Fear of Santa Claus Pt 5 (Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: the Toymaker, 1991)

sndn_5_posterOh boy.  I genuinely feel bad for Mickey Rooney having this in his resume.  On the other hand, the fact that he blasted the original film…well, it is kind of poetic.  Rooney is kindly elderly toy-maker Joe Petto.  Obviously, subtlety is not a priority for the film makers. Along with his son Pino (again, subtlety is a lost art), he runs a toy store. In case you missed it, there is a scene where a babysitter reads Pinocchio to a kid. His toys do not compete very well with the modern mass produced toys.  But the film is not really about them…

It is about young Derek and his Mother Sarah.  After a toy kills her husband, Derek stops talking, and he does not trust toys.  Sarah is doing her best with Derek, and is unaware she is being stalked by a guy who just got out of the military.  Don’t worry, he is actually Derek’s real father.  Meanwhile, high tech toys are killing people.

The reveal of the person behind the killer toys is really no surprise.  Although, the drive behind it is a bit…unique.  Pino really wants Sarah to be his mom.  This film continues the odd fascination with kids spying on people having sex.  I am starting to suspect the people behind this franchise have a real unhealthy fear of sex.  I mean, they just cannot avoid making a situation creepy.  He wants to kill Derek and take his place, except Pino sees loving Sarah like she was his real mother as…well…incest.

No, Silent Night, Deadly Night does not finally elevate the franchise…it just keeps getting worse.  About the only positive aspect is that the toy effects are good practical effects.  This is not all that surprising, as they were designed and created by master effects-man Screaming Mad George.  But it is not enough to make the film recommendable.  And Ron Howard’s brother Clint makes a brief appearance as Ricky…it is unclear if this is the same Ricky from the previous film.

An interesting side note, the director Martin Kitrosser appears to be the go to script supervisor for Quentin Tarantino.

Fear of Santa Claus Pt 4 (Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation, 1990)

sndn_4_posterThis fourth film is an old to good old fashioned man-hating feminism.  I kind of wonder if it was ghost written by Rush Limbaugh.  It is also the first film in the series to have no killer Santas.

Ambitious young reporter Kim is trying to break through the man’s world of investigative journalism.  She is researching a story about a young woman who lept from the roof of a building and burst into flames.  While investigating, she meets Octopussy.  Well, Fima, but she is played by Maud Adams.  Fima invites Kim to a special get together of her feminist book club.  Kim starts to have visions of worms and stuff.

The film is full of scenes where people espouse all sorts of basic caricatures of feminism and anti-feminism.  Kim talks like the version of feminism from a guy who did a quick google search on feminism.  Listen, I get that Google did not exist when the movie was made.  That is not the point.  There is no depth to the characters.  No deep motivation to their ideals and beliefs.

Kim finds that Fima and her friends are a witches coven that are trying to bring Kim into the fold for a winter sacrifice.  Ultimately, she cannot, because that sacrifice?  Involves killing a little boy, so she fights back.

Unlike the other films in the franchise, this is not a slasher.  Instead, this is more of a body horror film.  Not unlike Cronenberg, director Brian Yunza has an obsession with gruesome body deformations and changes.  The film is also heavily focused on bugs.  Because…bugs.

The effects are very strong, as created by the effects artist Screaming Mad George.

Clint Howard plays a homeless guy named Ricky, but it is unclear if he is the same Ricky as the previous two films.  He seems to be the “Weird Homeless Guy” the film needs to creep out Kim and is a servant to the witches.  Guess they needed a man after all.

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