VICTORY OVER VHS OBLIVION! After a staggering 94 WEEKS among CineSchlock-O-Rama's Most Wanted, the unyielding vigilance of all CineSchlockers has been rewarded with a double-barrel capture.
SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT (5 of 5 stars): They're STILL protesting this gloriously fiendish malignment of jolly ol' Saint Nick! Young Billy's life-defining night arrives Christmas Eve when his nutzoid gramps terrifies him with tales of a vengeful Mr. Claus who PUNISHES naughty boys and girls. This nightmare is realized when the tike's family is accosted by a Santa-suited maniac who blows away his daddy and gleefully rips off his momma's blouse before slashing her throat. Billy's doom-filled years under the whims of a sadistic nun (Lilyan Chauvin) and holiday taunts at an orphanage virtually assure Robert Brian Wilson's psychotic meltdown that bloodies the delicious final reel -- such as when CineSchlocker idol Linnea Quigley is impaled on deer antlers for being exceedingly NAUGHTY atop a pool table. This deeply subversive gem wrung fresh plasma from the then sequel-worn slasher genre and deserves, if not the utmost respect, at least another look by all good little CineSchlockers. There's no better time now that Anchor Bay's cobbled together the most "uncut" version to date, though momentarily at the expense of pristine image quality. Don't overlook the 30-minute phone interview with apologetic auteur Charles E. Sellier Jr. (of "Grizzly Adams" fame) or priceless selections from "Santa's Stocking of Outrage." Seven breasts. 12 corpses. Spanking. Anatomical activities. Decapitated snowman. Multiple dead Santas. Bully bludgeoning. Nunspolitation. Nostalgic toy store footage (Can you spy Jabba the Hutt, Castle Greyskull or G.I. Joe?) Christmas crooning. Gratuitous "hard work" montage. Boozing. Two implied rapes. Oily radio deejays. Rampant axe wielding. Mother Superior snarls: "You will learn what it is to be SORRY! ... Punishment is absolute. Punishment is necessary. Punishment is good!" (1984, 85 mins Unrated, 1.85:1 anam, DD mono, Director interview, Angry letters, Photo gallery, Trailers, Printed liner notes detailing studio's decision to pull the film three weeks into a profitable run.)
SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT PART 2 (1 of 5 stars): They're kidding, right? FORTY MINUTES of this sequel's running time is divvied among TWELVE flashback sequences as Billy's younger brother Ricky (Eric Freeman) rassles the bats in his belfry. In fact, it isn't until the 50-minute mark before his inevitable homicidal rampage begins and another 25 minutes after that before he dutifully dons a Santa suit and hollers "PUNISH!" while pursuing the family pastime. CineSchlockers can hear firsthand how and WHY this Frankensteinian disaster was committed to film during a holly, jolly commentary by mercenary director Lee Harry and writer Joe Earle alongside actor James Newman who stonefaced it as Ricky's psychiatrist. No breasts (Darn Elizabeth Kaitan's ninja-esque nipples.) 14 corpses. Plus seven recycled breasts and 10 repurposed corpses. Excessive eyebrow emoting (which may explain Mr. Freeman's truncated career.) Diddling. Gratuitous movie-within-a-movie sequence. One back-alley beating. Umbrella to the gut with coincidentally timed rain storm. Exploding import. Suburban gun rampage. Nun abuse. Pipe puffing. High-voltage dentistry. Delayed-reaction decapitation. Sign over holiday donation till reads: "Santa wants you to give a BUCK for the children." (1987, 88 mins, 1.85:1 anam, DD mono, Commentary, Trailer.)
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G. Noel Gross is a Dallas graphic designer and avowed Drive-In Mutant who specializes in scribbling B-movie reviews. Noel is inspired by Joe Bob Briggs and his gospel of blood, breasts and beasts.