Silent Night, Deadly Night: An Instant Holiday Tradition
Review by Christina Bergling
Posted at www.moviepilot.com. Reposted with permission.
(The gist: Silent Night, Deadly Night manages to blend psychological horror perfectly with the Christmas season. It also brings the best of 80s horror without crossing the line into awful. It was the horror I needed to make it through this holiday season and may just become a Christmas tradition for me.)
Poor Billy. His senile grandfather creepily tells him how Santa will punish him for all his trespasses. Then on the way home from the nursing home, Santa (or at least a psycho in the costume) slaughters his family right in front of him. Then he is forced to celebrate his then loathed holiday by Mother Superior in the orphanage.
All that will ruin your Christmas. It does, however, make for a good premise for a Christmas horror movie.
80s horror is hit and miss with me. There is the brilliant (Nightmare on Elm Street). There is the awful but awesome (Friday the 13th). And then there is just bad. Bad, bad, ridiculous bad. Silent Night, Deadly Night, thankfully, managed to embody the best of 80s horror.
The premise had me instantly, of course, due to its psychological element. Traumatic childhood Christmas experiences resulting in a homicidal rampage, yes, please! I cared about poor little Billy; I empathized with him. And I understood why he went psychotic. I wanted him to.
The gore was good. Nothing like a topless woman in Daisy Dukes (in the snowy middle of winter) being impaled on the horns of a mounted buck’s head. That, in itself, was a Christmas present to me. Being an 80s horror movie, there were plenty of boobs to be seen. I also loved that Santa’s (Billy’s) weapon of choice was an axe.
Silent Night, Deadly Night is the right amount of festive to make me feel merry as we all too rapidly approach the Christmas holiday. Yet it is still true to horror. There is still fear and gore and all the things I needed. It manages to balance the two perfectly to bring my great love of good horror movies to a less than terrifying holiday season.
I may just have to include Silent Night, Deadly Night in the ranks of my yearly Christmas viewing. -Christina Bergling