Better watch out: A retrospective of the Silent Night,Deadly Night series.
Christmas. It’s a time for family, and togetherness, peace on earth and good will toward men. That is unless your name is Billy Chapman. In 1971 at the age of five years old young Billy, his baby brother Ricky, and, his mother and, father go to visit his grandfather in a mental institution on Christmas Eve. Already we know this isn’t going to end well. The grandfather is catatonic, hasn’t spoken in years. When Billy’s parents and the nurse leave Billy in the room with his sweet grandfather for a few minutes, suddenly we’re treated to a chilling monologue from Billy’s grandfather. He tells the young child a new take on the jolly old elf named Santa Claus. He tells the child that the good children are rewarded, but the naughty children are punished severely. “Christmas Eve is the scariest damn night of the year.” he tells Billy before his parents come back and old grandpa suddenly isn’t so chatty anymore. Meanwhile a robbery/murder takes place at a gas station,by a man in a Santa Claus costume.
On the way home Billy and his family stop to help “Santa Claus” out with some car trouble. You guessed it this is the same Santa Claus who just robbed and murdered a gas station attendant after robbing the gas station itself. Things immediately get dark as Billy witnesses the rape of his mother, leading to the murder of both his mother and father. Things aren’t looking so well for him are they?
1974, three years later Billy, and his brother Ricky, are living in St. Mary’s orphanage. At this time Billy is deathly afraid of St. Nick, under the watchful eye of a sadistic mother superior,who is very old testament. Billy is subjected to much abuse under the mother superior through out the years, including spanking and being tied down to his bed. More ingredients to a disturbed young individual.
1984, Billy is now 18,a big strapping young man (what were they feeding this kid?) and too old to live in the orphanage. Mother Superior finds him a job and roof over his head at a local department store as a stock boy. All goes well until one day poor Billy is forced to play Santa. At the store Christmas party, he witnesses a male co worker he attempting to rape a female co worker. Billy snaps and kills the offending man who can’t keep it in his pants. Does the young woman thank Billy? No, she berates him. She too is killed, this triggers a murderous rampage.
No one is safe, from mean little kids,to horny teenagers, and naughty adults. Billy makes his way back to the orphanage where he plans to kill the naughtiest person from his childhood, Mother Superior. He is gun downed by the police before he can do so. It ends with Ricky, Billy’s little brother chillingly saying “Punish!”…….
As you can guess this movie was very controversial, parents protested it, as well as Mickey Rooney. (more on that in another part of this retrospective.) For this reason, Silent Night/Deadly Night is a DVD that is hard to come by. A movie filled with a twisted plot has and always will be a crown jewel for horror fans today and future generations.
Hardcore horror fans will recognize one of the victims, famous Scream Queen Linnea Quigley. This is what horror should do, it makes you feel extremely uncomfortable, and kind of sad for poor Billy Chapman at the same time. One only wonders how his life could have gone if put in a more nurturing environment. Next we will find out what happens when Ricky grows up and fills his brother’s red suit, and boots.