Silent Night, Deadly Night

Production Year: 1984
Release Date: 09/16/2014
Studio: Anchor Bay
Director: Charles E. Sellier Jr.

The popularity of the slasher film reached it's peak in the mid 80's, producers and studio heads were scrambling to find the next Friday the 13th and at this point nothing was sacred.  Camping trips, school functions, holidays, the slasher has a rich history when it comes to bloodyin' up the once innocent affair.  Out of all the films of the period none caused a stir quite like Silent Night, Deadly Night.  Critics bashed the violence, parents were outraged by the depiction of a "killer" Santa Claus fearing it might cause irreconcilable damage to their children's psyche.  This controversy caused the film to get pulled from theaters and shelved.  Definitely a slasher first!

After seeing his family brutally murdered by a man dressed as Santa, young Billy (Danny Wagner) is taken to an orphanage where he isn't treated too kindly thanks to an overbearing Mother Superior .(Lilyan Chauvin).  The years fly by and eventually an 18 year old Billy (Robert Brian Wilson) is offered a job at Ira's Toys.  We see things are going fairly well for the young man thanks to montage featuring one of the corniest Christmas songs ever recorded, The Warm Side of the Door.

But things go haywire when Billy spots Santa, I guess working in a toy store during the jolliest season of the year wouldn't be the best idea for someone with Billy's past.  He's able to control himself, but when the big red man calls in sick Billy is forced to don the Kris Kringle fatigues and he finally snaps.  With an ax in hand Billy is about to turn a white Christmas blood red.

Silent Night, Deadly Night is the perfect mix of camp, blood, and horror.  Yeah, it has it's fair share of camp, but damn if it isn't enjoyable.  Wilson is great as Billy, the wholesome, milk drinkin' teenager gone mad, once he puts on that big red suit and picks up his ax all bets are off.  Rick Josephsen (Cujo) is on board with the SFX to insure there are some interesting kills, Charles Sellier Jr takes a break from Grizzly Adams to take over the directorial duties and he does a worthwhile job.  Linnea Quigly even has a memorable appearance in the film and yes, she is topless for most of her role.  A must for the slasher-aficionado.

If you're reading this there's a good chance you're wondering if the film is worthy of the upgrade from the past DVD editions.  While I truly appreciate the effort Anchor Bay put into giving us an uncut version of Silent Night, Deadly Night, if you owned any of the past releases you know when the uncut footage rears it's head the picture degrades.  The same thing is true with this current blu-ray.  Those hoping for a 4K scan, or new cleaned up uncut footage will be disappointed.  Unfortunately it seems any new sources for the uncut footage are long gone, when the blood flows there's a big downgrade in quality.  The rest of the film looks decent with a nice palette of natural colors and a very filmic look.  Is it better than the DVD, for the most part yes.  Is it a huge difference?  No.  The 5.1 TrueHD track is great with a nice level mix, dialogue is always audible and clear, never drown out by the film's score or sound effects.

Audio Commentary with Writer Michael Hickey, Composer Perry Botkin, Editor Michael Spence, and Co-Executive Producer Scott J. Schneid 

Audio Interview with Director Charles E. Sellier Jr. (35:42) - A straight-forward phone interview with the director of Silent Night, Deadly Night.

 Santa's Stocking of Outrage - This is a collection of quotes from critics and concern citizens documenting their outrage about the film.

Poster and Still Gallery

Silent Night, Deadly Night is great, definitely one of the best to come out of the slasher craze that took over the 80's.  In typical hack 'n' slash fashion, SNDN had a number of sequels though none ever really lived up to their predecessor.  While the film does look slightly better than past releases I do not believe this disc warrants an upgrade.  If you've yet to purchase the film however, that's a different story as this film is a must own for fans of the subgenre.