Not all Christmas horror movies are created equal. Neither are all sequels. Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 scrapes the bottom of both movie off-shoots to bring us a film that is so gloriously bad, you can’t help but wish the whole thing was original footage.
Movie: Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 (1987)
Plot: After Billy’s “Rampaging Santa” was ended, his younger brother, Ricky, was left equally scarred by that traumatic event. After being adopted, Ricky finds his killer trigger and goes on a rampage of his own, both on regular days as well as Christmas Eve.
Killer: At least half the film was dedicated to Billy’s rampage from the first film, but the current slasher is Billy’s younger brother, Ricky. It seems that crazy runs in the family.
Critique: Let’s start off with a reality check: Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 is a bad movie. We’re talking, The Room bad. This is the sort of movie that should be screened at film classes to show budding young filmmakers how not to write, direct, and produce a film. This movie started off as a blatant money-grab, in not so many words, as discussed in the film’s DVD commentary. The original idea of Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 was to re-edit the original film, slap a “Part 2” on it, and sell it as a sequel using the same footage. Apparently, director Lee Harry said, “I want to make a real movie!” The producers said something like, “Fine. Here’s $50 bucks. Make sure to submit your receipts.”
Let’s start with the story. At least, the 40 minutes of footage that isn’t from the first movie. We have Billy’s younger brother Ricky, now all grown up, in a psychiatric hospital because he’s obviously been out punishing people. Not a bad start, but then we get the back-story of Billy and Ricky through the eyes of Ricky. Ricky’s telling the story as if he’s remembering the first time he watched Silent Night, Deadly Night, talking about the night his parents were killed even though he was an infant in a car seat screaming his head off and not seeing what Billy had to see, and giving the play-by-play on Billy’s rampage as if he was there. The archive footage ends with an entirely different child actor as Ricky saying, “Naughty.” Why, I have no idea. Maybe to try and bridge the two films, but it doesn’t work when there was another actor playing a Ricky that was 5 minutes younger than that Ricky. They probably should have just left the original footage for those last 10 seconds.
And that leads us to one of the biggest problems of Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2: continuity problems. The film can’t even keep the facts straight about the original film. The innocent Santa that was shot changes from a priest to a janitor. It’s barely note-worthy and doesn’t change the plot, but it shows how slapped together this film was. As far as the news footage for the film, we have Mother Superior as a stroke victim who apparently fell face first onto a hot stove-top. Stroke victims do not look like burn victims, and it seemed like Mother Superior had a stroke sometime during the first film’s timeline since she was in a wheelchair at the end. Were the filmmakers trying to cover up the fact that a different actress was playing the role? With all the other problems in this film, did they think the audience would really care?
Then there’s the acting, or lack thereof. Eric Freeman as Ricky seems to go over the top in every line, but in an erratic way that makes it seem that this was a one-take film and if director Lee Harry wanted Freeman to adjust something, he was calling out from his chair for Freeman to change it mid-shooting. Just watch Ricky’s facial expressions as he’s walking toward the camera during his shooting spree. He looks like he’s trying to find the right facial expression while his director tells him to change it over and over again.
And yet, Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 is just fun. It’s funny to watch and fun to pick apart. It’s the sort of accidental “so bad, it’s good film” that filmmakers strive to make these days. and the kills are pretty good, as ridiculous as they may be. The worst thing about Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 is the damage it did to the first film that there could be no hope for a sequel that can catch the power of the original. Luckily, we have another three sequels to see if the franchise can be saved.
Scene of Awesomeness/Ridiculousness: The “Garbage day!” clip. In these few seconds, we get the entire theme of Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2: extremely random violence and over the top acting.
Body Count: 12 (plus at least one hospital orderly that you know Ricky went after and 12 from the archive footage of the film)
1 run over repeatedly with a red Jeep
1 umbrella through the chest, and then opened (Awesomely Overkill Award)
1 electrocuting hookup to a car battery
1 strangulation with a car antenna
4 shot (with 1, Ricky, probably being alive, because of course he would be)
1 caught in a car explosion
1 strangulation with recording tape
1 vague murder of a charity Santa
2 pairs of nipple-covered breasts (plus 4 pairs from the archive footage)
Actors/Actresses of Note: None. with the sort of budget Lee Harry was complaining about, we’re lucky that there are any actors and actresses at all.
Quote: “Garbage day!” – Ricky Caldwell
Grade: C. It would have been an A if half the film wasn’t cut from the original Silent Night, Deadly Night. Then again, that footage is part of what makes Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 so ridiculously bad that it’s good.
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