21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2005
Whoever said horror was supposed to be "controversial" wasn't kidding! Yes, I love the holidays, but "no," I wasn't offended by SNDN. In my opinion, a rarity in the horror genre! "Old school" horror without question! Watching it to "let off (some) steam?" Why not!
32 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 2003
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Ah, SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT, that little slasher movie that pissed off a lot of critics and PTA groups in half the nation (it was pulled before it reached the West Coast) since the killer was dressed as Santa. Incidentally, it's easy to see why it was so controviersial, <PUNISH!> since the story is told from the point-of-view of the killer and it focuses on the factors that cause his murderous rampage. <NAUGHTY!> Gee, didn't producer Ira Richard Barmak or TriStar Pictures learn anything from the brouhaha that surrounded MANIAC (an excellent movie)? Didn't they realize that <PUNISH!> any horror movie where the murderer is the main character and not just a plot device, especially when the movie involves a sacred holiday (it worked for the excellent BLACK CHRISTMAS), <NAUGHTY!> will incur the wrath of sensitive moviegoers? (Hello, parents, it WAS rated R anyway; kids wouldn't be able to see it anyway, although those TV spots must have been scary to unwary kids.) I guess they didn't, and God bless 'em for that! Anyway, this is the good stuff here; we get an uncut presentation (with deleted scenes from another source; as with DEEP RED-THE DIRECTOR'S CUT, once you get used to the switches in quality (DEEP RED's restored scenes were in Italian only), it's a great ride), plus a telephone interview with director Charles E. Sellier, Jr., who expresses interesting and thoughtful opinions of the film and the controversy surrounding it.
But I myself prefer the hilarious sequel <PUNISH!>, which seems to piss off all the horror purists out there, especially fans of the original. Hello! This is SUPPOSED to be a comedy (along the lines of EVIL DEAD 2, which came out in the same year), meaning NOT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY! <NAUGHTY!> But anyway, I think that the editing of footage from the original was pretty cool at times, especially <PUNISH!> when it jumps from old scene to new scene. For example, when we see the scene where Mother Superior is belting Billy, it cuts between that and Ricky (Eric Freeman, who was awesome) recalling it (<Whip!> She <Whip!> was <Whip!> naughty.); I thought that was too cool. Among other things, the funniest scenes are when Ricky impales a loan shark on an umbrella and opens it, as well as Ricky's shooting spree (hence the title of this article). The commentary by the director/editor/writer, the other writer, and actor James Newman (the psychologist) enhances the humor of the movie; <NAUGHTY!> I laughed right along with them and I am glad they feel the same way that I, and a few other viewers, feel.
Anchor Bay did right by the fans of these two movies by putting them on a flipper disc. <PUNISH! NAUGHTY! PUNISH! NAUGHTY!> The supplemental material on both movies as mentioned above alone is worth the retail price! So don't be NAUGHTY!; go out and see these lost gems of the slasher wave, becasuse <PUNISH!> in the words of the grandfather in the first film, "Christmas Eve is the scariest damn night of the year!"
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2005
Ah yes, it's the film that brought the public masses into a furor not seen since The Last Temptation of Christ! It seems that the image of Santa with an axe, lobbing off heads and impaling topless B-movie queens onto antlers doesn't bring out tidings of comfort and joy. But as we all know, 99% of the protesters never saw the movie, so was the hulabaloo worth it?
SNDN starts off with a bang, as a poor little boy has one helluva Xmas eve. After being mentally traumatized by his senile grandfather who informs him that Santa punishes naughty kids, he then sees his father killed and mother raped by a deranged lunatic dressed up as Saint Nick.
Cut to several years later, and our hero is now a mentally unstable teenager, working in a store where he is forced to assume the role of, surprise surprise, Santa Claus. With his fragile sanity on the wain, he breaks down and assumes the role of the evil Santa that massacred his parents, extracting a bloody demise on all the "naughty" people.
It's tasteless, but SNDN is successful on several levels. The film contains a good amount of violence with some original killings (big thumbs up for Linnea Quigley!). Accidental humor also matches the tacky feel of the film (giving a bloody boxcutter to a "good" girl, Grandpa's hilarious speech about Santa). The concept of an evil Santa and/or murder on the Xmas holidays has been done before and done better (check out Black Christmas, THE quintessential holiday horror movie). It's a guilty pleasure movie, certainly not the coming of the anti-Christ that the protestors painted it to be. 4 Stars.
SNDN2- you could use this movie as a coaster for your drink. Mostly made up of flashbacks of the first SNDN, combined with one of the worst acting jobs I've ever seen- Ricky makes Sofia Coppolla look like Meryl Streep. If you must watch part 2, you can spend the time making a game out of how many times it looks like Ricky's eyebrows are going to fly off his face whenever he delivers a line. Naughty boys and girls should be forced to watch SNDN2, but that's just cruel punishment. 0 Stars.
Remember, "You see Santa Claus tonight you better run, boy!"
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2005
After hearing about how this film was banned, I, like anyone else HAD to see it! There is kind of an eerie silence throughout the movie which gives it a unique kind of feel. I think the Santa Claus could have been much scarier if he had some twisted/ugly face but instead it's a good looking 18-year-old saying things like "Naughty" and "Punish". The gore in the movie is quite good and scary, mostly using an axe to do his dirty work and also uses a bow and arrow and hammer to kill among other tools. I have yet to see Part 2 and the other sequels but am looking forward to seeing them! You can't beat the storyline of a killer Santa Claus, it distinguishes this movie from the rest!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2006
These movies are a cornerstone in slasher films. It for the most part started the killer santa claus films. These movies are very entertaining and keep your eyes wide open. This movie caused quite a bit of controversy in 1984 when it first came out,and when the sequel came out in 1987. For those who love slasher films GET THIS!
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2003
this movie was ill recieved upon initial theatrical release, due to 'exploitation' of xmas and dear old st. nick. while i disagree with the general disaproval, this yuletide tale certainly does warp santa, and what xmas REALLY means to poor little billy. if you've seen this, you know what i'm talking about here- seeing your parents murdered by 'santa', does not a happy holiday make. throw in a stern and overbearing mother superior to torment at every turn, and i'd be ready to sharpen the old ax myself. this one is full of the red stuff- stabbings, beheadings; even an antler impaling, courtesy of scream queen linnea quigley. jolly good fun.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2003
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
(Instead of reviewing a film you probably already know, I stick to DVD special features)
Those Extras (Part 1):
Commentary: This was really laughable, but fits in with the theme of the disc. The back cover says audio interview with the director...turns out it's actually a phone call to the guy!! Once you get passed that, it's not halfway bad. Runs for about thirty minutes and is fairly informative. Unfortunately director Sellier comes off as gruff and bothered, one of those guys who you choose your words with carefully. The only film related stuff he discusses is the infamous antlers moment and how cold it was. Really would've liked to hear how the sledding scene was done.
Misc: A dopey "extra" called Santa's Stocking Stuffer of Outrage are what appear to be letters to the editors of several newspapers upon the film's release. Anonymous cogs chiming in there two cents about the film's controversy. I read three of them and moved on.
Overall: Well, at least this is on DVD now. The transfer is beautiful, looks like the film came out last year. For whatever reason the more violent scenes switch to a murkier, cheaper look. I assume only the scenes approved by the ratings board were the ones mastered. And depsite hype, this is the full-length cut that has been available for years on VHS.
(Silent Night 2)
Commentary: Classic. Better than the film itself! Makers Harry and Earle, along with actor Newman pretty much lambast what's on screen. At least they're honest with the quality of this joke of a film. Though actor Newman comes off like a pervert/schmuck, he tires very quickly. But they're laughter gets you through some unbearably amateurish and stupid scenes.
Overall: Well, can't say at least this is on DVD, as this sequel appalled me after the great part 1. But it's included on part 1's disc so there's no avoiding it. For some smiles and low-budget filmmaking stories pop it in.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2012
Anyone who knows me or has read my articles for the last couple of years knows my love of Santa Claus slasher films. Every year a couple of my buddies and I get together and watch these exquisite gems. I can almost guarantee you I've seen the movie if it has anything to do with a crazy guy dressed up in Jolly Ole Saint Nick's duds while taking an axe to both the naughty and nice. "Christmas Evil?" Seen it. "Santa's Slay?" Seen it. "Sint?" Seen it. That episode of "Tales from the Crypt" starring Dr. Giggles dressed up as Kris Kringle? Seen it.
Two movies I'd only seen in an edited form called were recently released by Anchor Bay in the form of "Silent Night, Deadly Night Christmas Survival Double Feature." "Silent Night, Deadly Night" and "Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2" both had condensed versions in the Christmas event "Horror Remix: You Better Watch Out" which is played annually at Studio Movie Grill's nationwide. After viewing two 90-minute films cut down into one 30-minute section made me curious to see what was left on the cutting room floor by "Horror Remix" editors.
First off, an introduction to the "Silent Night, Deadly Night" series must be given to those uneducated. The first film centers on little Billy, who sees his parents brutally murdered by a man in a Santa Claus costume one fateful Christmas Eve. After spending time in an abusive Catholic Boy's Home, he is given a job at a toy store.
Everything goes fine until images of Saint Nick start popping up in the store. He suddenly begins having mental breakdowns at work. Things only get worse when he's asked by his boss to don a Santa suit and greet children. The sight of himself in the outfit drives him over the edge. Billy decides it's time to start punishing all the naughty folks he comes across.
The second movie spends about 45-minutes of its 88-minute running time rehashing old footage from the first one. 60-minutes of this has Billy's brother, Ricky, telling a psychiatrist how he was affected by his parent's death and watching his sibling abused at the hands of Mother Superior at the Boy's Home.
After telling the story, he escapes from prison and goes on one of the most hilarious killing sprees caught on film. Will someone find a way to stop him before he reaches Mother Superior and punishes her for being naughty?
"Silent Night, Deadly Night" is one of those films that I hate to say is so bad it's good. It genuinely tries to explore what makes people go crazy. You feel sorry for little Billy more and more throughout the film. No matter how it ultimately turned out, you can sense that director Charles E. Sellier, Jr. was trying to have a good time making a shocking movie with some interesting social commentary.
"Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2" is nothing but so bad it's good. Most of Eric Freeman's acting is done with his eyebrows. This begs the question, "How can someone overact using their eyebrows?" Believe me when I say it can be done.
It's easy to get through "Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2" if you just fast forward through all the scenes from the first film. You're left with about 45 minutes of wonderfully bad dialogue and a few madcap slayings you'll never forget. Just don't mistakenly skip through any of the parts in the room where the psychiatrist and Ricky are talking. There are some funny exchanges between the two of them you won't want to miss.
Special features for "Silent Night, Deadly Night" include an audio interview with director Charles E. Sellier, Jr. There's also a poster and still gallery and "Santa's Stocking of Outrage," which features negative reactions from notable personalities and reviewers about the movie when it first came out.
Bonus material for "Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2" consist of audio commentary with writer / director Lee Harry, writer Joseph H. Earle and actor James Newman. It also features a theatrical trailer, poster and still gallery, and access to the original screenplay on DVD-ROM.
Anchor Bay's "Silent Night, Deadly Night Christmas Survival Double Feature" delivers the best of both worlds. You get one movie that wants and deserves to be taken seriously to an extent and another that is just plain silly and delivers a gory good time for those with an appetite for black humor and murderous Santas. It's recommended viewing for slasher fans looking for a fun way to celebrate the season.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2006
If you've read any of my other reviews, which I'm sure you have because who doesn't like to sit and look through pages and pages of peoples opinions on movies, you'll know that I love horror movies. It's not that I sit around in black make-up and listen to slayer while sacrificing my cat over a pentigram shaped candle display, I just like to be scared.
If there is one thing I know, when someone writes a review about a movie, they either hated it or loved it. I've been trying, while I'm waiting for my job to come through, to write a few reviews on movies that I feel give the clear picture of the movie. People have given Silent Night Deadly Night or (SNDN) a pretty harsh bashing so I'm here to give you horror buffs a little more real review.
The first thing I always look for in a horror movie is, does it look well made, and is the acting of a better than average quality. When I say well made I mean does it look like it was shot in 1972 even though the movie came out in 1988. Directors make all the difference in this. SNDN looks well made. It doesn't look cheap, and the picture is clear and sharp. The camera work is done very well. The acting is pretty good to for a horror movie. It has it's cheesy moments but for the most part it is good. The only acting problem is how the main character keeps yelling naughty towards the end of the picture. After he says it for the tenth time you get the point, but they keep it going which kindof turned me off at the end.
The next thing I look for is, are the death scenes realistic and believable. This movie does an excellent job in this. The death scenes all look very well done, and all of them could have really happened. I dont' think anything turns me off to a movie more when you see a completely outrageous and elaborate death scene, that leaves you saying..... yeah right.
The only complaint I have is the girl on the elk antlers. I don't know about you, but I have experience with drywall and screws in drywall and I don't think that a mounted elk-head would be strong enough to hold up a woman. However, I heard this was a spur of the moment death sequence they came up with, so you gotta give them a little slack.
The last thing I look for in a horror movie is the ending. You spend an hour and a half watching a movie, and if the ending is below par the movie isn't as good. I think that the best example of this is Nightmare on Elm Street I. If you've seen the film you know what I mean. The ending for SNDN is pretty good. It's predictable but it's what you want to happen while your watching the movie.
The best thing about SNDN is the whole backstory. Most horror movies give you ten minutes of backstory and then on to the killing. They don't take time to develop the plot. This movie is great because it shows you why the killer is the way he is. He isn't some axe welding crazy person, he's a real person, and you feel for him. Once he goes on his rampage you understand why he is doing what he is doing.
If you love horror movies, buy the DVD. It's a classic horror filmed that started a huge uproar, which only lead to its success. Part 2 is absolutely awful, so don't even bother watching it. In fact why don't you take a screwdriver and just scratch that side of the DVD up (ha). But part one has all the key elements of a horror movie, which makes a pretty decent slasher.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 24, 2006
It is SO bad that it is comical. Eric Freeman, who plays Ricky, is probably the most atrocious actor that this country has ever seen. The storyline in this one follows little Ricky's path to the darkside, and what a strange and laughable path it is! If you watch this movie to be scared, you will be sorely disappointed. But, if you want to see some horrible acting, lame storylines and eyebrows that defy the laws of physics, then you MUST check out this movie!