I half considered waiting until Christmas Eve to post this particular review, but that would have been far too predictable. I’ll probably review Halloween (1978) on Christmas Eve instead. Speaking of which, when John Carpenter and Debra Hill elected to set their sub Psycho (1960) derivation around Halloween, there was almost an instant inevitability about a film like Silent Night, Deadly Night. This wasn’t the first Christmas themed slasher film though, that dubious honour goes to You Better Watch Out (1980 aka Christmas Evil - and it is as dreadful as it sounds!). It made the festive themed episode of Tales from the Crypt (1972) with Joan Collins look like a masterpiece…its quite surprising to think that this 20 minute Amicus segment still remains the gold standard of Christmas horror. Lobotomised audiences had also queued up for Prom Night (1980/2008), Mother’s Day (1980), New Years Evil (1980) Graduation Day (1981) and My Bloody Valentine (1981/2009), before Silent Night, Deadly Night appropriated the image of Santa Claus and subverted him into a homicidal maniac gleefully slashing and hacking through another troupè of badly cast stereotypes. Although the festive season was a major feature of Bob Clark’s Canadian chiller Black Christmas (1974), the films overall sense of irony and intelligence puts it in a very exclusive club of ‘slasher’ films that are actually any good (by my reckoning this club has less then ten members). Instead of dealing in irony SNDN deals in hard edged cynicism, and it is this pessimistic attitude to the festive season that has aided its continued prominence.
© Shaun Anderson 2010