Silent Night Deadly Night 2

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