Blu-ray/DVD Review: SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT 2 (1987)

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SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT 2, from director Lee Harry (Street Soldiers), is the sequel to the 1984 horror film Silent Night, Deadly Night, where we follow the now-adult Ricky as he recaps how he became a killer following his brother’s death. The film stars Eric Freeman (In Living Color), James Newman (Legally Blonde 2), Elizabeth Kaitan (Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood), and Jean Miller (Capitol).

The film opens in a mental hospital where Dr. Henry Bloom (Newman) has been sent to evaluate Ricky Caldwell (Freeman). During this time, Ricky recounts his youth where he saw Santa murder his parents, the memory of his brother’s actions which led to his eventual death and the treatment they both received from Mother Superior (Miller), who Ricky blames for his brother’s death. Seeing his brother Billy killed in front of him has left Ricky unhinged as he continues to tell Dr. Bloom about his life after Billy’s death and the series of murders committed. His rationale behind his killings are that he must take out those who have been, in his eyes, “naughty”, and he has no intentions of stopping any time soon, which we see towards the end when he dons the Santa Claus suit to do his bidding.

This movie was fucking wild and that may not be the most eloquent way to describe it but it’s the truth. I had not seen Silent Night, Deadly Night prior to watching the sequel and honestly, I didn’t need to because about 45 minutes of this film is dedicated to going over everything that happened in the first film. With a run time of only 88 minutes, that’s a lot of time to dedicate on rehashing what happened in the previous film. This leads me to believe that this movie was just a quick follow-up due to the first film doing well at the box office. Along with the rehash of the previous film, there was quite a bit of nudity, most of it gratuitous for the benefit of the male gaze. The horror films of the 80’s weren’t especially kind to women and feminism, instead focusing more on objectifying them as sexual objects or victims of the killer. This can be said for SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT 2, as we get a bountiful handful of breasts at each and every turn. Of course this ties in with the notion of being “naughty” as we learn that our antagonist Ricky was taken aback to find out his girlfriend was not a virgin like him.

What I did really love about this movie was the practical effects used. I’m sure anyone that is reading this knows which scene I’m talking about, but for those who haven’t seen this much herald sequel, just wait for a pair of jumper cables to appear on screen. The other aspect that I could finally appreciate was all the classic lines such as “GARBAGE DAY!” I never knew what people were referencing when they would say this, but now having seen the film, I can add my voice to the choir of those who love referencing classic film lines. As for the acting, well, there is a lot to be desired, however, I will admit that I enjoyed watching Eric Freeman’s performance as Ricky. All the performances are exaggerated and fit the mold of that over-the-top 80’s style, but I’ll be the first to admit that I kind of enjoyed that. Freeman’s dedication to the role and and his larger-than-life performance makes it easy to understand why he has become somewhat of a horror icon.

There’s not much more to say about a film that is just a reiteration of the first film. Was it enjoyable? I guess. Do I understand why people love the first film so much? Sure. Can I see how both Billy and Ricky have become iconic horror characters? Absolutely. With that said, I’m in no rush to rewatch this film, but I do think that during the holidays I’ll find myself revisiting this crazy little flick. Even though so much of this film relies on the first, it made me interested to at least revisit the original at some point just so that I can tie both films together as a whole. For those who are purist and like to have every film in a franchise, I think they will find a lot to enjoy with this Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition, which is chalk full of featurettes and interviews as well as commentaries with director Lee Harry and actors Eric Freeman and James Newman. I will also remark on the 2K scan of the theatrical print as the film looked crisp and clean with vibrant colors displayed on my television screen. Overall, SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT 2 was a hilariously bad holiday slasher that when Christmas comes back around will be the perfect stoner movie to watch.

Shannon M.

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