Silent Night, Deadly Night 1 & 2 (1984)
Scene Selection Animation
Trailer-Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2
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|Year Of Production||1984|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Dual Disc Set
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Charles E. Sellier Jr.|
Robert Brian Wilson
|RPI||$19.95||Music||Perry Botkin Jr.|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Auto Pan & Scan Encoded||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Even if you haven't heard of it, the very title of this bona fide horror/slasher cult classic should give you some idea of its content. Silent Night, Deadly Night caused a furore on its release in 1981 - a reaction which surely would have pleased the producers at the time. However, initially this proved to be a disappointment because the film only lasted a few days theatrically before being cancelled.
Critics and conservatives alike panned the film for its premise involving an axe-welding psychopath dressed in a Santa suit. Largely because of this premise, renowned critics Roger Ebert & Gene Siskel positively hated the film. The late Gene Siskel even tried to shame many of those involved in the film on their television program. They argued that the film was morally wrong and totally irresponsible in regards to the spirit of Christmas. Nevertheless, over time Silent Night, Deadly Night achieved its goal - it became a worldwide cult success, spawning four sequels.
Seven year old Billy is severely traumatised after witnessing the random and brutal murder of his parents at the hands of a maniac dressed in a Santa suit. Earlier that same day Billy had been told by his mentally ill grandfather (Will Hare) that Santa would punish him for being naughty during the year. It goes without saying that from this day forward Billy develops a deep seated fear and loathing of the jolly fat man in a red suit.
A few years later, Billy and his younger brother, Ricky, are in St Mary's Orphanage. Billy is under the stringent guidance of the Mother Superior (Lilyan Chauvin), while the much kinder Sister Margaret (Gilmer McCormick) prefers a more gentle approach. Although they differ in their methods, both women try unsuccessfully to cure Billy of his fear and anxiety of the image of Santa Claus.
Years pass and Billy (Robert Brian Wilson) is now a young adult. Sister Margaret assists in finding him his first job - an assistant in a toy shop. Things seem quite normal and content in Billy's life. He enjoys the job and even has his eye on one of the female shop assistants, Pamela (Toni Nero). On Christmas Eve, the toy store owner, Mr. Sims (Britt Leach), is desperate to find an in-house Santa to replace an absent one. Billy is talked into donning the red suit and conversing with the children of store customers. What starts out as a positive exercise soon descends into one of sheer bedlam. Later that night at the store Christmas party, certain events trigger painful emotions inside Billy. He explodes in a fit a rage, embarking on an insatiable course of murder and mayhem.
The sequel, Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2, literally picks up where the first film leaves off. Billy's younger brother Ricky (Eric Freeman) is now a young adult. He has also been traumatised by these events - in particular, witnessing the demise of his older brother. Ricky is a high security prisoner in an asylum. The film opens with him being interviewed and assessed by yet another psychiatrist. Ricky becomes manic at the very sight of anything in the same vibrant red colour as a Santa suit (now that could be a problem). I'm sure I'm not spoiling anything by saying that more macabre murder and mayhem ensues.
The first half of Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 is very lazy. After 38 minutes of back-tracking over the events of the first film we finally get to the continuation of the story. Considering Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 only runs for 84 minutes, it's plain to see this film is a little thin on new content. Sure, some back-tracking to link the narrative is acceptable, but to use half the film for this purpose is simply ridiculous.
Thankfully though, these two films never take themselves too seriously. A prime example of this occurs in part 2 when Ricky and his girlfriend go to a cinema to see a horror film. The film they see is... Silent Night, Deadly Night - naturally. Another mark of redemption is that most of the corny dialogue and banal performances are firmly tongue-in-cheek - at least, I think they are.
Footnote: This edition of Silent Night, Deadly Night 1 & 2 is now out-of-print and may be difficult to find. To compound this, at the time of writing this review both films are not available locally for separate purchase on DVD.
Silent Night, Deadly Night 1 & 2 are both presented in the correct aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced.
The video transfers of both films are reasonably good. Sharpness levels are good, especially in close-up. Blacks were generally solid and shadows held nice detail. The first film (Silent Night, Deadly Night) contains reinstated film elements which were missing from previous censored editions. This consists of additional footage accompanying the more gruesome scenes in the film. This "new" footage is infrequent and very easy to spot. While the image is relatively clean, it is softer and the colour grading is totally different. While some people may find this annoying and distracting, it didn't cause any problems for me personally. Sure, it would have been great to have all elements properly graded and restored, but this is far better than having a censored print. I actually found it interesting to see what was previously missing and how it fits into the complete cut of the film. There were no such issues with Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2.
Apart from the previously mentioned grading issue, colours appeared natural and consistent.
A couple of very brief compression artefacts were evident on both discs. Silent Night, Deadly Night has two instances, occurring at 21:15 and 55:24. Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 contains two of the same artefacts, occurring at 10:39 and 57:42. Film-to-video artefacts were negligible and film artefacts were infrequent.
There are no subtitles on either disc.
Both DVD's are DVD 5 single layer discs, so there is no layer change.
Each disc features the one audio track - English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
I had no problems with dialogue quality and audio sync was generally accurate.
The original music used in Silent Night, Deadly Night is courtesy of Perry Botkin. The score was very good and delivered the desired effect. The original music for Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 was written by Michael Armstrong and was a little less impressive.
There was no surround activity, but the subwoofer kicked in during some "appropriate" moments.
|Surround Channel Use|
The main menu on both discs is static, silent and 16x9 enhanced.
There is only one insignificant extra in this set. That consists of the theatrical trailer for Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 (1:49) on the first disc.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
There are various DVD editions of Silent Night, Deadly Night and its four sequels. However, I will compare this edition with the similar Region 1 two-disc set released by Anchor Bay. It appears both editions may have been transferred from the same source, as the Anchor Bay edition features the same (un-restored) reinstated film elements.
The Anchor Bay edition has an interesting array of extras:
Silent Night, Deadly Night features an audio interview with director Charles E. Sellier, Jr. and Santa's Stocking of Outrage (letters of complaint).
Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 features a commentary with writer/director Lee Harry, writer Joseph H. Earle, and actor James Newman. It also has the original Screenplay (DVD-ROM), poster/still galleries and theatrical trailers.
Let's face it, these two films aren't the greatest horror films ever made but they have achieved a considerable cult following. Put simply, Silent Night, Deadly Night and Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 have accomplished their objective. But please make sure this set sits high and obscured on your shelf - for obvious reasons these are not films you'd want young kids to see.
The transfers are surprisingly quite good.
This edition is let down by the omission of extras available elsewhere.
|DVD||Panasonic DMP-BD35 Blu Ray Player, using HDMI output|
|Display||Hitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.|
|Amplification||Panasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS|
|Speakers||Fronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17|