Saturday, December 25, 2010

SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT (1984) - a Christmas-y assault on bullshit family values that warms the cockles of my coal black heart

here's a trailer for my all time fave Christmas movie

Boy it’s hard to rape the spirit of Christmas.

Oh sure, you could head over to the local mall during the holidays and interrupt St. Nick and his bratty lap fest, rest the wrong (right?) end of a sawed-off shotgun underneath his chin, and robustly proclaim “YOU LITTLE FUCKS WERE NAUGHTY THIS YEAR! ALL OF YA!”. When the children start weeping uncontrollably, you could yell out “BUNCH OF NO JOLLY LYING MAGGOTS!!!”, right before sending Santa’s skull fragments splattering across center court, pelting the cardboard Alf display in front of Spencer’s Gifts.

Granted, this gets the job done, but also proves impractical. Snuffing out fat, mythical symbols is mostly frowned upon in society, and not to mention, totally against the law. It takes a pretty monumental effort to ruin Christmas through legal means, as the promise of merchandise and/or cash and/or a gift certificate for Hot Topic tends to override the impact of your more standard holiday horrors, like watching daddy smack mommy in the head with a giant candy cane for screwing up the Christmas ham.

Silent Night, Deadly Night, however, is clearly up to the task, presenting everyone’s (i.e. minus a few straggling Muslims and Jews) favorite holiday as a circular madhouse of rape, murder, decapitated snowmen, shitty acting, inappropriate mammary glands, deaf priests getting blown away, old, fucked up nuns, and, most importantly, a secret weapon: the unrelenting mutilation of hope.

The opening is almost as disgustingly perverse as the last 700 Club Christmas special. A family is headed to the “Utah Mental Facility” to visit their zombiefied grandpa and presumably chill with other Mormons. On the drive over, mommy is laying down the commercialized rhetoric to innocent little Billy, about how the good are rewarded, Santa is awesome, etc. Billy, his innocence not yet ripped out and tossed in the garbage disposal, dutifully believes what she is shoveling. The visit with Grandpa seems to be going as planned; a perfunctory acknowledgement of relatives during the holiday season, to give the illusion that the family bond has not yet totally disintegrated.

However, Grandpa somehow manages to unzombiefy himself briefly in order to let Billy know that, yes, Santa is awesome, but only if you rigorously accept the formalism of society. Outsiders, free thinkers, and general shenanigan facilitators will be greeted with a punishing ass load of coal. Of course I’m paraphrasing. Soon after, by sheer unadulterated coincidence I’m sure, a dude in a Santa costume robs a convenience store and blows away the clerk. He then hails down our family of protagonists in their all-American station wagon, shoots daddy in the head, rapes mommy, and slits her throat. This is all in full view of little Billy and his baby brother. This tub of bearded jolly is truly not fucking around.

Several hopeless years pass. Billy is now an orphan trying to cope with the rigmarole of a school run by some asshole nun. This structured superstition is responsible for further fracturing his psyche, and sporting a horrible mullet certainly doesn’t help matters. The aforementioned Mother Superior represents this cold fist of crushing authority, while another nun voices logical solutions with caring and understanding, only to be scoffed at and ignored. Mother Superior’s misguided attempt at therapy exemplifies this, as she forces Billy to cope with the Santa-based rape and murder of his parents by forcing him sit on Santa’s lap. This of course backfires in spectacular fashion, and by spectacular, I mean he cold cocks Santa right onto his plump, reindeer-stroking ass.

Jump forward another 10 years, and Billy seems to be finally integrating into society, what with a budding romance between himself and a sweet, lovely, soon-to-be-raped female. He also seems to be moving up in the world professionally speaking, and this is illustrated with a montage showing him gainfully employed as a stock boy in a toy store, accomplishing many a rewarding task, like making sure the Krull board game stays stocked on the shelves. Holy shit…they made a board game based on Krull? I need to get on Ebay pronto. Anyway, things start to fall apart. His supervisor is a swearing prick. and Christmas is soon on the horizon. Any mention of Santa causes Billy to convulse and sweat like he just mainlined some tainted egg nog. By sheer unforeseeable coincidence, Billy is promptly called upon, as a last minute replacement, to play Santa for the store. Ho ho ho motherfuckers!

However, what ultimately makes him jolly in the head, and rightfully so, is seeing his vision of loveliness getting frisky with his asshole supervisor; his last bastion of hope in humanity being felt up by a sweaty hog. He sees her get sexually assaulted, just like mommy, and so begins a parade of punishment unparalleled in the history of Santa Claus. He punishes a bunch of less-than-jolly fucks with less-than-classy means, including Linnea Quigley in daisy dukes and absolutely no top whatsoever. During his mission, Santa Billy also keeps repeating his catch phrases (“PUNISH!!!” and “NAUGHTY!!!”), as if to subtly indicate that he has zealously adopted the inflexible standards that were pounded into his head.

Only one victim is spared; the young girl that Linnea was babysitting. Her confident assertion that she has been good all year spares her from certain doom (like, say, getting impaled by a Christmas tree). Rather, per Santa’s contract, she gets a gift. In this case, a worn and bloody exacto blade. This proves rather quizzical to a young innocent mind, as she is unable to process this symbol of rusty, hopeless nihilism. Well, not to give everything away, but two Santas end up being shot dead right in front of a flock of moppets (not at the same time, that would be confusing). However, out of all of these newly traumatized tykes, only Billy’s brother Ricky gets twitchy enough to inspire a sequel, which I believe is called "Silent Night, Deadly Night- The Next Entry in the Series Part 2 the Revenge". This one is famous for having a forty minute flashback consisting entirely of scenes from the first movie (“Remember back in that earlier film, when this scene occurred? Well, I sure do!”), as well as a bunch of ass ruling nonsense that I think is supposed to be funny. In the middle is a little detour where-in Ricky goes on a date with the lovely Liz Caitin, and they decide to go see a movie, namely, Silent Night, Deadly Night (the first one). Seriously. No shit.

In summary, I’ll just relay that Roxanne T. Mueller of the Cleveland Plain Dealer proclaimed that “Silent Night, Deadly Night is a sleazy, miserable, insulting piece of garbage”. Maybe so, but sometimes that’s exactly what it takes to counteract the pervasive cancer of holiday cheer.

P.S. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! I'll throw up some other Christmas related slasher reviews in the next couple of days.

P.P.S. If the little date on the carton of egg nog is earlier than the current date, FOR GOD SAKES STAY AWAY! The nog is officially tainted. If this proves confusing or you are unable to tell, just go ahead and guzzle beer instead. With the family around and all, you're gonna need it.

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