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How Silent Night, Deadly Night Became A Cult Sensation

How Silent Night, Deadly Night Became A Cult Sensation

Stirring (2018) / Silent Night Deadly Night (1984)In November 1984 a new look on Christmas came out with Silent Night, Deadly Night.  Sure, Black Christmas came out a decade earlier, but the game changed in 1984.  November 9th, theaters released Silent Night, Deadly Night, starring unknown actor Robert Brian Wilson.  While the theatrical run didn’t draw what all involved hoped, it became a cult classic.

Silent Night Deadly Night ControversyNow, many do not know this.  The movie was not a failure in the box office due to lack of interest.  The idea of a killer Santa Claus bothered people so much, the movie was literally pulled from theaters after it’s opening week!  That is what cult classic dreams are made of.

Here is a quick plot and let’s not call this a spoiler alert because the movie is 34 years old.  A 5 year-old boy named Billy hears from nut job of a grandfather (who everyone else believes is catatonic) that Santa Claus punishes naughty kids.  This of course makes Billy afraid to see Santa.  At the same time, a man dressed as Santa, robs a convenient store and kills the clerk.  “Santa” pretends his car breaks down and Billy’s parents stop to help.  The man in the Santa suit kills Billy’s dad.  Billy escapes the car and watches as Santa sexually assaults and kills his mother.  Let’s be honest, I would hate and be afraid of Santa Claus for life if this happened to me at 5.  Billy and his baby brother Ricky go to an orphanage run by the strictest nun known to man kind.

After 3 years, 8 year-old Billy still fears Santa.  He also has a new fear in Mother Superior, who beats the kid as if he stole something.  She makes Billy sit on Santa’s lap at the orphanage.  Billy does what any child who saw Santa brutally murder his parents would do.  He sucker punches him!  Mother Superior continues to teach Billy that all naughty deeds warrant a severe punishment.  This is key for later.

We now fast forward 10 years.  Billy, an 18-year old gets a job stocking boxes.  An issue arises and the man playing Santa cannot make it.  They ask Billy to fill in.  You can see as a viewer where the problem would be.  Billy sees a co-worker getting too physical with a female co-worker.  Shall we pause here?  Billy’s taught that A, all wrong doing deserves severe punishment and B, Santa punishes those who are naughty.  Gee what can go wrong?

Billy kills the assailant. The young woman by the way, shows no gratitude to this hero, who saved her from a clear rape.  She shames him and torments him.  He kills her next.  Billy goes around and kills those who are naughty on Christmas Eve.  The next morning Billy heads to kill Mother Superior at the orphanage, before he’s gunned down by police.  Ricky witnesses this and as you can guess, a franchise is born.

That is a quick plot.  Let’s discus how this has become such a cultural icon of a film.  You cannot ignore that pulling it from the theaters didn’t have something to do with it.  By a show of hands, if you’re told you can’t do something, how many of you are gonna try it?  Exactly.  That made it desirable, but the film stands on its own merits as a solid one.  One of the best deaths, and there were a few gems, was Linnea Quigly‘s.  Billy hanging her on antlers not only reeks of creativity, but at the same time shows the brutality of tormented Billy .

We’re now 34 years removed since Silent Night, Deadly night hit theaters and changed the Christmas horror film.  Spawning 4 sequels and a remake titled Silent Night (and starring Malcolm McDowell), qualifies the movie as a classic.  Cast members frequent the convention scene and Robert Brian Wilson wears the Santa suit for photo ops.

As I wrap and we approach Christmas always remember, acting naughty will warrant punishment.


Posted by Crypt Keeper Clint in Categories, EDITORIALS, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE: Scream Queen Linnea Quigley

BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE: Scream Queen Linnea Quigley

"Do you ever wonder about all the different ways of dying? You know, violently? And wonder, like, what would be the most horrible way to die?"
All true horror fans know this quote by heart and the petite beauty who said it--------Trash from the 1985 cult classic Return of the Living Dead. This memorable role was played by the gorgeous Scream Queen Linnea Quigley.
Linnea was a small town girl from Idaho, but I imagine she always knew she was not quite your average Idahoan. After moving to LA with her family, she started modeling and had a few roles in B movies like Stone Cold Dead and Fairy Tales. In 1985, she was snagged up to play the role of Trash in ROTLD and cemented herself in horror history and secured her title of America's Scream Queen.
Since ROTLD, she has continued to act and even produce films such as Ceepoziods. Linnea is a devoted animal rights activist and can always be found with her beloved pets. One of the most popular celebrities on the convention circuit, you will always find her offering a smile and a hug. I had the great opportunity to meet and hang with her at the 2016 Days of the Dead festival in Louisville, KY. So sweet, petite, and full of life. I could have talked to her all day.
Let's wish a big happy birthday to Barbara Linnea Quigley! I hope all her day was a scream.
Happy Nightmares!
ZombieGurl
Posted by ZombieGurl in CELEBRITY BIRTHDAYS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: The Barn (2015)

MOVIE REVIEW: The Barn (2015)

The Barn, a 2015 Indie horror film written and directed by Justin Seaman and brought to you by the good people of Nevermore Film Productions, will definitely bring a nostalgic smile to your face!
The Barn tells the tale of three supernatural entities that are brought back to life by trick-or-treaters who knock on the doors of a small town barn that has a haunted past. The Barn opens on a town gathering where the local clergyman is kicking off the local annual Halloween hootenanny in 1959. A young boy and girl swap glances during the introduction and quickly take off for the taboo barn after the Hootenanny opening speech. They stand back from the barn door, daring each other to trick-or-treat. At last, paying no mind to the warnings of the clergyman, the young girl takes off her Halloween mask and knocks on the barn door, yelling, “Trick or treat!” only to swiftly meet her demise.
And so the story begins...30 years later.
We are quickly introduced to a group of high school seniors who loves Halloween, lead by Sam, in the group who lives and breathes for Halloween, as Halloween 1989 approaches. Sam truly believes in all of its glory, spirits, and the tradition of trick-or-treating. After reluctantly deciding this would be their final Halloween, the group elects to make their mark in an elaborate plan to collect record amounts of candy, trick all who offer no treats, and finish the night at the perfect Halloween concert. Ultimately they decide to test the local Halloween legend of the ritual that summons the spirits of Halloween. Will the Halloween spirits will be raised or will the group make the concert?
The Barn is a fun movie – a lot of fun! I've got to admit that I really didn't know what to expect at first. I love – actually, I absolutely adore – Halloween-based films so much so that I can be very hard to please with them. It’s a heavy cross that I bear to love something so much and yet be so judgmental. Pretty much from the get-go, however, I was sucked in with The Barn. It deals a lot with Halloween folklore and tradition, both of which utterly fascinate me, and the film immediately put me in the Halloween spirit. And that’s the true test of a Halloween-based film.
The movie itself is set in 1989, from the attire to the lingo used in the film. Hell, even down to the score/music for The Barn, offered up by musician, director (10/31/16) and co-producer of The Barn, Rocky Gray. Even the gratuitous topless girl during a make-out scene (the breasts got their own credit) to the special effects, blood, and gore used during the film is like taking a giant step back in time...but in a very good way! And, I must say, that adding two small roles in the film, played by Ari Lehman and Linnea Quigley, was a great enhancement to the 80s feel and a great touch overall to the film itself.
I must give props to director Justin Seaman for not only having directed The Barn but also having starred as the lead evil Halloween spirit. Justin puts you so in touch with his vision for the film, that you'll be humming the music to Miami Vice while looking for your parachute pants and “Frankie says Relax” t-shirt after the movie. I’ve seen a lot of retro films (mostly bad because they just cant seem to pull it off), and The Barn is one that succeeds on any level!
If you're looking for something that's fun, a good time, not too dark, and not too serious, but still a serious horror film, I highly suggest that you check out The Barn. Go ahead and do yourself a favor. Step on over to The Barn official website and pick up your own DVD ‘cause it is definitely worth it!
Keep it Evil…
Posted by John Roisland in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW (RETRO): Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

MOVIE REVIEW (RETRO): Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

By Kev B.

Silent Night Deadly Night poster

 

My favorite holiday horror flick is another one that brings me back to my awesome childhood, growing up in the 80’s with one of the coolest Moms on earth. Way back then, before the internet, we had a show with two opinionated douche nozzles who did movie reviews, called Sneak Previews and later At The Movies. A week before Halloween back in 1980, Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert had declared war on horror movies, and dedicated an entire episode of their show to a disturbing new trend in Hollywood, the slasher film. How douchey were they? Well, Siskels review of Friday the 13th for the Chicago Tribune included this gem of a quote "It has been suggested to me that a great way to keep people from seeing a truly awful movie is to tell them the ending" so he spoiled the reveal to discourage readers from seeing it. He also encouraged a letter campaign to harass the studio, producers, and even Betsy Palmer for taking part in the film.

Silent Night Deadly Night Controversy

In 1984 Siskel and Ebert reviewed Silent Night, Deadly Night. They said it was crude and mean spirited and that the profits made from the movie were blood money. They read the names of the film's production crew on air, shaming them and again encouraging viewers to send hate mail. Whenever they were outraged, Mom and I knew we had a winner and ran off to the theater to check it out. The more disgusted and repulsed they were, the more excited I would get. In fact, they’re the reason I write reviews today, as I had always wished I had a like minded critic whose opinion I could trust. And it really is all a matter of taste and opinion, including the debate on artistic merit. Ya ever heard the old saying: Opinions are like assholes, everybody’s got one… and most of them stink.

They say there is no such thing as bad publicity, but the shit storm that ensued and the protests at showings of the film caused the studio to pull it from theaters a week or so after its release. Had it not been for that TV commercial running at dinner time across America, the movie probably would’ve had a moderate run in theaters and went unnoticed. And despite Silent Night Deadly Night out-grossing Wes Cravens A Nightmare On Elm Street, also released on the same day, they listed the film as one of the worst of 1984. The major fatal flaw was that 30 second television commercial, not the movie itself, as most of the outraged protesting parents didn’t even see 30 seconds worth of the movie.

"My 3-year-old son saw the television commercial for Silent Night, Deadly Night last week and now refuses to sit on Santa's lap for our annual Christmas picture this year. How dare producer Ira Barmak rob my child and others like him of their fantasy. Make the splatter films, if you must, about adult subjects and leave our holidays alone. What next? A marauding turkey at Thanksgiving? Think of the children!!!"

The subject of the controversy is almost more interesting than the movie itself, and in the long run it’s helped more than it hurt this fun little slasher. It put the movie on peoples radar, and actually solidified and justified its mark in horror history. It wasn’t the first killer Santa movie, and it aint the last, but its my favorite and it’s become a holiday tradition for me and many others out there.

Silent Night Deadly Night protest

Poor Billy Chapman never had a chance, he had that perfect storm of consequences that effected his life and mind so deeply it would’ve been a miracle if he turned out a well adjusted young man. The movie begins, Christmas eve 1971, with Billy at 5 years old visiting his grandfather at the Utah mental facility with his parents and baby brother Ricky. Grandpa seems catatonic until poor Billy is left alone with him for a few minutes, he snaps out of it and tells the young boy “Santy Claus only brings presents to them that's been good all year. All the other ones, all the naughty ones, he punishes! What about you, boy? You been good all year?” “You scared, ain't ya? You should be! Christmas Eve is the scariest damn night of the year!”

With that still fresh in his young mind, the ride home is cut short by a chance meeting with a derelict on a crime spree dressed in a Santa suit. After witnessing his parents murdered at the hands of Santa, Billy and little brother Ricky are sent to St Mary's home for orphaned children and subjected to the strict disciplinary guidance of Mother Superior. Her sadistic abuse accompanied by noteworthy quotes like “Punishment is absolute, punishment is good!” and “When we do something naughty, we are always caught. Then we are punished!” Not the best place for a kid to grow up with a possible hereditary mental illness and extreme childhood trauma.

Billy gets a job at Ira’s Toy store as a stock boy, but when the holidays come around his attitude becomes a little erratic. Add to that the need for someone to fill in as the store Santa, and before we know it Billy is all dressed in red and white and looking a little stressed. The store closes and the bottle opens and the celebration begins, Christmas party at Ira’s. Turns out alcohol is the final trigger when Billy gets a few drinks in him, and before you know it holy holiday hell breaks loose. Billy goes into full on punish mode, and punish he does!

Maybe I give this movie extra credit for the nostalgia, but I still think it has a solid story, some interesting kills, and enough gratuitous sex and violence to get me thru most of the holiday season. He beheads a dude riding a sleigh. He strangles someone with a string of Christmas lights, He impales Linnea Quigley on the antlers of a taxidermied deer head, and if that don’t make you want to see it then disregard everything I’ve said and go watch Jim Carrey as the Grinch. I highly recommend you make Silent Night, Deadly Night part of your movie collection, and a holiday tradition in your home too. If you can find the double feature DVD it includes the sequel featuring Billys little brother Ricky, all grown up and crazy as hell. “Garbage Day!”

Depending on how much cheese you like with your horror there are 5 SNDN movies in the original franchise, and part 5 has Mickey Rooney in it too.

And remember… “You see Santa Claus tonight you better run boy, you better run for your life!”

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
HALLOWEEN HORRORS: The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

HALLOWEEN HORRORS: The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

The Return of the Living Dead

By Amy Lynes

Retro ROTLD poster

Directed by: Dan O'Bannon
Starring: Clu Gulager, Thom Matthews, Jewel Shepard, Linnea Quigley, Miguel Nunez, Beverly Randolph, James Karen, Don Calfa, Mark Venturini, John Philbin, Allan Trautman and Brian Peck

 

The Return of the Living Dead has long been one of my most revered horror films. It hit the theaters the day after my 13th birthday. I can remember the trailers alone, which would always be played right before bed, giving me panic inducing nightmares and terror unlike any I had ever experienced.

At this point, I was still cutting my teeth on horror and I had never seen anything with zombies in it before. I had never even heard of them, and I am telling you, the idea of them scared the living shit right out of thirteen year old me. I became obsessed with seeing this movie. I BEGGED my parents to let me go see it but my efforts were all in vain. My mother, having been thoroughly repulsed by George A Romero's Night of the Living Dead, wouldn't hear of it.

Flash forward to my Freshman year of high school and my parents leaving me alone for the weekend to go to a high school reunion. I, at long last, had a copy of the film in my hands. Victory was mine! I watched it near the Halloween season, home alone, in the dark. I was both horrified and humored. It was a delicious balance. Just when I got so freaked out I thought I couldn't handle anymore, the comedy would come full force and it kept me from totally freaking out. I think I must have watched it at least five or six times that weekend. I was totally unlike most horror films I had seen and the zombies scared me shitless, but I fucking loved it. As scared as I was, I loved every damn minute of it and it spawned an intense fascination with zombies that would last a lifetime.

There was nothing, and I mean NOTHING, I didn't like about this classic. From the wardrobes to the soundtrack, the zombie make-up, the comedy and the gore, I was completely and thoroughly hooked. It ALL pretty much rocked my thirteen year old world. And you know what? At 43, it still fucking does!

The film may be set in early July, but I will forever equate it with the Halloween season because of my first experience watching it. Halloween just wouldn't have the same feel for me if I didn't watch it this time of year. And I recommend you do the same. For me, it is definitely a must watch. If you have not seen this, and I can't imagine how the hell that would have happened, do it. Now.

Rating: 10/10 Paramedics

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments