Silent Night (2012)

I’ve made it clear I’m saving my tears for tragedies more devastating than a horror movie being remade HERE. Let me also be honest and admit that I get a kick out of watching supposedly broad-minded horror fans stomp their feet and get all Harper Valley P.T A. puritanical whenever a new one is announced. Sorry, nothing is more comical than a person in a zombie T-shirt crying about the death of originality. Greedy Hollywood is “out of ideas” that, or maybe they just know that pious bubble-dwellers will promote their film ad nauseum by bitching about it non-stop for a year…and then see it anyway. Can you believe that somebody had the gall to remake SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT? How can anyone hope to improve upon that fine piece of cinematic artistry? Don’t get me wrong, I adore SNDN but a lot of my affection for it is because it is crass, disrespectful and mocks propriety. It’s not a movie that would clutch its pearls and say “Well, I never!” at the thought of being remade. It was born to step on toes.

If you are appalled by remakes you better not watch SILENT NIGHT (2012); not only does it use a previously existing movie as a springboard to tell its story, it brazenly lifts swatches of content from fellow maligned remakes! Still teary-eyed about the MY BLOODY VALENTINE redo? Well here comes JAIME KING and a small town atmosphere to pour salt on your wounds! Still throwing darts at that ROB ZOMBIE poster because he successfully burned every copy of JOHN CARPENTER‘s masterpiece in existence? Here comes that no good MALCOLM McDOWELL and he’s brought expressive color filters and light flares with him! That’s gotta sting. Never mind that the first two SNDN‘s, long out of print, have been released at a reduced price to coincide with this differently titled movie’s release, this abomination was built to ruin everybody’s innocent memories! How will we ever go on?

SILENT NIGHT is a fine modern slasher. It has an exceedingly likable lead in KING and even though it’s lame on occasion, its coal black sense of humor easily wins out in the end. They did a superior job making the Santa killer look menacing and there are more than a couple inspired kills. Granted, some of the nods to the original work better than others. It’s always nice during the holidays to see someone impaled on antlers, but they needed to hire a much gnarlier dude to play phony-comatose grandpa. The guy they chose could play a patriarch on a nighttime soap! Look, I LOVE Christmas horror films and regardless of this flick’s origin, it’s a welcome addition to my collection. It’s too soon to say if it will become part of my seasonal rotation but if I had to guess I’d say, “Who am I kidding? Yes.” It’s a crisp breezy romp and I must put a star on its tree for not shying away from killing a bratty kid who asked for it. I’ll always favor the orginal’s more personal story focusing on the forging of a psychopath, but there’s room in my stocking for this approach too. I won’t over sell it because I’m bias as hell but if you’re into killer Santas movies than it’s a must see all the way. In fact, I’m hoping it follows its inspiration’s lead and spews out many sequels for years to come. Yes, SEQUELS! Groans of disapproval are music to my ears.

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10 years ago

I can definitely identify with those feelings. There are thousands of books waiting to be adapted for the big screen, but the directors today have no imagination of their own. Remakes and re-imaginings be damned, especially Halloween and Star Trek.

We live in a sorry period of cinema.

10 years ago

Yeah, it’s not perfect–but I liked it too. Santa with a flamethrower, c’mon–what’s not to enjoy?

If you’ll indulge me here a minute, I saw this movie less as a re-make (regardless of the language used by the marketers and reviewers) and more of an expression of pastiche–pulling together a collection of horror images/motifs from popular movies. I kind of liked how it was used here.

10 years ago

Yes, I am in total agreement with you. I actually saw many nods to Christmas Evil, as well as several other films–which I think you allude to as well. Once I saw this was happening in the film, I really enjoyed looking for more film references. “Nothing new under the sun” is a very post-modern attitude which I too embrace–maybe because I’m over 40 and I feel like I’ve seen it all. But making references to some of my favorite horror films is a clever way to keep my interest–and though it doesn’t always work–I feel like it did in this movie. Thanks for starting this discussion about Silent Night–and giving me a opportunity to think about this film a little more deeply than I would have all by myself.

Eric Eddy
10 years ago

I kind of like that this killer is kind of like a fairy tale, taking elements from other killer Santa stories. I’m actually kind of excited about this one. I do hope the kills are inventive. Strangled with Christmas lights (a la the posted clip) is kind of ho-hum, not ho-ho-ho.

10 years ago

Killer Santa is such a bare bones broad concept in the first place that it makes any habitual incessant remake whiners choosing not to give Silent Night a fair shake “BECAUSE BOO! THEY DONE GONE RAPED AND BURNT MY CULT CLASSIC TO THE GROUND! THOSE UNORIGINAL MUSIC VIDEO DIRECTING PRICKS!” come off as all the more asinine and petulant. Not that remakes don’t mostly suck to high heaven but the franchise fetish system is the problem, not loosely recycling this or that random cult item; especially if you can mine it for gloriously gory gold the way Silent Night did.

For one, it’s a totally different thing than rebooting all the big franchise slashers like Mike, Jason, Fred or Leather than to take the odd stab at another slashing Santa. And even then the real problem everybody should have when it comes to franchise reboots is with the bean counters’ slavish devotion to brand names and franchises in the first place and utter disdain for/dismissal of anything new that isn’t gimmick-laden/flavor of the week.

Look; the real reason all those franchises had to be eventually rebooted was because Hollyweird had simply squeezed every derivative cash-in sequel they could out of the first runs of said franchises. Since they couldn’t literally carry on for 17 sequels, (that’s how you got Freddy vs. Jason; there was nowhere else left to go) they had to find a side door to milk the boogeymen cashcows further and remakes it was.

Furthermore, except for Freddy and even he had his off-kilter fabulous part 2, those franchises had a pretty hard time even remaining consistent from sequel-to-sequel during their original runs.

For starters, there’s absolutely no way the families in TCM 3 OR 4 are the same deranged yokels as the original family. By 4, they’re even straight up white trash with the only noteworthy thing being McConaughey achieving Nic Cage Deadfall-levels of WTF-ness as Vilmer. And Leather has regressed into a wussier version of Jame Gumb. Oh, and grandpa’s back for that one.

But yep… undeniably 3 different families in the original 4 TCM movies. And with four wildly different renditions of Leather to boot. Truth be told having the cook in TCM 2 is the one element that even makes that one canon; yes even more so than boasting a returning Hooper at the helm. (Does anybody else feel like the final shot of TCM 2 was lifted from the final shot of Tourist Trap; or at least the gist of it?)

Those ones in the California woods did seem pretty bad ass though; even their Leatherface was a mean raping babymaking one even though I still vastly prefer Gunnar’s frightened animal that’s as scared of you as you are of him. I mean if the remake totally turned Leatherface into Jason, then TCM 3 at least split the distance.

Speaking of hockey mask, need we delve into J. Voorhees’ spotty history? I mean it’s no wonder he wound up in space. Seriously, though; that putrid mama’s boy wasn’t even the killer in three COUNT ‘EM THREE of his own movies; yes, I’m including the one that ripped off The Hidden as a ripoff as far as being an actual Jason movie. It’s certainly as preposterous a sham as the paramedic impersonates Jason one.

Of course, it is funny that the Saw franchise finally found a way around having to resurrect a killer every damn year; just make torture devices and traps into the actual killers and stars of the franchise.

Unoriginality and trends remain the enemies. What’s the difference between an uninspired sequel and uninspired remake? There ain’t one.

I also agree that it’s so late in the ballgame by now that everything’s going to get recycled. Who cares? Who cares if Otis Firefly was a toned down more articulate Chop Top? (At least in HO1KC; by Rejects, he was much more Charlie Manson-esque.) Or how much Zombie lifted from TCM 2 for both of those films? As long as the effort was legitimately put in unlike the soulless bland shitstain 13th and Elm Street reboots.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest……..


I had a twisted good time with this one. Yes, I did.

That moral high ground that says you have to find the characters to be good upstanding citizens in the first place or else it’s just idiot livestock being slaughtered since you don’t give a damn about the cardboard characters? Yeah, I don’t occupy that higher ground. Of course, these characters were more pure loathsome scumbag variety than annoyingly cardboard and obnoxious; hell, they didn’t get to stick around long to develop except for a couple of great red herring Santa’s. Also good call on the creepy old granddad not being nearly creepy enough.

It’s refreshing to see the T and A quotient filled by natural gals for once instead of failed strippers jacked up with ridiculous bolt-on breasticles. The poor girl that was fed through the wood chipper was a hot little number. Too bad; but what an uncompromising mean spirited kill. Now that’s how you go for broke.

The killer came off as surprisingly human and credible once he was finally revealed. Sometimes a guy just being fucking nuts is more than enough as opposed to so much convoluted mumbo jumbo.

Even though I know different film-makers produced Silent Night, just seeing King again has me wanting to give the My Bloody Valentine remake another shot. It’s not that I didn’t like it; it’s just that nothing about it stuck with me at all. There were certainly enough familiar faces that it had to have had more charm than that.

Of course I vastly preferred the original My Bloody Valentine whereas I easily prefer this Silent Night gruefeast over the Silent Night, Deadly Night.

Sign me up for a sequel to Silent Night as well. I wanna see what else this particular Santa has in his grizzly bag. I’ll certainly take a pesky old remake as good as this one over something as new and original as the Hatchet series; where while you can tell their heart’s in a good place it all falls so woefully fucking flat. Not this, though; it managed to achieve the same level of wonderfully wrong as something like Feast. Bravo, Silent Night. Bravo.