5.9/10
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201 user 228 critic

Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

Little Billy witness his parents getting killed by Santa after being warned by his senile grandpa that Santa punishes those who are naughty. Now Billy is 18, and out of the orphanage, and he has just become Santa, himself.

Writers:

Paul Caimi (based on a story by), Michael Hickey

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lilyan Chauvin ... Mother Superior
Gilmer McCormick Gilmer McCormick ... Sister Margaret
Toni Nero ... Pamela
Robert Brian Wilson ... Billy at 18
Britt Leach ... Mr. Sims
Nancy Borgenicht Nancy Borgenicht ... Mrs. Randall
H.E.D. Redford H.E.D. Redford ... Captain Richards
Danny Wagner Danny Wagner ... Billy at 8
Linnea Quigley ... Denise
Leo Geter ... Tommy
Randy Stumpf ... Andy
Will Hare ... Grandpa
Tara Buckman ... Mother (Ellie)
Geoff Hansen Geoff Hansen ... Father (Jim) (as Jeff Hansen)
Charles Dierkop ... Killer Santa
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Storyline

After seeing his parents murdered in front of him a young boy spends most of his life in an orphanage where he is abused by the mother superior. When he becomes a teenager, he gets a job as a department store Santa. When seeing two people having sex in the store brings on flashbacks of his parents, his turmoil leads him to become a Santa serial killer. Written by devint-16816

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He knows when you've been naughty See more »

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 November 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Slayride See more »

Filming Locations:

Heber City, Utah, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,065,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,432,800, 11 November 1984

Gross USA:

$2,491,460

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,491,460
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (uncut) | (video)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Producer Ira Barmak had to buy back the distribution rights to the film after Tri-Star pulled the film from theaters amidst the controversy. Tri-Star also rescinded deals with RCA/Columbia for home video and HBO for cable distribution. At a 2014 screening with Beyond Fest and Death Waltz Records, Executive Producer Dennis Whitehead stated the main reason for pulling the film may have actually been because Columbia/Tri-Star was owned by Coca Cola, and they wanted to avoid offending the company since Christmas was a major advertising holiday for their product. See more »

Goofs

While Billy and family are traveling in the opening scenes of the film, the radio reports the weather twice as being in the low 20s. Despite this very cold weather, no one in the family is wearing winter coats or gear. See more »

Quotes

Officer Miller: Can you believe this? It's Christmas Eve and we got orders to bring in Santa Claus.
See more »

Alternate Versions

A later version released on video contains an extra 3 minutes featuring more gore than the theatrical version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Sex at 24 Frames Per Second (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Christmas Fever
Written by Ira Barmak (as Ira Barmak)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A horror movie where the story is the best part. There's a first time for everything...
2 July 2015 | by lnvictaSee all my reviews

Silent Night, Deadly Night tells the story of a boy whose parents were killed in front of him as a child, and it was by a man dressed as Santa Claus. Not only that, the man shot the kid's dad in the head and tried to rape his mother before slitting her throat while the boy watched. He hid so he escaped, but the memory remained, even throughout Catholic school where the Mother Superior was strict and violent, saying punishment is good and all naughty children should be punished. Naturally, this messed with the kid's head, so one day when he's finally all grown up, Christmas time comes along at his job and someone has to dress up as Santa Claus. Well, who better than the kid whose parents were killed by Santa to play dress up! He then embraces being Santa Claus, a judgmental fat man who kills naughty people, and that's when the bodies start piling up.

It's a truly dark story. The movie would have been much better had they focused more on the psychological aspect as opposed to it just boiling down to "Santa is a killer. Now I'm Santa. Now I must kill!" It felt like the whole setup was wasted for an anticlimactic, soulless killing spree. Sure, there are some good kills, and there are plenty of boobs in typical '80s B-horror affair, but it failed to make an impact on anything more than a surface level. It's an enjoyable movie, it's simply a matter of greater potential not being realized.

Now this is a horror movie, not an unintentional comedy like its infamous sequel, and it's admittedly effective as one. It's refreshing when a horror movie has an actual narrative you can follow. Worth a watch if you're a horror buff or just want to watch Santa kill topless women for an hour and a half.


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