Malcolm McDowell

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
EXCLUSIVE MOVIE REVIEW: Rob Zombie’s 31

EXCLUSIVE MOVIE REVIEW: Rob Zombie’s 31

By Jonathan Patrick Hughes

Rob Zombie - Fair use doctrine.

Rob Zombie

Most films by Rob Zombie are like a mixed batch of coffee flavors. Some we love, some we loathe, and some are just okay. With that being said, I was highly eager to check out his new film to see if what he promised was delivered. 31_TheaterSpecial thanks goes out to Fathom Events for having this one night screening.

Love him or hate him, but we at least must appreciate the fact that Rob Zombie is one of the hardest working men in the industry. When he isn't behind the camera, he is recording an album and when he isn't recording an album, he is touring the world.

Rob Zombie's 31 poster 01 - Fair use doctrine.His latest film, 31, was the first film to raise money by using a crowdfunding site, which he got a bad rap for from people stating, "He is a sell out” and " His movies suck, which is why he needs to do it this way, rather than having a studio back him up because he is a horrible filmmaker”. Well, as you all can see, he was still very successful at achieving a nice sized budget to make the film he wanted to make for hardcore fans, and that's exactly what he did.

Rob Zombie's 31 04 - The 31 crew

The 31 crew
L-R: Harry, Jonathan, Sydney, Leeana

I was fortunate enough to be one of the few people to check out 31 with longtime friends/co workers, Leeana, Harry, and Sydney, and I am really glad I did.

The film takes place on Halloween, 1976, and we are introduced to five carnies who are traveling to their next stop. Let’s just say they don't make it as they planned. Instead, they are kidnapped and taken to a factory where they are forced to play a game of 31. The rules are simple. Survive the night for 12 hours and, if you have to kill by doing so, then that’s what needs to be done. We are treated to some of the most crazy lunatics I have ever witnessed on screen, and it made me want to see more of them. Some are more likeable than others, but they all did the job they were supposed to do.

From the opening segment I was hooked. We are introduced to Doom Head who is played by Richard Blake (Halloween II (2009)) He is a soulless human being with some of the most powerful dialogue ever written by Zombie himself. His opening monologue sets the mood and it sums up what Rob Zombie has in store for the audience.

Rob Zombie's 31 01 - Fair use doctrine.

Roscoe and Charly

The film delivers a very appealing cast, from the goodies to the baddies, and all the performances are on par which made the film even more enjoyable. I did not once feel that any character was lacking or overstepping their boundaries or their welcome. In every scene, each character, nails it, and you can’t help but enjoy them and are pleased by the things they say and do while they last.

This is very rare in a Rob Zombie film since he likes to come up with many characters that may or may not be needed in a given film. Some just seem to be there to fill up space even though they don't serve a purpose. Not here.

Rob Zombie's 31 - Schizo-Head and Psycho Head - Fair use doctrine.

Dueling clowns?

31 has some of the best editing in any Rob Zombie film. One scene in particular deals with two clowns with chainsaws in two different rooms, and the way that scene was cut may very well be my favorite scene in any Rob Zombie movie. The tension was high and the bloodletting is unstoppable.

Rob Zombie's 31 poster 02 - Fair use doctrine.31 is nothing more than a rusty chainsaw blade to the Adam's apple, and it delivers on every level. I was in awe from start to finish. With that being said, I felt like 31 was The Devil's Rejects meets a psycho twisted carnage circus of terror.

Posted by Alan Smithee in EXCLUSIVE, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments
This Just In: Corbin Nash is the New Face of Vampires

This Just In: Corbin Nash is the New Face of Vampires

Vampire Films Getting New Blood

By Woofer McWooferson

Dean Jagger as Corbin Nash

Dean Jagger as Corbin Nash.

Corbin Nash has been a movie long in planning, but it looks like it will start filming by the end of the month. Written by brothers Ben and Dean Jagger along with Christopher P. Taylor, Corbin Nash is set to be directed by Ben and to star Dean in the titular role. The story is the age old tale of a child whose parents are murdered so he becomes a cop in order to track down his parents' murderer, but this time there's a twist – the cop is murdered and returns as “the ultimate killer”. In an early interview about the film, Ben Jagger described Nash as a “down and dirty character with all of his flaws and imperfections to show his humanity is still within. An anti-hero the audience could get behind, despite the fact he is a monster”. This is a far cry from the more recent vampire depictions, which Ben described as “ pretty people with fangs falling in love”, and is a welcome change to the vampire genre.

Corbin Nash has slowly been acquiring a strong cast in preparation for filming. In addition to Dean Jagger, genre veterans Bruce Davison (Willard), Rutger Hauer (The Hitcher), Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange), and Corey Feldman (Tales From The Crypt Presents Bordello of Blood [in which he also played a vampire]) are attached to the production.

Bruce Davison as Willard.

Bruce Davison as Willard

Davison will play Nash's stepfather Jack, while McDowell and Hauer will play The Blind Prophet and a mysterious stranger respectively. Feldman, meanwhile, moves from vampire killer to cross-dressing vampire, and Richard Wagner, who is also one of the producers, will be playing Feldman's boyfriend.

Malcolm McDowell as Alex in A Clockwork Orange

Malcolm McDowell as Alex in A Clockwork Orange

The first feature from StarTree Productions, Corbin Nash promises to make vampires tough again. As Ben puts it, “I plan to film this project with more of a subjective style of shooting to give it a gritty Indie edge, which supports the narrative and the main characters attributes.” This is good news for folks tired of Edward Cullen (Twilight), Bill Compton (True Blood), and other vampire lovers (Feldman's and Wagner's characters notwithstanding), a trend that horror fans hope will burn itself out sooner rather than later.

Rutger Hauer as The Hitcher.

Rutger Hauer as The Hitcher

You can check out Corbin Nash's Facebook page and follow developments on its IMDb page. As always, House of Tortured Souls will keep you updated as more details surface.

Corey Feldman in Tales From The Crypt Presents Bordello of Blood.

Corey Feldman in Tales From The Crypt Presents Bordello of Blood

Let House of Tortured Souls know what you think.

Posted by Alan Smithee in HORROR NEWS, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, VAMPIRES, 0 comments