Dir Charles Sellier Jr – 85 Minutes.
Anchor Bay Entertainment / Arrow Video .
If I did my favourite three Christmas Horror films (which I have) , then this would be in it (and it is) .
I just adore this film , it is dark , nasty , bleak and yet full of dark humour.
Released in late 1984 this film caused all kinds of protests leading it to be pulled from cinemas . Before it was pulled it was out-grossing a film released on the same day named A Nightmare on Elm Street.
The film was later released in 1986 by (I believe) Aquarius Films however this was quite heavily edited and cut . The close ups of Billy dressed as Santa with weapons were just cut and also the advertising was completely changed and featured more on the controversy of the original release and less on the killer in a Santa suit.
On a further note this film was never submitted to the BBFC for classification but yet does appear on many of the *video nasty* lists. It was only submitted in 2009 by Arrow Films and was passed totally uncut and was released later that year. The sequel was actually banned (well really just denied a certificate) by the BBFC after the distributors refused to make the suggested cuts.
SNDN starts with a young boy Billy and his family heading away for Christmas and stopping in to see their catatonic Grandfather in a home for the insane . Whilst his parents go off to another room little Billy is left alone with his Grandpa who eerily turns to him and tells him that Christmas Eve is the most evil of nights and that Santa will punish him for his naughty behaviour.
After this they drive onwards where Billy’s father stops to help a broken down motorist who just happens to be dressed as Santa. Oh dear bad mistake as Santa is really a violent criminal who shoots his father , attempts to rape and then slit’s the throat of his mother . Billy witnesses all this from his hiding spot in a nearby ditch . So Billy and his baby brother are left orphans and on Christmas Eve too .
They are both taken to a local orphanage run by nuns , where Billy is constantly punished for his bad behaviour (especially in the run in to Christmas) by the Mother Superior (Lilyan Chauvin) , but Sister Margaret (Gilmer McCormick) takes Billy under her wing and looks out for him .
Next we go to Billy aged 18 (Robert Wilson) , and when Sister Margaret gets him a job in the store room of a local toy shop , then everything looks great . Billy is a hard worker and loyal member of staff but with Christmas coming up will he manage to stay on the straight and narrow over the festive period ??
Of course he won’t he is gonna go bonkers and try and kill anyone he believes are being or have been *naughty*.
This is a well made film that didn’t really deserve the harsh protests and personal attacks that were aimed at it. It really is a nice , bloody , nasty slasher that features many boob shots and some nice original death scenes . There is one scene featuring my absolute favourite scream queen Linnea Quigley , who is just in a pair of tiny shorts . She always adds a touch of class to any film she is in , and she is so bloody easy on the eye (especially to a lad whose horror education was in the early 1980‘s). And her death scene here is brilliant.
This spawned 4 sequels which you should never watch unless forced to or very very drunk.
A lovely retro piece of horror that gets better with every watch.
A festive fantastic 8/10