Silent Night Deadly Night (1984)

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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
HoTS Exclusive Review: Stirring (2018)

HoTS Exclusive Review: Stirring (2018)

This time of year people want to get into a holiday spirit. They celebrate “Christmas in July”. I felt the best way to jump into that pool by reviewing an upcoming film. The movie is Stirring, written and directed by Troy Escamilla. The alternative title can be found as Mrs. Claus. Escamilla had the 2017 slasher Party Night and follows it with this Christmas slasher. Stirring has a very 80s feel to it, and we will discuss that. Let’s jump into the non-spoiler plot.

Stirring (2018)

The film begins with a sorority during pledge week. The sisters convince pledge Angela to perform some tasks to obtain admittance into the sorority. The movie fast forwards to Christmas and the Delta Sigma Sigma house is hosting a party. Angela and Amber (the alpha female of the group) exchange gifts. Amber’s gift to Angela is a painful reminder of pledge week. This is merely a sorority prank. Angela in a rage that night kills Amber and then herself.

Stirring (2018)Stirring (2018)

 

 

 

 

 

Stirring now moves ten years into the future. Amber’s sister Danielle joins the same sorority and constantly gets questioned about it. The general consensus seems to favor that she may have made a bad choice in joining Delta Sigma Sigma. The sorority house plans for it’s annual Christmas party. What the sisters do not know is that someone claiming to be Mrs. Claus is against this and emails Danielle. The email, set to the poem the “A Vist From St. Nicholas”, appears to be a warning about celebrating Christmas in that house.

Stirring (2018)

The party goes off as planned, with one hiccup. Sophie has been reported missing by her mother. Sophie left the house the night before and was murdered in one of the most creative Christmas horror film kills to date. Mrs. Claus garroted Sophie with Christmas lights from the back seat of Sophie’s car.

Stirring (2018)

Danielle then receives an unexpected visit from Angela’s mother, Mrs. Werner and let’s just say she is not there to wish Danielle a Merry Christmas.

Stirring (2018)

Mrs. Claus goes on her killing spree, murdering several party goers with holiday flare. A campus police officer informs the party that Sophie is missing and to stay close by. From here, as a viewer, you will form ideas in your head as to who the killer is. However, like all great slashers, there is a twist or two.

Now that you have an idea of the plot, here are my thoughts. Stirring hits a home run for execution but does not go over the top with effects. Its critics will claim to have seen this before but need to pump the breaks. While Stirring does have some similarities to Silent Night, Deadly Night, it is not the same movie. In fact, Stirring references the 1984 classic in dialogue. Stirring pays homage to the classics but stands alone.

Stirring (2018) / Silent Night Deadly Night (1984)

The movie hits my three musts for a great slasher: gore, cheesy dialogue, and creative kills. It pays tribute without ripping off any films and has plot twists of its own. Two names horror fans will recognize immediately are icons Brinke Stevens and Helene Udy. They both deliver extremely memorable performances and will leave fans smiling. They prove why they have longevity in horror and deserve praise for their portrayals.

Writer and director Troy Escamilla also recently won Best Director at the Crimson Screen Horror Film Festival in May. The film debuts on November 13, 2018, but some fans can see it early. Stirring has been selected for the 2018 Scares That Care Weekend in Williamsburg, VA. The movie is available for pre-order through Amazon currently. All in all, this movie hits a home run and comes highly recommended.

Stirring (2018) / Image: Troy Escamilla

Overall Grade: A+

Posted by Crypt Keeper Clint in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments