Silent Night, Deadly Night – USA, 1984 – overview and reviews

 

Silent Night, Deadly Night

Silent Night, Deadly Night is a 1984 American slasher horror film produced by Ira R Barmak and directed by Charles E. Sellier, Jr. It stars Robert Brian Wilson, Lilyan Chauvin, Gilmer McCormick, Toni Nero, Linnea Quigley, Britt Leach, Leo Geter

The film focuses on a young boy who, after witnessing his parents’ brutal murder at the hands of a man clad in a Santa suit on Christmas, grows up tumultuously in a Catholic orphanage and slowly emerges into a spree killer himself. The film caused an uproar when released in 1984 during the holiday season, and has developed a cult following.

Controversy:

Upon its original release in 1984, TV critics Siskel and Ebert condemned the film and went so far as to read the film’s production credits on air, saying “shame, shame” after each one. Siskel also said that all the money the filmmakers were making off of this film was blood money. Leonard Maltin also condemned the film, calling it a “…worthless splatter film”, giving it zero stars and asking: “What’s next, the Easter Bunny as a child molester?”

Silent-Night-Deadly-Night-1984-protesters

Crowds (mostly angry families) formed at theaters and malls around the nation to protest the film. TriStar Pictures, its original distributor, pulled all ads for the film six days after its release (November 15). The film itself was also withdrawn shortly thereafter due to the controversy.

It was later re-released by an independent distributor, Aquarius Films, beginning in spring 1986, with an ad campaign that replaced the original “Twas the night before Christmas” audio track with a new one that centered on the controversy surrounding the film and edited out all close-up shots of Billy, in the Santa suit, with weapons. The print ad material also replaced the original ‘Chimney’ picture with one that talked about the controversy.

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Reviews [click links to read more]:

“With its high production values, grade school gore effects, and staggering lack of taste, Silent Night, Deadly Night is an apex in garbage cinema. At first, it’s a shocking attack on holiday cheer and those poor ol’ saps, the Catholics. Then, it’s a derivative, grisly slasher.” Bleeding Skull 

” …while it may not be a masterpiece it is certainly a perfect example of how slasher movies did not have to be accepted by the mainstream, after all, this is a genre that has been loathed by critics since day one.” Retro Slashers

Silent night deadly night vhs

Silent Night, Deadly Night [DVD] [1984]Silent Night Deadly Night DVD

Buy DVD: Amazon.co.uk

Silent Night: Deadly Night 1 & 2
silent night deadly night 1 and 2 DVD

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Trivia:

The original titles were He Sees You When You’re Sleeping and then Slay Ride

Blu-ray release:

On December 5, 2017, Scream Factory released a Collector’s Edition Blu-ray of the film.

Silent-Night-Deadly-Night-Scream-Factory-Blu-ray

Buy Blu-ray: Amazon.com

Disc One: Theatrical Version

  • New 4K Scan Of The Original Camera Negative
  • R-Rated Theatrical Trailer & VHS Trailer
  • TV Spots
  • Radio Spot

Disc Two: Extended Unrated Version

  • New 4K Scan Of The Original Camera Negative With Standard Definition Inserts
  • New Slay Bells Ring: The Story Of Silent Night, Deadly Night – Featuring Interviews With Writer Michael Hickey, Co-Executive Producers Scott J. Schneid And Dennis Whitehead, Editor/Second Unit Director Michael Spence, Composer Perry Botkin, And Actor Robert Brian Wilson
  • New Oh Deer! – An Interview With Linnea Quigley
  • New Christmas In July – Silent Night, Deadly Night Locations – Then And Now
  • New Audio Commentary With Actor Robert Brian Wilson And Co-Executive Producer Scott J. Schneid
  • Audio Commentary With Michael Hickey, Perry Boykin, Scott J. Schneid, and Michael Spence
  • Audio Interview With Director Charles E. Sellier, Jr. From Deadpit Radio (Extended Version)
  • Santa’s Stocking Of Outrage
  • Poster And Still Gallery

Main cast and characters:

  • Lilyan Chauvin … Mother Superior
  • Gilmer McCormick … Sister Margaret
  • Toni Nero … Pamela
  • Robert Brian Wilson … Billy at Eighteen
  • Britt Leach … Mr Sims
  • Nancy Borgenicht … Mrs Randall
  • H.E.D. Redford … Captain Richards
  • Danny Wagner … Billy at Eight
  • Linnea Quigley … Denise
  • Leo Geter … Tommy
  • Randy Stumpf … Andy
  • Will Hare … Grandpa
  • Tara Buckman … Mother (Ellie)
  • Geoff Hansen … Father (Jim) (as Jeff Hansen)
  • Charles Dierkop … Killer Santa
  • Eric Hart … Mr Levitt (Storekeeper)
  • Jonathan Best … Billy at Five (as Jonathon Best)
  • A. Madeline Smith … Sister Ellen
  • Amy Styvesant … Cindy (as Amy Stuyvesant)
  • Max Robinson … Officer Barnes

Technical details:

79 minutes | 85 minutes (uncut) | 96 minutes (video)
Audio: Mono
Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1

Related:

Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2

Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker

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