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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

Silent Night, Deadly Night

1984 | United States | 79 min
aka:
  • Slayride
  • Watched on Friday Dec 18, 2020 via Blu-ray (2017 | Shout Factory | Unrated Version)
    C: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Come for the sleazy Santa slasher, stay for the toys.

    Just before Christmas, young Billy and family visit his institutionalized catatonic grandpa. Alone with Billy, grandpa slips into a moment of lucidity and warns Billy of Santa’s propensity to punish the naughty. On the way home, the family pulls over to help a stranded motorist dressed as Santa. Billy watches in horror as the Santa-clad psychopath murders his parents.

    Flash-forward. A now-grown Billy works as a stock boy in the local toy store. As Christmas nears, Billy’s boss forces him to sub for the store Santa. Seeing himself in the suit, Billy snaps and embarks on a murderous rampage, prefacing every kill with a guttural whisper of “NAUGHTY!”

    Sure, Silent Night, Deadly Night lacks the depth of Black Christmas or Christmas Evil, but it proves entertaining in its own right. It packs a quirky authenticity. The Utah locations evoke the right snowy-small-town atmosphere, and the performances charm despite their awkwardness. The violence—while graphic—remains creative throughout. And at a lean 79 minutes, it doesn’t wear out its welcome.

    But for me, the biggest thrill came from the toys littering the store shelves. Mint-in-box Castle Grayskull and Jabba the Hutt action play-sets. G.I. Joe vehicles and costumes. Yes, costumes, from those cardboard packages featuring a clear window to display the mask. I had the green “Dracula” one. Watching the film whisks me back to the toy stores and toy aisles of my youth. Not the thrill the filmmakers intended, but a thrill nonetheless.

Older Viewings

  • Watched on Tue Dec 10, 2019 via Alamo Drafthouse Cinema - One Loudoun
  • Watched on Sat Dec 08, 2018 via Shudder