Director – Charles E. Sellier Jr.
Starring – Robert Brian Wilson, Lilyan Chauvin, Gilmer McCormick, Toni Nero, Linnea Quigley, Britt Leach, Charles Dierkop.
Christmas is coming, the turkey’s getting fat, here comes Santa Claus… With his giant effin’ axe! Ho-ho bloody ho!
Ah, Silent Night, Deadly Night. Despised by critics, cherished by cult horror afficianados, this glorious near legendary slasher from the sub genres golden holiday themed age (think April Fools Day, My Bloody Valentine et al) tells the heartwarming story of Billy – a young man with a serious aversion to all things festive.
You see, as a child Billy and his baby brother Ricky were the unfortunate witnesses to the violent Christmas Eve (“The scariest damn night of the year!” according to their nuts-o grandpa) murder of their parents by some rotter dressed as Santa. After spending the next decade in an orphanage headed by a tyrannical Mother Superior, Billy finally flips after being coerced into a Father Christmas suit and embarks on a nasty yuletide killing spree all of his own.
Though it may lack the sophistication of its closest brethren, Bob Clark’s nerve shredding Black Christmas and Lewis Jackson’s surprisingly disturbing Christmas Evil, SNDN is arguably the most essential seasonal shocker of the lot: a cheap, wonderfully mean spirited exploiter and the perfect remedy for all us Grinches out there already sick to bastard death of “good will to all men”. Big axe whacks, antler impalings and slayride decapitations- this is cracking, must see stuff.
Released to a storm of controversy back in ’84 thanks to its now iconic poster and ad campaign, SNDN actually briefly outgrossed it’s weekend horror competitor A Nightmare On Elm Street before being pulled from Stateside theatres by its distributor Tri-Mark. Sadly, the film wasn’t released at all over here in the UK, remaining the stuff of gorehound legend until those wonderful folks at Arrow unleahed it onto DVD in 2009.
For those locked by region two coding, get a hold of it at once- you can scoop it up for less than a pack of cigarettes! For multi region connoisseurs (as everyone should be in this day and age), get your import on and go for the Starz/Anchor Bay American “Christmas Survival Double Feature” disc where it’s paired with its stunning first sequel (more on that later…).
Eight gruesome stockings out of Ten.