Derek Warren

CULT CORNER: Be ‘very naughty’ this Christmas with infamous ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night’

CULT CORNER: Be ‘very naughty’ this Christmas with infamous ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night’
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

There are many Christmas-themed horror films, including some we’ve featured here, but few have reached the heights in the sub-genre that “Silent Night, Deadly Night” has over the years. The fever pitch that the film created upon initial release in theaters set it on the path to the cult status it now enjoys.

Released in theaters in early November of 1984, coincidentally the same day as the original “Nightmare on Elm Street,” the film seems destined to be just another slasher movie piled in with many others, but due to social outcries at the time, “Silent Night, Deadly Night” rode a wave toward infamy.

As a child, Billy witnesses his parents’ brutal murder at the hands of man in a Santa suit. He is placed into an orphanage, where he is abused by a very strict mother superior. As he grows older, he turns psychotic and goes on a killing spree of his own, donning a Santa suit.

The plot is arguably thin, but the point of the movie is more focused on the fact that it is a killer Santa. “Silent Night, Deadly Night” is a bit more mean-spirited than other Christmas-themed horror films, but it is still a fun ride with some great kills. It will also forever change the way you look at riding a sled!

The very people who wanted this movie to disappear and be forgotten forever ended up forcing it into the public consciousness and the realm of such popularity. Upon its release, it had a ready and waiting line of protesters due to the advertising campaign featuring a crazed killer Santa.

The protesters demanded that the film be removed from theaters. Initially, the studio removed publicity for the film, but this was not enough for the outraged parents. “Silent Night, Deadly Night” was removed from theaters a few days later. This move sparked the “If they don’t want us to see it, we have to see it!” reaction that many horror films have ridden into film history.

Scream Factory recently released what is by far the most definitive version of this film on Blu-ray. The restoration is beautiful, and the extras are bountiful. One of the very fun extras to view is the actual angry letters that parents sent the studio at the time.

Is it worth seeing? “Silent Night, Deadly Night” is a classic in every sense of the word. Like “Halloween,” this is a seasonal film that nearly every horror fan has to see at least once. That being said, it’s not nearly as dread-inducing as “Halloween,” but it’s still a fun “slay” ride.

This also spawned several sequels, with “Part 2” being the most direct sequel – and by “direct” I mean it actually reused a lot of original footage from this movie. While most people enjoy heartwarming, family-friendly Christmas movies this time of year, there are plenty of us who would rather turn down the incessant holiday music and watch some Christmas carnage. Punish!

Each week, Cult Corner shines a light on strange and obscure cult films you’ve never heard of but need to see for yourself… with the lights off and the doors and windows locked.