Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

Rating: 8/10

In 1971, Billy witnessed his parents murdered by a crazed man in a Santa Claus costume, then, when he’s 18 over ten years later, he has PTSD that pushes him over the edge when he’s forced to wear a Santa costume for his job and, dressed as Kris Kringle, he begins his murder spree.

As far as slasher films go, a genre I’ve only recently become a fan of, this one is pretty good. It has a well-written story despite some things being a bit silly, but I think that’s expected from most slasher flicks and sometimes in horror films as a whole. The thing I find most surprising though is just how much controversy surrounded this film upon its release. Parents protested the images of Santa as a killer and critics bombed the movie saying things like, “the people who made this should be ashamed of themselves.” And most people seemed to think it was particularly grotesque, but given that this was when slashers were in there Golden Age, this film was released alongside Nightmare on Elm Street, for example, this movie did not contain any more blood or guts than a tamer entry in the genre.

Okay, outside of the controversy, as an actual film this one has a pretty good story, but it takes a while to get to the actual murders which is what the fans of the genre crave. Once they do get to the bloodshed, there’s a pretty good amount of it. Best kills are when there’s two kids sledding as Billy rushes out to chop one’s head off, and another is when he catches a half-nude babysitter and shoves her onto the antlers of a mounted deer head. That’s assuming your like me and like watching people get murdered (I mean, it’s all pretend…I hope).

Anyway, if you’re a fan of holiday-themed slasher flicks, you should definitely add this to your viewing list.

SCORING:

+8: Well-written and well done, better than you’d expect from a Christmas-themed slasher

-1: Might take a bit too long to get to the actual murders

+1: some great kills once they get there though

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