Release Date: 30 November 2012
Original 80s slasher Silent Night, Deadly Night is not a great film, some might not even call it good. But it gave us this gem from Leonard Maltin: “What’s next? The Easter Bunny as a child molester?” When released, the cult film was actually banned in some theaters in the states, a concept that seems archaic today but was relevant at a time when mass murder and school shootings hadn't hit prime time news. Perhaps it had a little to do with the desecration of an innocent holiday symbol, or perhaps it just suffered the typical fate of all over-the-top splatter films. A teenaged axe murderer dressed in a Santa costume may not have gone over too well ante-Columbine, but it speaks volumes today. That’s not to say Silent Night, Deadly Night was a prescient film – it’s much too camp to have been trying for anything other than entertainment – but at least it was self-aware on some level (a murderer coming down my chimney?! It’s more likely than you think). Apparently America has grown a thicker skin since 1984, since nary an eyebrow was raised when the Thanksgiving turkey when on a homicidal rampage in 2009.
Now it’s almost thirty years since Claus first snapped and director Miller has revisited the film with a direct sense of humor and a nod to gratuitous 80s splatter and T&A. The new Silent Night has shades of Halloween with its smalltown/anytown holiday setting, My Bloody Valentine’s blue collar killer vibe, and a Texas Chainsaw-looking tribute with St. Nick chasing a scantily clad girl through a Christmas tree lot. Jaime King, Malcolm McDowell, and Donal Logue get billing and a little acting experience can turn a B horror film into a respectable campy classic.
So come on, when we’re dealing with holiday themed films like Leprechaun, Mother’s Day, and Thankskilling (“Gobble, gobble, motherfucker!”), do we have to take ourselves so seriously? I, for one, would much rather watch a demented Santa electrocute a man with Christmas lights than make my way through manic depressive It’s a Wonderful Life.
By Kiki McGraw