Keep Telling Yourself It’s Only A Movie: Horror’s Most Controversial Films

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8. Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

This one surprised me by being on a lot of controversial movie lists. I recently got to experience this in a theater and it seems pretty tame compared to a lot of other films on this particular list.

Silent Night, Deadly Night tells the story of Billy, traumatized by witnessing his parents murdered on Christmas Eve by a psychopath in a Santa Claus suit. Prior to witnessing his parents killed, his Grandp, who is in an psych hospital, tells Billy that Santa Claus punishes those who are “naughty”.

Billy, now grown up, gets a job in a department store around Christmas time. Billy’s forced to play Santa Claus on Christmas Eve due to the store Santa being injured. Billy witnesses a co-worker in the stock room forcing himself on another co-worker. He snaps and sets out to punish all the “naughty” people he can find.

One of the biggest controversies surrounding this film was the promotional items that portrayed Santa Claus as a killer which infuriated parents and scared kids. According to sources advertisements ran on television between Three’s Company and Little House On the Prairie. This film opened the same weekend as A Nightmare On Elm Street and surprisingly out-grossed it. Protests were held outside theaters and the film was eventually pulled along with advertisements after six days.