Christmas Movies: Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 (1987)

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GARBAGE DAY!

I have, no fooling, seen the above video over 500 times. It’s impossible not to smile at the sheer joy with which Ricky shoots a guy through a bin, and now knowing the context of it, it’s even funnier. Even if the rest of the film were boring (which it’s definitely not), it’s almost worth it for this blissful 30 seconds alone.

At the end of part 1, Ricky is a young boy at the orphanage who witnesses the very end of his brother’s Santa-themed murderous rampage; and at the beginning of part 2 he’s all grown up and in an interview room with a psychiatrist. Ricky, it is safe to say, has been a bad boy, or just a bad actor, but because we don’t need to know about that yet we get a brief recap of his brother’s activities in the form of an interview.

Oh, did I say brief? What I meant to say was, apart from the odd few seconds of Ricky and some snatches of voiceover, we’re treated to the entire original film in 40 minutes. 40 minutes! While this is small potatoes to people who’ve made it through “Sleepaway Camp 4” and “Puppet Master: The Legacy”, it’s still a fairly substantial chunk, but we do get to see some of the stupider parts of the original movie again, with its exceptionally heavy-handed tying of sex to punishment to death. It makes a fun 40 minute movie!

We also get to ponder just how Ricky found all this out. The spree lasted a day, give or take, and the two brothers didn’t speak in that time, and I personally like best when he has traumatic flashbacks to events he can’t possibly have seen or known about. As it gets rumbling with new material, we have a little bit of Ricky as a kid with his new foster parents, then a segment where Ricky is, presumably, a teenager, but he’s being played by a different actor, despite this Ricky and the actual Ricky looking roughly the same age. What? He does find a couple who’ve driven out into the wilderness to have sex, despite them both being in their 30s and presumably having homes to go to, and kills the guy because he tries to rape the woman. I’m not entirely sure this isn’t test footage from a different version of this film.

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In a rather strange move, the majority of the new film, which you remember has the title “Silent Night, Deadly Night 2”, is set in the summer. Ricky (now at least played by the right actor) gets a job and a girlfriend, but he just can’t stop putting people on the naughty list. In one truly magnificent scene, he takes his date to the cinema, where they’re showing the first “Silent Night, Deadly Night” movie! Plus he murders two people in the cinema and no-one notices!

The scene that will forever be etched in the annals of bad movie lore, of course, is after he fries his girlfriend’s ex with jumper cables, she calls him crazy, he strangles her with a car aerial, kills a cop, takes his gun, goes on a bit of a spree and, of course, gives us full GARBAGE DAY. Shall we watch it again? Let’s!

We then catch up with the interview framing device, but Ricky has decided that all his problems stem from the old Mother Superior and decides to go and pay her a visit. But as I’ve spoiled the hell out of everything up to now, I’ll leave that last section to you, patient viewer.

Even if you leave out the half-the-movie flashback, this is a really weird one. Eric Freeman (Ricky) is a spectacularly bad actor – “Garbage Day” is the pitch he operates at the entire time; and it’s not like anyone else is tons better. The film is a complete mess structurally, although with all the gore from part 1 added, a pretty gruesome one. The ending is at least satisfying though, with the Mother Superior being the oldest Final Girl in slasher film history – also, her house number is 666, just in case you weren’t quite sure if she was a bad ‘un or not. We’re unfortunately left with the same miserable problem the first one had – it’s about a kid twisted into murder by circumstances beyond his control, ignored and abused until he was beyond saving. There’s no redemption, no resolution to any of it – think about it too much and you’ll start to feel quite depressed.

But…I loved it! it’s much better at being so-bad-it’s-good than its predecessor; and it’s just so much fun watching Ricky strut round, killing folk. I’m as surprised as you are, but it;s just so packed with weirdness, with so many odd and counter-intuitive choices being made, that’s it’s absolutely worth watching.

Rating: thumbs up

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One thought on “Christmas Movies: Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 (1987)

  1. Pingback: The ISCFC vs. Horror Franchises |

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