Before I start my review, let’s just all take a moment and get this out of our systems.
Is that out of everyone’s system? Good. Yes, that misshapen satsuma at the bottom of your stocking is 1987’s Silent Night, Deadly Night 2.
The movie takes place on Christmas Eve about ten years after the original. Billy’s brother, Ricky (Eric Freeman) is in a mental institution talking to a psychiatrist, Dr. Bloom (James L. Newman).
You get the feeling that the movie is going for a Michael Mann Manhunter kind of feeling but it just doesn’t have the budget or the talent.
The movie is then about forty-five minutes of footage from the Silent Night, Deadly Night. Ricky recounts Billy’s killing spree with extensive flashback footage, like in Jaws: The Revenge when Ellen Brody remembers things she never experienced.
The word on the street is that the director was told to re-edit the original into a new movie but Lee Harry insisted on shooting new footage with a terrible budget. I have to admire Harry’s desire to go forward and try to create something new.
The movie picks up a bit after recapping what happened in the original. Ricky is adopted by a loving couple but never really recovers from the trauma of his past and starts killing people he deems to be naughty. I’ll admit, Lee Harry did try to add memorable kills to the movie. This includes death via umbrella.
Things come to a head when Ricky’s at a movie theater and a Vanilla Ice lookalike is being particularly obnoxious.
Ricky goes to confront him and catches his girlfriend, Jennifer (Elizabeth Kaitan) with her ex, Chip (Ken Weichert). “Chip” is such an eighties name and it’s always synonymous for “Aryan douche.”
Ricky is enraged by Jennifer’s perceived lack of purity. His spree really kicks off with him electrocuting Chip and strangling Jennifer.
This is what sent Ricky to the institution. The movie has come full circle and, back in the present, Ricky kills the psychiatrist, escapes and goes to exact revenge on Mother Superior (Jean Miller, in heavy makeup to disguise the fact that she’s not Lilyan Chauvin).
Parts of this movie work. The kills were interesting and the most tense part was when Ricky was going after Mother Superior.
So much of this movie just doesn’t work, though. Part of it is the writing. Ricky just isn’t sympathetic. In Silent Night, Deadly Night you really felt bad for Billy. He had the worst luck. You wanted him to succeed but you’re helpless as he’s pushed over the edge. This movie seemed to be going for a Hannibal Lecter motif with Ricky as a violent, cunning sociopath but Ricky really lacks the charm and restraint of Hannibal Lecter. Remember in The Silence of the Lambs when Clarice first sees Hannibal in person and he’s just perfectly still? He doesn’t need to move to have presence. The plexiglass barrier adds to this sense of menace. Ricky is the opposite of this, he bounces all over the place and is snarling and angry. Some of this can be chalked up to bad writing and direction but a lot of it lands on the actor whose main method is extreme eyebrow usage. He emotes like a silent movie villain.
In the end, this movie leaves us with no one to root for, whether victim or killer. I found myself checking my phone a lot. I can see why it has such a cult following but it didn’t really have as many laughable moments as The Room. It’s garbage day, indeed.