Risen and Revisited: Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
Hey there, Creepy Peeps! Welcome to another revisit review! I figured for the first Christmas-y revisit I would have to do the classic: Silent Night, Deadly Night (Charles E. Sellier Jr., 1984). You can watch my original review here:
I feel my reviews won’t really be that different from each other, but I thought it would be interesting to look back and see what my thoughts on this movie were a year ago. So, originally, I did a remake versus original between Silent Night, Deadly Night and Silent Night (Steven C. Miller, 2012), and I remember liking the original more, although the remake (which isn’t even really a remake) is not that bad.
At first, I remarked at how I like the choice of music and how easily Christmas music is made creepy, which I still find true. I also liked the focus on Billy’s (Robert Brian Wilson) psychological spiral out of control. I noted how I thought Mother Superior’s (Lilyan Chauvin) treatment of Billy was just as much at fault for his rampage as was the murder of his parents.
I also noted how I liked the controversy surrounding this movie, which I highly suggest you look up because this film got dragged so hard by angry parents. In short, people were upset that the ads for the film featured an ax-wielding Santa Claus – I mean, it’s rated R, so just don’t let your kids look at the poster. It’s not like any kids who still believed in Santa would have been able to see this film at the time of its release. Fortunately, the release of Silent Night in 2012 – by which time an ax-wielding Santa had become socially acceptable – made it possible for Silent Night, Deadly Night to get a second lease on life.
Finally, in my original review, I remarked how I wasn’t a huge fan of Danny Wagner’s portrayal of Billy at eight-years-old. Although I pretty much faulted the director for telling the kid to act how he did, I’m sure it was not Wagner’s fault. In addition, I wasn’t a fan of the very last second of the film, which (SPOILER ALERT) shows Billy being gunned down in the orphanage in front of his little brother. Ricky (Alex Burton) then looks from his brother’s body to Mother Superior and says: “Naughty.” And that’s the end of the film.
Watching this now, I pretty much agree with everything I said originally, with only a few exceptions. After seeing Christmas Evil (Lewis Jackson, 1980), I found Silent Night, Deadly Night to be much darker than the first time I saw it. I found myself blaming Mother Superior more for Billy’s mental break more than seeing his parents murdered.
This time around, I didn’t mind the child actors so much, I may have just been being nit-picky last time, it really wasn’t that bad. But, I still think the ending thing with Ricky is still from left field; it’s random and just an excuse to make more movies, I think.
So, what do you think of Silent Night, Deadly Night? Do you like any of the sequels? The remake?
Let me know in the comments and, until next time, stay strange!