Movie Review: Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

Synopsis: After spending most of his life in an orphanage after watching his parents get murdered on Christmas Eve by a man dressed as Santa, 18-year-old Billy is given a job at a local toy store. When the store owner has Billy dress up as a replacement store Santa, his childhood trauma causes Billy to snap and go on a killing spree.

Who's in it? The movie stars Robert Brian Wilson, Toni Nero, Lilyan Chauvin, Gilmer McCormick and Britt Leach.

Review: After spending the past few days watching Hallmark Christmas movies, my wife and I decided to change things up a bit and watch a holiday-themed horror movie instead. It had been a long time since I watched this film and, mostly because I didn't remember much about it, I put it on. Overall, I thought it was a good choice.

Like most movies from this genre made in the 80s, the film does take a while to get started. However, in this particular case, the extended backstory is somewhat needed, both to show the trauma he experienced as a child and the tough-love approach taken by the orphanage's Mother Superior (Chauvin) that ultimately made things worse. This made Billy's (Wilson) psychotic break a lot more understandable.

Another thing I liked about this movie is how Billy, true to his Santa alter ego, doesn't just kill people at random and, instead, only target those who are "naughty." This, at minimum, leads to a somewhat funny (but twisted) scene where he gives a "present" to a little girl, something that makes this movie stand out a little more than other similar films.

The only real negative, in my opinion, is the movie does seem to contain a lot of gratuitous nudity, even for a horror film from the 80s, including a couple attempted rape scenes. The movie would have been slightly better, I think, had it either cut out one or two of those or, at minimum, shortened those scenes, to allow Billy more screen time for his killing spree.

Final Opinion: There's a lot more sex than I would prefer in a horror film but, overall, this is an entertaining slasher flick and one that is worth watching around Christmas at least once.

My Grade: B


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