Silent Night, Deadly Night

He knows when you've been naughty.

Thriller Horror
79 min     5.9     1984     USA


Billy Chapman, who was traumatized by his parents' Christmas Eve murder, then brutalized by sadistic orphanage nuns, grows up to dress as jolly St. Nick for a yuletide rampage to punish the naughty.


John Chard wrote:
The Original Bad Santa. A cult horror classic, Silent Night, Deadly Night is something of a treat for the old school horror faithful. Plot has a young boy witness the slaying of his parents by a man dressed as Santa Claus. He grows up in an orphanage run by an over zealous Mother Superior, moves out when manhood beckons and gets a job in a department store. Come Christmas time he is coerced into being the store Santa and promptly cracks up, grabbing an axe and wreaking slasher hell on everyone who gets in his way. That's pretty much it, the stalk and slash formula in all its bloody glory. It's done very well here, with invention, genuine shocks and it's all boosted by having the mad Santa as an angelic faced beefcake (Robert Brian Wilson). Of course any new-age horror film fan coming to it for the first time now will struggle to see what the appeal is? So listen to the staccato music, feel the nastiness - the humbug of it all, observe that the film makers don't use filler or padding - they get in for some short sharp shock, and it's deliberately icky to garner a reaction. Masterpiece of horror cinema? No of course not, the acting is sub-standard, the ending rushed, but in the same year as Wes Craven unleashed one of cinema's ultimate bogeymen upon us, Charles E. Sellier Jr. and his writers offered us a reason to actually hope Santa Claus doesn't exist. 6.5/10
Wuchak wrote:
_**Beware: An ax-wielding Santa**_ A traumatized boy grows up at a Catholic orphanage in a small Utah town near the mountains. Once he gets a job at a toy store at 18, havoc ensues. "Silent Night, Deadly Night" (1984) is infamous for causing moral outrage when it was released, but I never understood the indignation. Not only is this a horror flick, it’s a slasher. Shock and grisly killings come with the territory. Aduh. Consider clowns for a moment. They are whimsical & funny and yet no one had an issue when they were used for scares in “He Who Gets Slapped” (1924), “Terror on Tour” (1980) and “Poltergeist” (1982). How exactly is Santa off limits, especially since he was depicted as the killer twelve years earlier in “Tales from the Crypt” (1972), not to mention four years earlier in “Christmas Evil” (1980)? Unlike many slashers, this one takes the time to establish why the killer does what he does. The tone is mostly serious, but there’s also a wink of humor or camp here and there. While it lacks the mood and artistry of “Silent Night, Bloody Night” (1972), it’s serviceable as a one-dimensional (and sometimes amusing) slasher. I appreciated the scenic mountain town locations. Linnea Quigley is notable on the female front as Denise, as is winsome Toni Nero as Pamela. Both are shown top nude so, if that offends you, I suggest staying away. The full version is succinct at 1 hour, 22 minutes (while the theatrical version is 3 minutes shorter). It was shot at Heber City & nearby Midway, Utah, which are both east of Salt Lake City on the other side of the mountain pass. GRADE: B-