As usual, the horror genre gets a very bad rap, where many people and critics consider it to be the ugly stepchild of Film. This is none more apparent than the slasher history of the 1980s, where after the huge phenomenon of 1978's Halloween, there were variant degrees of success. Probably the most pivotal year in the '80s was 1984, where the big three were A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13: The Final Chapter, and director Charles E. Sellier, Jr's notorious Christmas slasher Silent Night, Deadly Night, which caused such a stir that it was denounced by parents and critics alike. Since then, it has become a cult sensation that continues today.
The story centers on young Billy Chapman, who after having a bizarre encounter with his comatose grandfather, witnesses the brutal murder of his parents by a criminal in a Santa suit. To make matters worse, he is sent to an orphanage led by the sadistic Mother Superior who severely abuses and torments him. A few years later, he gets a job at a toy store where he is forced to dress up as Santa Claus, and this eventually unleashes his rage where he goes on a killing spree to "punish the naughty". Let's just say he's making a list, checking it twice, and if he finds out that you've been naughty, he won't be so nice.
You could say that this is really a cheesy, sleazy, and very campy slasher flick with not much pizazz or substance, and I will agree with you. However, you have to admit that it is a fun and entertaining guilty pleasure with great kills and an even greater second life. It didn't deserve the backlash that it received. It was really the marketing that ruined the movie, and it didn't focus on the deteriorating psychology of our lead character. Although he becomes a killer, you really have to feel have sympathy for him because of his childhood. It was everything that happened to him that became his undoing. That was a little unusual for that time, especially in slasher films. For that note, it is worth the watch.
Scream Factory (or really Shout Factory) really put out all the stops for this infamous movie by including not one but two versions: the theatrical cut and the unrated cut.
Disc One- Theatrical Version & (Special Features):
- Theatrical trailer
- Radio Spot
- TV Spots
Disc Two- Unrated Version & (Special Features):
- Audio Commentary with Robert Brian Wilson ('Billy') and co-executive producer Scott J. Schneid
- Audio Commentary with writer Schneid, writer Michael Hickey, composer Perry Botkin, and editor Michael Spence
- Slay Bells Ring: The Story of Silent Night, Deadly Night- featuring interviews with Hickey, Schneid, co-executive producer Dennis Whitehead, Spence, Botkin, and actors Wilson and Linnea Quigley ('Denise').
- Silent Night, Deadly Night Film Locations - Then And Now
- Audio Interview with Director Charles E. Sellier, Jr.
- "Santa's Stocking of Outrage"- a gallery of very negative reviews from parents and critics
- Poster and Still Gallery
There is also reversible cover art featuring with the original marketing poster.
I have to say that this is obviously not the greatest slasher ever made, but it's definitely not the worst. So gather all the family, get some hot cocoa, and enjoy The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, or in this case, The Grinch Who Slaughtered Christmas. Sorry, that was my little bit of horror humor.
Silent Night, Deadly Night Collector's Edition will be released on December 5.