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Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

Is Christmas just too darn jolly for you? Wouldn’t you like to see people just get killed around the holidays rather than celebrate peace on earth and good will towards men? Thought about parading as Santa and going around killing to bring joy to yourself? Then, look no further to Silent Night, Deadly Night to satisfy your needs.

A young 5 year-old boy named Billy (Johnathan Best) is traumatized as a young kid when his parents are killed by a drunk dressed in a Santa suit. This occurred immediately after visiting his institutionalized grandfather (Will Hare) telling him that Santa only brings gifts to the good kids and punishes the other. The now eight year-old Billy (Danny Wagner), along with his younger brother Ricky, are left to leave in an orphanage under the rule of Mother Superior (Lilyan Chaulvin). Billy is constantly traumatized by being punished by Mother Superior by seeing a couple have sex, getting spanked for leaving his room and punching Santa in the nose.

As time passes, Billy (Robert Brian Wilson) is now eighteen and wanting the heart of Pamela (Toni Nero) while being forced to be a toy store Santa. He scares the children into thinking he will punish them brutally. Later at a Christmas party, Billy sees Pamela being raped by another co-worker. Billy, now in the guise of Santa, goes on a rampage, killing his co-worker, Pamela and honestly, just losing his shit. Billy kills an officier of the law and heads to the orphanage to seek revenge on Mother Superior once and for all.

Silent Night, Deadly Night is disturbing as hell and not for those who hate horror films. The film is top-notch exploitation with brutal killings and a look into a man’s psyche. It’s shocking to see such vulgarity on screen…but it’s kind of awesome that way. The film cares about the background of Billy and his build-up to being a psychopatic killer. Billy has dealt with torture and wanted to belong, yet with all the crap that kept happening to him, he realized that he must deliver a measure of payback in return. It’s amazing to see that capture. The acting is cheesy as hell though, making the film a bit too silly for my taste. The kills are fun to watch if you love seeing horror movie kills. Silent Night, Deadly Night was released around the holiday to tons of controversy and hatred among critics, yet word of mouth and a cult following brought it back.

It would be interesting if someone where to remake this and make it a les bit silly and stick to studying Billy’s mind because that is the movie’s strong point. Silent Night, Deadly Night is worth a watch for an alternate view of what the holiday brings.

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