Ladies and gentleman, welcome to the Winter Wars! This 13-article series focuses on Christmas/winter-themed horror flicks, pitting them against one another in head-to-head battles to see which movie reigns supreme on its own snow-packed throne.
Today we have two films competing for the title of “Who did a Better Job of Ruining a Traditional Christmas Carol?”
Our contenders: “Silent Night, Deadly Night” from 1984 and 1972’s “Silent Night, Bloody Night.”
Synopsis of “Deadly Night,” courtesy IMDB: After his parents are murdered, a young tormented teenager goes on a murderous rampage dressed as Santa, due to his stay at an orphanage where he was abused by the Mother Superior.
“Bloody Night” synopsis: A man inherits a mansion, which once was a mental home. He visits the place and begins to investigate some crimes that happened in old times, scaring the people living in the region (on Christmas Eve).
First of all, there is no mention of Christmas anywher in the artwork or plot info for “Bloody Night,” so automatic (-1). Why would you give your movie a title that brands it as Christmas, then not use any holiday imagery? By the same principle, I have to give “Deadly Night” a (+1) because it uses holiday traditions at every turn: poster, plot, performances, set design.
“Bloody Night” certainly has a more developed plot: Wilford Butler returns home, on Christmas Eve, and finds his house had been turned into a mental institution for the criminally insane. On the day of his return, he is set on fire and dies. The townspeople believe his death was an accident, and the institution-house is later closed down. Wilford leaves the house to his grandson Jeffrey. A few years later, Jeffrey finally decides to sell this grandfather’s house, but the townspeople, including the Mayor, have mixed feelings on keeping people away from the house, especially when a serial killer escapes from another institution and finds refuge there. The killer makes frightening phone calls and kills anyone coming near the house. But what does the killer have in common with what happened to Wilford Butler years before? (+1) for sure! “Deadly Night’s” plot isn’t as grand (-1) and is almost a typical slasher film. That said, it has some awesome, creative deaths (+1).
Fun fact: To protest “Deadly Night,” critics Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel read the credits out loud on their television show saying, “shame, shame, shame” after each name. That is awesome (+1)!
“Silent Night, Deadly Night” also used a lot of killer Santa imagery in its marketing, which caused the film to get pulled from wide release and made its star tell his family to avoid seeing it; (+1) for sheer fortitude.
THE WINNER (IT LITERALLY TRIES TO MASSACRE CHRISTMAS)… “SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT!”