There are a lot of movies out there that have reached a high level of infamy, and for multiple reasons. One of the most infamous is the original Silent Night, Deadly Night from 1984. Several disgruntled women picketed the movie for portraying Santa as an axe murderer, thus confusing their children on what jolly ol’ Saint Nick is all about, and they didn’t feel like doing what parents should and explaining the concept of a fictional movie to their kids. Well, with this level of infamy, it wasn’t long before a sequel was made and reached a completely different level of notoriety.
SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT PART 2 (1987) Review
Ricky (Eric Freeman), Billy’s little brother from the first film, is now an adult and being held in custody on Christmas for going on a killing spree. A psychiatrist (James Newman) is assigned to hear his full story before he is sentenced to death. Ricky leads the psychiatrist through both his life and Billy’s, recanting Billy’s murder spree before eventually detailing his own life and the events leading up to his final rampage. But little does the doctor know that Ricky is planning an escape, and he’s all ready to provide some punishment to those who’ve been naughty…
The biggest complaint with Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 is that for the first 45-minutes, the movie is nothing but footage from the first movie. In fact, the original plan the distributors had for this was to just re-edit the first film and re-release it to theaters. However, they decided to make a sequel instead, so after a week of filming, they got all the footage for the “Ricky” portion of the movie. So they basically crammed all the deaths and the basic storyline from the first into the first half (with the excuse that Ricky is telling Billy’s story, despite scenes where there’s no way Ricky would have known what happened), then put new stuff in for the rest. So how does the new stuff stack up? Well…
Alright, no beating around the bush here. The new stuff is terrible. The sheer absence of any form of intelligence is simply mind-boggling, and I’m surprised it took them as long as a week to finish it. It takes serious skill to create something this inane and daft accidentally, and the makers of this must have been masters of the art of unintentionally atrocious filmmaking. And, avoiding beating around the bush once more, I love it. This movie’s like that one dumb friend you have who is always funny whenever he’s not trying to be, and you love him for it. Like Troll 2, the only way to review it is to discuss the best scenes, so without further ado, let’s get to it. First, there’s the obligatory kill scenes. The first film may have the best assortment of deaths in any slasher, and there are some creative ones here as well. However, “creative” doesn’t always mean “logical.” The impalement via umbrella and eye explosion due to jumper cable to the mouth are the really creative ones, and while the others aren’t original, there’s always something about them that’s wildly funny.
Of course, there’s Freeman’s performance as Ricky. There were originally two actors considered for the role (Freeman and another person), but even though the other person was a much better actor, Freeman was more physically intimidating, so he got it. I don’t know who the other guy was, but it mustn’t have been terribly challenging to be a better performer than this guy. His take on Ricky is easily one of the most over-the-top killer performances I have ever seen. His line delivery alone is enough to send anyone into a fit of hysterical laughter, and his “evil laugh” must be heard. Heck, his eyebrows are actors themselves! This isn’t helped by the terrible one-liners they give him, like “Naughty this!” and the world-famous “Garbage day!”, which has become quite a popular viral video in recent years. There’s also a part where Ricky’s girlfriend is talking to her ex-boyfriend and lays on him with, “You stood me up, you cheated on me, you ruined my best sweater, and I would rather die before I’d go out with you again!”to which he responds, “What are you trying to say?” Well, at least his IQ is higher than this movie’s!
Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 is by far one of the best bad movies out there, and definitely one that should be watched every holiday season. If you’re looking for a good, suspenseful, and intelligent slasher, watch the first SNDN. However, if you want an uproarious display of incompetence with all the gruesome murders from the first gloriously intact, give this one a spin. Even though the film is well-made from an aesthetical standpoint, the acting and writing are so terrible it’ll make you laugh harder than most comedies will. You think what I’ve said is all the funny parts from the movie? Not even close. This was originally released on DVD on a double-feature disc by Anchor Bay that is now OOP, but was recently re-released in light of the original’s remake (which is also a solid little flick). The disc isn’t too bad, and the sequel comes with a really neat audio commentary, trailer, a poster and still gallery, and a surprisingly decent transfer. And for only $10, how could you resist?
The Verdict: Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 is guaranteed to please anyone with an appreciation for laughably bad cinema. You don’t even need to watch the first to watch the sequel, since it comes with a Cliff’s Notes version! Don’t listen to all the Scrooges warning you against it; this is sure to make your Christmas even merrier.
“Silent Night, Deadly Night, Part 2”
Starring: Eric Freeman, James Newman and Elizabeth Kaitan
Director: Lee Harry
Writers: Paul Caimi (story), Michael Hickey