|Silent Night, Deadly Night|
What can I say? I'm a sucker for tradition.
Silent Night, Deadly Night is one of the more brutal slasher flicks, but also one of the more cerebral. It takes the whole childhood trauma you'd expect of the killer in an '80s slasher flick to an entirely new realm; the entire first half of the movie is about Billy's childhood and development. It also manages to make a scathing social comment on Catholic schooling, as well as foster care, in general.
Billy is the lead character even before he becomes the killer -- another rarity for a slasher of the era -- so we get to see the entire progression of his psychopathy. The film could easily fall into the psychological sub-genre, but make no mistake about it: Silent Night, Deadly Night is a purist's slasher flick in all its gross-out, tits-out glory. This movie includes almost every trope of the slasher sub-genre, including a nekkit Linnea Quigley, as the studios had perfected the template by this time.
I don't know how many bare-assed boobs there are in this movie, but we played a drinking game where you had to drink every time there was a bare breast onscreen and the guy I was playing against got sick before the movie even finished.
The direction is lacking, as is the acting, but both are passable. The real gem in this movie is the script. Silent Night, Deadly Night could be remade using the original script and it would be a much stronger film. Still, it's gory -- very gory, very frequently. There is no denying that this flick can set you on edge, no matter what you think about Christmas.
It's worth noting that this film came under fire by numerous groups, and was even attacked by Siskel & Ebert, who were major movie critics at the time. The film was pulled from most theaters and remained suppressed for many years before showing up on VHS.
Silent Night, Deadly Night is one of my favorite movies, and receives my highest recommendation.
© C Harris Lynn, 2011