A confession: I’m not wild about Christmas. As somebody who gets unnecessarily neurotic about whether or not everybody else is having a good time, the onset of shopping crowds, traveling woes, gift-buying difficulties, and food-related malaise often overwhelms my delicate constitution. (Also, the constant claptrap about the War on Christmas doesn’t make the season any more fun.)
But there are a handful of Christmas traditions I have adopted over the years that have made the last six weeks of the year something close to bearable. The cornerstone of those rituals is the annual viewing of Silent Night, Deadly Night, a nasty little bit of holiday-themed slasher nonsense that essentially casts Santa Claus as a serial killer. But like a lot of the also-ran cut-’em-ups of the ’80s, there’s so much more going on in Silent Night, Deadly Night than meets the eye, and I have spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about it (and its sequels), more than perhaps any other film I have seen. (And thanks to the yearly screenings, it’s undoubtedly the movie I’ve seen the most, which is a troubling revelation to type out).
Of course, a movie about a murderous Father Christmas isn’t for everybody, but here are 20 thoughts about Silent Night, Deadly Night that will hopefully help you get a feel for why it’s the best-worst holiday film ever constructed.
1. Silent Night, Deadly Night came out in November 1984 but was quickly yanked from movie theaters thanks to protests from parents groups who were disturbed by the ad campaign. Since there’s no such thing as bad publicity, the controversy surrounding the film gave it something of a second life — it re-appeared in theaters in early 1985 with an ad campaign that was based around the negative press it got the first time around. (One of the posters during the film’s resurrection was centered around Gene Siskel calling it “sick, sleazy, and mean-spirited”). They essentially leaned into bad press years before that was a thing. READ FULL STORY