SILENT NIGHT: Killer Santa brings back that old Christmas (Slasher) Spirit!
For the past couple of years, it’s been a Terror Dave holiday tradition posting a summary of horror films that have a Christmas theme (you can see last year’s by clicking HERE). This year we have a new addition to that list via Silent Night which, after a VERY brief run at select theaters, is now available on DVD/Blu-ray. So how does this one stack up against previous Yule-tide Terrors?
Keep in mind, it’s a thankless job trying to recapture the glory days of “The Slasher” film which, after the ’80s, were never able to regain their footing. Slashers were definitely a lot of fun if you were with the right crowd and can pretty much be summed up as “a crazed killer randomly killing off stupid teenagers.” In most cases, the plot was really that simple and viewers never cared enough about the characters to see their deaths (usually carried out in creative ways) as anything less than amusing. Holidays were often the best opportunities (as I explained in a My Bloody Valentine retrospective HERE) with the “most wonderful time of year” providing ample material. Since the controversial, Silent Night, Deadly Night, killer Santas have gone down “Santa Claus Lane” one too many times and I admit I didn’t have high hopes for this one. Then again, perhaps that was the key to enjoying it.
The story takes place Christmas in a small Wisconsin town where a creepy looking Santa Claus has begun slaugtering the locals. The town sheriff (played by the legendary Malcolm McDowell) and his trusty Officer Bradimore (Jaime King, who also starred in the My Bloody Valentine remake) are determined to bring down this maurading St. Nick lest he dampen everyones Christmas spirit. This would be a lot easier if not for the fact that just about every man in this town is ”creepy” and Santa impersonators out number the civilians 10-1. In fact, there are SO many Santas of varying size and demeanor walking around, a quick glance down Main-street will have visions of Salvation Army Expos dancing in your head.
Like any good slasher, this one starts out with a killing; in this case involving Christmas lights. There’s plenty more to follow…the best involving a wood-chipper. King does her best to play it straight and ends up being the Elizabeth Shue to her Piranha 3D. In contrast, McDowell is as amusing on film as he is off and clearly understands that this is one romp you can’t take too seriously. The side characters provide lots of entertainment as well, including Lisa Marie who struggles to look grief-stricken after her foul-mouthed little girl meets the wrong end of an electric, cattle-prod. The result is a fun movie that should give horror fans lots of Ho Ho Ho’s (and there’s plenty of scantily clad “Ho’s” too)!
I’ve heard it suggested that this film is a remake of Silent Night, Deadly Night but, other than a killer Santa and an old man in a nursing home prognosticating doom, there are no other similarities. Aside from that, the aforementioned film was Deadly serious while this one decks the halls with boobs, blood, and lots of laughs. The movie’s end leaves plenty of room for a sequel so perhaps this “Ghost of Slasher’s past” will haunt us in our Christmas future as well!