Reviewed by: JM
Let me begin by stating that I am a huge fan of the Silent Night, Deadly Night franchise. From my first viewing of the original as a high schooler, to my much more recent discoveries of the latter entries, this entire series of movies is… well, it’s batshit. Totally batshit crazy. Not sure there is a better description. Sorry.
Taken over by the wonderful and completely overlooked Brian Yuzna (Return of the Living Dead 3), parts four and five focus on supernatural elements like witchcraft and killer toys. These are totally enjoyable movies with great casts and surprisingly good special effects. These entries definitely feel like Rosemary’s Baby and Dolls crossed with The First Power. Obviously, no complaints here.
The first three entries in the series, however, follow the threadbare story of the Chapman brothers. As anyone who knows us at Tower Farm knows, Billy and I have a strong affection for brother stories. And, few brother stories are as heartwarming as you will get from the first three entries in this series of films.
Part one follows Billy Chapman. As a child he witnessed the killing of his mother and father by some sleaze in a Santa costume. Raised in an orphanage, as a teen he picks up a job at a toy store. The owner convinces him to dress as Santa Claus for the kids at the store. And, well, Billy flips out. He walks all over town dressed as Santa, killing people who are “naughty”. Of course, this means bullies and loose women. Finally, he is shot down.
Part two in the series is really something of a marvel. You see, we find that Billy’s brother, Ricky, who witnessed Billy’s death in the original is now institutionalized. The movie spends the first hour or so (no kidding) going over all of the scenes from part one, then Ricky flips out, yells “garbage day”, kills a few people, and is finally gunned down himself.
Super cheap movie. But also wonderful. Truly a Tower Farm movie, if ever there was one.
Part three,though, really lets it all hang out.
Now, we discover, that some quack, wearing what appears to be my Mom’s old glasses...
...is keeping Ricky’s comatose body hooked up to some sort of dream machine. Somehow, he has convinced our heroine, the blind Laura, to allow herself to be hooked up like a car battery to the same machine. Now, she can sort of share dreams with Ricky. This, of course, wakes up our killer, who come across like a cross between Freddy Kruger and Frankenstein… but a lot dumber. Yes, dumber than Frankenstein’s monster. A lot.
Anyway, played by Samatha Scully, Laura is a strange heroine in every possible way. To begin, she is supposed to be blind. But, Samantha plays blind the way an elementary school student might play blind in a civic theater production. Which is to say, sometimes thoroughly helpless and, at other times, not necessarily blind at all.
But, before I move on any further, it is necessary that I spend a little time on our killer, Ricky. This time around, he is played by genre favorite, Bill Mosely. For some reason, the top of Ricky’s head has been removed by Dr. Newbury (the quack). So, Ricky is forced to wear a glass salad bowl throughout the entire movie, displaying is exposed brain.
Oh, God! This is so wonderful! Who comes up with this?! Who okays this?! How does NO ONE step in and stop a movie like this from being filmed?!
Anyhow, now that our killer is awake, he goes on a killing spree searching for Laura, who, I guess, he considers his soulmate.
Luckily, Laura has tough and brave protector, her brother Chris. Let me tell you, if you thought Laura was strange, just get a load of this character.
Yes, he is the hero of this story. Him.
Anyway, an epic battle ensues. In one scene, the ghost of Laura’s grandmother even arrives to tell her that she is powerful (like an Elm Street dream warrior). This does really play out though, as Laura smashes a lightbulb and saying to Ricky that they are now “even” (because she is blind… remember?). What she fails to realize is that the room has enough ambient light in it to power a solar car. Great job hiding!
So, finally Ricky is shot and killed (for the second time in two movies). Of course, before the credits roll, we are given a shot of Ricky looking directly at the camera saying, “and a happy new year”.
Let me tell you, this movie just gets better with each viewing.
Three and a half fingers.