Silent Night Deadly Night.

Tag line : Slashing through the snow, looking for his prey...

Silent Night Deadly Night1984’s “Silent Night – Deadly Night” is probably one of the more infamous of all the Xmas themed horror films, in that not only did it suffer heavy cuts at the hands of the US ratings board, but its release was actually targeted by an active hate campaign lead by angry parents and morality groups, who picketed cinemas and successfully lobbied Tri-Star pictures into pulling the film from its release after only a fortnight.

The story for this revolves around a young lad named Billy, who’s orphaned after his parents are killed by a thief wearing a Santa costume on Xmas eve. He then suffers years of abuse in an orphanage run by nuns, where he learns that ‘sex’ is a ‘very naughty thing’ after seeing some young nun breaking her vow of chastity with a young handyman.

When he turns 18, they get him a job in a toy shop of all places and needless to say, as soon as December comes, things predictably go awry. Catching a couple of his co-workers indulging in some ‘extra-curricula’ activities in the stock room, he dons a Santa suit and proceeds to punish them for their naughtiness with a fire axe.

He then decides to head back to the orphanage, punishing numerous ‘naughty’ teenagers along the way, as they’re axed, knifed and impaled using a variety of inventive methods, as well as stringing up one unfortunate soul with a set of Christmas tree lights.

For my money, this is probably one of the better Christmas horror films of the 80s, which has since been restored to its full uncut glory on DVD, so we finally get to see, in full, the infamous demise of ‘Scream Queen’ Linnea Quigley (of Return of the Living Dead fame) who’s impaled on a pair of antlers, which protrude out through her breasts.

Good clean family entertainment all round!

Overall marks : 5/10.

Terrifying Trivia.

  • Alternate tag lines "You've made it through Halloween, now try and survive Christmas", "Santa's Here", "He knows when you've been naughty", "Shocking... disturbing... The movie they tried to ban".

  • The films budget was $1,065,000.

  • This film was shot under the title "Slayride", but  Tri-Star decided to change the title to "Silent Night, Deadly Night" just prior to release.

  • The distributors planned to give the film an initial limited release, then open it at more cinemas closer to Christmas. Although initial box office sales were good, the film was then targeted by angry protesters who didn't like to see Santa portrayed as an axe murderer. Sales then plummeted and the film was pulled by Tri-Star pictures after only a fortnight. 

  • Released on the same weekend as "A Nightmare on Elm Street", the film initially proved the more popular, but when it was pulled from cinemas, that allowed Elm Street to overtake it at the box office.

  • Don Shanks was one of the stuntmen in the film, he also played Michael Myers in "Halloween 5".

  • All the killings in the film were shortened by the US ratings board prior to to its theatrical release, though an uncut version was later released on home video in the US. The US Anchor Bay DVD is also uncut, however as the original elements had gone missing they had to splice the footage from an uncut print into a theatrical version.

  • The film was not given a UK release, either at the cinema or on video, until 2009 when Arrow films released an uncut DVD.

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