Sometimes horror sequels need a bit of a twist from the original films to make them interesting and worth watching instead of just re-watching the original. Sometimes the twist is ridiculous, but executed perfectly. Sometimes the twist is perfect, but executed horribly. Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out! is a little bit of both: a ridiculous but perfect twist that could have been executed better.
Movie: Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out! (1989)
Plot: After being in a coma for six years, Ricky Caldwell is awakened by a doctor’s experiment with the psychic abilities of a blind woman. His only goal seems to be whatever Laura wants, which includes making his way to her grandmother’s house. Unfortunately for those that cross Ricky’s path, he’s still triggered to kill when seeing the color red.
Killer: Ricky Caldwell, now played by Bill Moseley.
Critique: Silent Night, Deadly Night 3 is the sort of sequel that holds a lot of promise, but just misses being a good horror movie. The idea of a blind woman having a mental connection to a comatose serial killer is a great theme, and the film creates a great, eerie vibe in the opening dream sequence. The problem is, the film tries to force this psychic power idea that never really gets going, and the result is a whole film that never really gets going. At the end, you’re left thinking, “So what?” Even the killing is pretty tame by slasher standards.
It’s definitely not the whole cast’s fault. Bill Moseley, fresh off his portrayal of Chop-Top in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 does a phenomenal job of making sure he doesn’t become a character actor by portraying a walking coma victim with the perfect amount of emotive force. Most of the rest of the cast does a good job making their characters believable, from Doctor Newbury to Chris to Lt. Connely. Unfortunately, the co-lead, Samantha Scully playing the blind Laura, is the weak link of the film. coupling that with a story that goes big on idea and small on conception when the opposite would be better leads to Silent Night, Deadly Night 3 having good moments in an otherwise boring horror film.
But at least the archive footage was cut down!
Scene of Awesomeness: The opening dream sequence of the film, with Laura being chased by Ricky, is the best part of the movie. Unfortunately, this sort of A Nightmare on Elm Street scene is never seen again.
Scene of Ridiculousness: Ricky wanders to the L.A. freeway in nothing but a hospital gown and the light-up clear, plexiglass bowl on his head that shows off his brain. Nothing too out of the ordinary in Los Angeles, apparently…
Body Count: 8 definite kills with 1 possible survival
1 throat slashed (premonition that comes true)
3 vague deaths
1 disemboweling (Awesomely Overkill Award, but only because we see the guts hanging out of Dr. Newberry’s stomach long after he is stabbed)
1 throat crushed with a shotgun after surviving a stabbing
1 impaling on a broken broom handle (after a shotgun blast point-blank doesn’t do the trick. And Ricky may still live, thanks to a line by a paramedic on the scene! Because, you know, sequels…)
1 pair of breasts
Actors/Actresses of Note: Besides horror film staple Bill Moseley taking on the part of brain-damaged Ricky Caldwell, the cast also includes Richard Beymer and Eric DaRae, who played Benjamin Horne and Leo Johnson in Twin Peaks, respectively.
Quote: “She sees what he sees.” And then later, “She sees what he sees. But what if Ricky sees what Laura sees?” – Dr. Newbury’s Assistant. It’s just so random that it is repeated, as if they forgot to strike it out of the script the first time. And it doesn’t even make sense, since Laura can’t see, literally.