Fear of Santa Claus Pt 1 (Silent Night Deadly Night, 1984)
Silent Night, Deadly Night opens with little Billy and his family visiting Grandpa. Gramps is a bit senile and instills dread in young Ricky of Santa Claus. He warns Billy that Santa Claus will punish the wicked…on the drive home, his dad stops to help Santa on the side of the road…Santa is actually a ruthless criminal who kills Billy’s family as he hides.
Billy ends up in an orphanage, run be mean nuns way into corporal punishment. At 18, the nuns get him a job in a toy store where he ends up playing the store Santa. When he witnesses a guy attempting to rape the girl he likes he loses it and goes on a rampage killing the naughty.
This film was highly controversial at the time, as it featured a guy in a Santa suit killing people and that was beyond the pale. Mickey Rooney blasted the filmmakers as scum for attacking the sacredness of Christmas. This will become very ironic in a few days. The thing is, the movie is not worthy of the outrage. It is pretty terrible, even by the standards of the slasher genre. This is no Black Christmas or Halloween. t is not even Friday the 13th part two. The acting is stiff, and the setup is ridiculous. And to top it off, the film tends to indulge in sleaze in a way other slashers of the time did not. The nuns are the worst stereotypes of nuns…they lack any sense of humanity. They angrily delight in physical abuse of their charges.
Black Christmas was the father of modern slashers and is a solid winner. And more recent fare, such as Krampus, indulge a fun side. But Silent Night, Deadly Night lack neither the spirit of fun or the thrills. It is not unnerving, but rather simply unpleasant.