing out how hopelessly silly and low budget the premise is.
How can Billy recall every single murder his brother took part in, beat for beat, when he was never even there with him during those moments? And what exactly was the doctor hoping to accomplish by interviewing Billy? You have to appreciate the big gun massacre where Ricky has a good time offing random passersby, as well as his murder of a theater patron in the middle of what looks like an office dressed to look like a small theater. Once we finally do get to Ricky’s own killing spree, it’s more dark comedy you can’t help but laugh at, as he has a showdown with a nun in a wheelchair. Despite the director’s best efforts he can’t derive too much tension from the confrontation, but again, star Freeman sells the experience with as much enthusiasm as is possible. “Silent Night Deadly Night 2” is terrible, but I get why it’s a cult classic, so I can’t hate it too much, in the end.
The new edition from Shout! Factory features an audio commentary with director Lee Harry, and actors Eric Freeman and James Newman. There’s also an audio commentary by co-writer/director Lee Harry, co-writer Joseph H Earle and actor James Newman. “Slay Bells Ring Again: The Story Of Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2” is an exhaustive seventy five minute documentary produced by Justin Beahm’s Reverend Entertainment. Included are extensive interviews with with co-writer/director Lee Harry, actors Eric Freeman, James Newman, Elizabeth Kaitan, Darrel Guilbeau, Kenny McCabe and makeup effects artist Christopher Biggs.
There’s also a very detailed and lengthy exploration of the film’s production, behind the scenes photos, and some very detailed accounts of working on set. “I Don’t Sleep” is an hour long interview with makeup effects artist Christopher Biggs, who discusses how he got his start, and discussing his career film by film. There are also behind the scenes test photos and looks at effects. “Garbage Days Are Here Again” is a nineteen minute segment revisiting the various locations of the film from Southern California where it was shot. Star Eric Freeman joins the trip to provide some insight. There’s the eight minute “Ricky Today Short Film” directed by Justin Beahm and written by Eric Freeman. Finally there’s the original theatrical trailer, and the trailer for “Finding Freeman,” an up coming documentary about actor Eric Freeman.