When you think of bad sequels, a few titles spring to mind. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. The Exorcist II: The Heretic. Batman and Robin. Troll 2 is so infamously bad, it got its own documentary. But Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 gives all of these titles a run or their money. For the seventh day of our 12 Days of Christmas Carnage, we take a look at the sequel that gave birth to one of the greatest gif’s of all time. There’s no doubt that this is a bad movie. The only question is whether this Christmas turkey rises to the level of ‘so bad, it’s good.’
Several years have passed since police shot down the Santa Claus killer, Billy Caldwell. Now his younger brother, Ricky, is institutionalized in a forensic psychiatric facility following his own brutal killing spree. As he recounts his brother’s troubles to psychiatrist Dr. Henry Bloom, Ricky reveals he’s no less depraved than his brother. When Ricky escapes the institutions, he seek revenge on the one person he holds account for both his and Billy’s crimes – Mother Superior.
A Flashback Within a Flashback…
Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat. Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 is a really, really bad movie. Yet two things save this inept sequel from being unwatchable. First, it’s a hilariously incompetent movie that becomes unintentionally hilarious as it progresses. Second, nearly half of the movie is just made up of footage from the first movie. Yes, that’s right. Most of Part 2 is a literal re-hashing of Part 1.
….nearly half of the movie is just made up of footage from the first movie. Yes, that’s right. Most of Part 2 is a literal re-hashing of Part 1.
Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 spends its first 30 to 40 minutes reviewing the events of the first movie through Ricky’s therapy session. In some amazing logical acrobatics, Ricky recounts events that happened to Billy, not him. In fact, Ricky can even remember things that Billy himself didn’t experience. Ever hear of something called infantile amnesia? Don’t worry, neither have the makers of this movie. But Ricky somehow recalls things that happened when he was a baby. Arguably, the best of these flashbacks occurs when Ricky goes to the movies with his girlfriend, and watches a scene from the first movie. Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 was ‘meta’ before Wes Craven’s Scream.
On Second Thought, Stick With The Flashbacks
As ridiculous and borderline offensive as Part 2’s use of old footage feels, it’s probably the best part of the movie. No, the original Silent Night, Deadly Night wasn’t a classic. But it was at times a brutally effective slice of ‘70’s splatter exploitation film-making. In contrast, Part 2 is inept in any and every way imaginable. When characters fall to the ground, it looks like staged scenes from a high school Christmas concert.
Most of the sequel’s budget must have been squandered on the most inexplicable car explosion in movie history.
Most of the sequel’s limited budget must have been squandered on the most inexplicable car explosion in movie history. Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 is a cheapo-looking movie. There are a couple of nasty and effective death scenes including the only use of an umbrella in a horror movie that I can recall. Aside from these scenes, the sequel suffers from comparison with the original Silent Night … and just about any other horror movie.
And the Oscar Goes To…
Not Eric Freeman. There’s bad acting, and then there’s what Freeman does in Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2. Is it the thing Freeman does with his eyebrows? Could it be the lack of doing anything with the rest of his body? This is the very definition of stiff acting. Maybe it’s Freeman’s over-the-top delivery? Take your pick – Freeman gives one of the worst performances in horror film history. But it’s not all bad. Freeman is so bad that eventually his acting transcends the movie and becomes a form of surreal humour. Let’s not forget that Freeman gifted us all with his ‘Garbage Line’ line delivery. To date, it remains one of the greatest gif’s of all time.
Happy Garbage Day, Everyone
To this very day, I still vividly recall watching Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 on VHS with friends. We were understandably outraged with the cheap use of footage from the first movie. But when we saw the ‘Garbage Day’ scene, we knew we had just witnessed something special. With one line of dialogue, Part 2 wrote its ticket into the annals of bad movie history. Do yourself a favour and unwrap Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 for your Christmas viewing. And a Happy Garbage Day, Everyone!
THE PROFESSOR’S FINAL GRADE: F (But an A in our hearts)