Dyl’s Worst Christmas Ever: Silent Night, Deadly Night

Hello everyone! For those of you who don’t know, I’m Dylan and this is Dyl’s Worst Christmas Ever. For Christmas 2020, I’m going through and reviewing some of the worst holiday movies of all time. It’s been pretty awful so far. We’ve seen a lot of horrible, jolly things. So, it’s nice to take a break with some good old fashioned murder.

Full transparency, Silent Night, Deadly Night didn’t rightfully make the list. It fell just short. My process for making this list included going through like ten different lists of bad Christmas movies, looking them up on IMDB, and, then, narrowing it down to the 30 or so lowest scoring movies. While Silent Night, Deadly Night was listed on several sites, it’s score wasn’t quite low enough to make the final list. But, it’s sequel did. And I’m a completionist, so I had to watch it. Not wanting to waste an evening watching a “bad” Christmas movie that didn’t count, I made an executive decision to bump another movie off instead of making the list longer. I know that it barely matters, but I just wanted to get that off my chest before we continue.

Because, honestly, I had a lot of fun with Silent Night, Deadly Night. I don’t think it’s that bad. In fact, I’d almost even call it good. It’s all about expectations. If you go into it expecting a B-list, shlocky slasher film from the 1980s, that’s exactly what you get. This is almost a full on grindhouse movie. If you’re open to it, you’ll have fun.

Actually, I was impressed with how well Silent Night, Deadly Night treated their killer. It would’ve been so easy to just throw a dude in a Santa suit and have him going on a killing spree. No explanation was really needed. This movie, though, actually gives us a really compelling backstory for him. When he was a boy, his grandfather told him that Santa punishes any kid that hasn’t been perfectly nice the entire year. Then, on the ride home, his parents are murdered by a man in a Santa suit. This, of course, gave him severe PTSD and an intense fear of Santa. Throw a little abuse from the orphanage in and you’ve got yourself a really messed up human being. But, he’s trying his best to pull it together. In fact, he’s kind of a likeable dude. That is until his retail job makes him play Santa, which triggers his dark past. From then on, it’s a yuletide themed slaughter fest as he makes his way through town, killing those who’ve been naughty. That’s quite the backstory. More than I’ve seen for any other slasher character other than maybe Michael Myers. I’m pleasantly surprised this movie at least tried to take itself a little seriously.

And, it kind of just follows the typical slasher formula from there. Show victims doing something away from others. Usually it’s sex. Set up a scare. Fake the audience out. Get them with a really elaborate, campy, over the top kill. Rather. Rinse. Repeat. For best results, do this roughly seven to ten times. It’s an archetype that we all know quite well at this point. And, yes, the kills are quite inventive. One in particular, involving a mounted animal, will stick with me for a long time. And, best of all, the killer stays in the Santa suit and says either “naughty” or “punish” before every kill. It’s beautifully ridiculous. There’s also this really fun interaction between an innocent child and him. I’m not going to spoil it here, but it reminded me a lot of the Grinch-Cindy Lou interactions. Really fun stuff.

Now, I do understand why this movie made a lot of the lists of worst Christmas movies ever. Apparently, it’s very controversial. So much so, that it was pulled from theaters after only a week. People were very upset that this movie exists. And, to those people, I say lighten up. It’s not that serious. It’s a fun, campy, stupid movie. Sure. Is it perverse? Yes. But that’s also kind of the point. Taking something lighthearted and making it dark is a really common form of artistic expression. Santa shouldn’t be exempt from that. Did they mess up with the advertising? A little, yeah. They shouldn’t have put killer Santa in front of content made for families. That’s not cool. But, movies like this should be allowed to have their time in the sun. Even if they suck, there’s no reason an artist shouldn’t be able to try to make something entertaining at least.

Like I’ve said, I had fun with Silent Night, Deadly Night. It was a good movie to break up the monogamy of shit I’ve been watching recently. It was cool to just turn my brain off and enjoy a couple campy, brutal kills. Plus, it managed the motivation and background to the villain in a way that many slasher movies don’t even approach. It’s pretty good. If you’re into this sort of thing, I’d say check it out. If you’re not (and you should know if you’re not), stay away. It’s as simple as that. Now, onto the sequel… which actually does have bad enough scores to make the list… But, I guess we’ll see tomorrow!

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