“What we have here is an uber-sleazy guilty pleasure that is aired in my household at least once every December. For me it’s right up there with The Grinch Who Stole Christmas cartoon.” – Steve Barton, Dread Central
Community leaders tried to stop the release. The P.T.A. fought to ban it. Now one of the most controversial slasher films of all time is back in a new high-definition release! This new edition of the horror holiday favorite has been restored from the original vaulted film negative.
Silent Night, Deadly Night is the heartwarming story of little Billy Chapman who was traumatized by his parents’ Christmas Eve murder, then brutalized by sadistic orphanage nuns. But when grown-up Billy is to dress as jolly St. Nick, he goes on a yuletide rampage to “punish the naughty!” Santa Claus is coming to town … and this time he’s got an axe! Robert Brian Wilson and Scream Queen Linnea Quigley star in this jaw-dropping horror classic that a nation of angry mothers still cannot stop!”
Silent Night, Deadly Night is a story about a horrific child-hood tragedy that befalls our main character, Billy, who, on the eve of one of the most celebrated and anticipated holidays, witnesses the brutal murder of his parents by a man dressed as Santa Claus. Growing up, as other kids eagerly await Santa’s arrival, Billy dreads it with all his being, believing that Santa punishes those who have been naughty, just as his parents were. The first act of the film is simply horrific in its most basic sense. Billy has been traumatized by so many things which are exacerbated by other cruelties he witnesses while in his orphanage. How this child could grow up to become anything but a brutal serial killer is a no-brainer. You feel terribly sorry for this poor kid, and his upbringing is almost just as bad as the horrors he witnessed.
When Billy grows up, he seems to have turned a new leaf, with a brand new job at a toy store, respected by his boss and fellow co-workers, the run of the mill boy-next-door who goes out of his way to be as polite as he can. Then, as Christmas time rolls around and a co-worker is out sick, Billy is asked to don the jolly red and white suit to help the store in a pinch. Of course, this sets Billy on a murderous rampage in which he seeks to punish all those who have been naughty. As much as I enjoyed the first act and thought it was very well done given the amount of turmoil and horrors the viewer has to endure, the second act felt very sloppy. Billy starts off as an interesting character that you are eager to learn about the man he has become, but then becomes a simple instrument of gore and death as none of the sequences in the second act make much sense, just random killing sprees in seemingly unrelated parts of the town.
The third act does try to tie it all together, and does so somewhat. For me, it just couldn’t quite surpass the hurdle of the slow and unfocused second act. Despite this, one really must judge the film for what it is. A film about a psycho kid on a murderous rampage dressed as Santa Claus. In that aspect, the film gets a pass for any structural defects there might be in the final product. It’s a hell of a fun film to watch, and should be a staple of the holidays for any horror fan.
What the film does extremely well is all in the gore department. There are some really unique and extravagant Christmas-related kills that will make you wince and squirm. Effects are done extremely well, providing some solid looking practical effects that you could swear were real. For a low-budget slasher film, this goes above and beyond what one would expect.
Silent Night, Deadly Night is presented in 1080p High Definition Widescreen 1.85:1. The set contains both the Theatrical and Unrated versions, which both contain a new HD transfer from the original film elements. It should be noted, however, that the unrated version contains several standard definition inserts of the added scenes, which can really take you out of the film given the great quality of the new transfer. The film looks superb compared to other versions of the available film, and although it does contain some defects and scratches, the film has never looked better.
The audio is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio Mono. Honestly, if you told me this was a mono track after I had watched it I wouldn’t have believed it. The soundtrack and Christmas songs sound great throughout, with great levels compared to the dialogue and effects.
This Collector’s Edition features some amazing features, highly recommended for anyone wanting to know more about the film and the controversy surrounding its release. On this set you’re going to see:
DISC ONE: Theatrical Version
- NEW 4K Scan Of The Original Camera Negative
- R-Rated Theatrical Trailer & VHS Trailer
- TV Spots
- Radio Spot
DISC TWO: Extended Unrated Version
- NEW 4K Scan Of The Original Camera Negative With Standard Definition Inserts
- NEW Slay Bells Ring: The Story Of Silent Night, Deadly Night – Featuring Interviews With Writer Michael Hickey, Co-Executive Producers Scott J. Schneid And Dennis Whitehead, Editor/Second Unit Director Michael Spence, Composer Perry Botkin, And Actor Robert Brian Wilson
- NEW Oh Deer! – An Interview With Linnea Quigley
- NEW Christmas In July – Silent Night, Deadly Night Locations – Then And Now
- NEW Audio Commentary With Actor Robert Brian Wilson And Co-Executive Producer Scott J. Schneid
- Audio Commentary With Michael Hickey, Perry Boykin, Scott J. Schneid, and Michael Spence
- Audio Interview With Director Charles E. Sellier, Jr. From Deadpit Radio (Extended Version)
- Santa’s Stocking Of Outrage
- Poster And Still Gallery
Scream Factory has really outdone itself with the release of their newest Collector’s Edition. This is surely a film that will be celebrated every year around this time, and has been brought to a new generation of fans to appreciate.