Friday, December 17, 2010

Review: Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 (1987)

Director: Lee Harry
Starring: Eric Freeman, James Newman

"Red CAR. Good POINT."

Remember the first Silent Night, Deadly Night film? It was great. It was a total shlockfest of slasher clichés and it was absolutely wonderful at using them to create an entertaining cult horror film. Sure, it was stupid, but it was a fun kind of stupid. It was the kind of thing that was absolutely perfect to throw on and laugh at and have a ton of fun with. Unfortunately…it had a sequel.

Yes, the brilliantly titled Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 doesn’t even try to distinguish itself from the first film, and for good reason, as it really has nothing at all to offer besides a cheap ass internet meme that gets old after about 5 seconds. What a sack of shit, people; what a sack of shit! Let’s dig in and find out what makes this suck-tastic pile of Santa-droppings tick.

Our film starts off with our main character played by Eric Freeman, named Ricky, who is the brother of the guy from the original movie who killed everybody. He’s just…sitting there. This big black orderly comes in and starts setting up a tape recorder, doing everything as slowly and elaborately as possible. The first few minutes of the film are just the black guy setting the machine up while Freeman stares ominously at him. Gee, it’s almost like they were creating useless padding because they had no original material to use in their vapid, uncreative void of butt-clenching shitmongering that they just had to draw out every scene a lot longer than it should have been. Oh wait. THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT THEY WERE DOING.

This bald doctor guy comes in and tells the black orderly to leave, probably because his five-minute contract in the movie was up and the filmmakers couldn’t afford to pay him anymore – he is very adamant that the orderly leave the room. The doctor starts talking to Ricky about his crimes, telling Freeman that his time is very valuable, which I guess is ironic because this movie is a huge waste of said time, for anyone with half a brain at least.

Oh, yeah, and how about Ricky’s acting? For those of you who are unfamiliar with Eric Freeman’s performance, well…it’s special. That’s the best way to put it. He constantly over-emotes and adds emphasis to lines that don’t need it, constantly moves his eyebrows up and down like he’s being electrocuted and randomly laughs and grins to himself for no apparent reason. It’s just downright insane, a true cinematic trainwreck if there ever was one. He makes Tommy Wiseau look like…well, any respectable actor…by comparison. His performance is just unsalvageable in every respect.

The doctor asks Freeman if he remembers what happened when he was a kid, to which the movie kindly interjects with a flashback of the entire scene from the first film where the Santa suit guy mugged and killed the kids’ parents. They just play the whole thing exactly as it was, except with dull narration and shittier music. And brace yourselves, audience, because this is what you’re in for in the next 40 minutes of movie! Nothing but flashbacks! You have got to be FUCKING kidding me, movie. I mean really? If I had paid money to see this in theater back in the day, I would have been livid! This is simply the pinnacle of phoned in, drooling-monkey filmmaking. It’s purely asinine.

After that we get, surprise, another flashback, this time of the incidents at the orphanage where the boys were tormented by Mother Superior, again with nothing but footage of the original film. Okay, what, did this kid just not have ANY memories of his own? Half the time we barely even see Ricky; it’s just about Billy from the first film. But this is a flashback told from Ricky’s perspective. Why would he remember some of this stuff that Billy went through? A lot of it doesn’t even have Ricky in the scene! What sense does that make?

Oh, and what’s next? MORE FLASHBACKS. It’s like they’re taunting me with how bad they can be. Did they just assume nobody coming into a movie titled “Silent Night, Deadly Night 2” had seen the previous film? I know this movie is a pile of ass scum compared to the original, which already was no prize-winning piece of cinema itself, but c’mon, at least give us something substantial…okay, okay, that’s not fair, I admit. Expecting too much from this movie is like expecting Shakespearean poetry from that kid who sat in the back of your Kindergarten class and ate paint chips off the wall instead of paying attention.

But seriously! They show a flashback of that scene from the original where the police almost opened fire on that suburban father dressed up as Santa, sneaking into his own house. Even Billy wasn’t there to see that; how would Ricky know about it in order to tell it in a flashback? Was he just like…supremely omniscient? Is he secretly a Lovecraftian-styled entity who can see all that has to do with killer Santa Clauses? Is he Yogth-Santa-Clausethoth the Great? Did he have bugs planted with the police to hear and see everything that went on that night? It’s seriously mindboggling. There’s so little actual human thought put into this movie’s construction that it becomes absolutely fascinating how inept it is at doing anything correctly.

So after the movie FINALLY decides to get off its ass and show us some original material, we see that Ricky grew up with a nice family and was A-OK. We see him watching another couple in the bushes and he sees that the guy attempts to rape her, because he’s drunk, I guess. Ricky’s response is completely natural and logical: He runs the douchebag over with his own red car, backs up and does it again about three or four more times. Of course the girl thanks him after that, because…I guess she wouldn’t run away screaming at the prospect of a guy brutally murdering her boyfriend, no matter how much of a piece of shit he was. Huh. I would have thought she would at least be scared out of her mind that there was a murderer there in the first place, but…okay, fine, I’m dropping it; expecting too much again.

We see another scene where Ricky comes across what looks like a fat version of Robert DeNiro beating up on this other guy who owes him money. Ricky says, overdubbed, that it sounded like a squirrel getting its nuts squeezed – what, does he know what that sounds like? He kills the guy with an umbrella through the chest, in what I think was the inspiration for the Umbrella Corporation from Resident Evil. At least something good came of this.

Then Ricky meets his girlfriend Jennifer, or something or other, and they hit it off because…well, you got me there. Maybe she’s attracted to his moving eyebrows; they’re the best actors in this fucking movie, anyway. They go to the movies where Jennifer expresses her concern over the loudmouthed asshole in the back who is impatient for the movie to start. She says "Are we going to have to listen to that for the next 2 hours?" Hey, bitch, don’t you give me that. I had to sit through 40 minutes of flashbacks to even get to this half-assed slop. Don't you give me any lip today.

While Ricky goes to take care of that guy – with the rest of the theater not noticing him as he murders the guy – a random new character with hair that looks like the rear end of a duck appears out of nowhere. He sort of springs out of the ground as if through a trap door, or like he's a new puppet introduced in a finger puppet show. Which would still be deeper and more enjoyable than this crap. And no, in case you were wondering, nothing about this character's appearance is ever really explained. Quell your disappointment now.

Apparently this is her ex-boyfriend, who wants her back even though he stood her up, cheated on her AND RUINED HER FAVORITE SWEATER! How heinous. One of those things doesn’t quite match the rest…do you think he did those three things in that exact order? Like she just came home and he was there with some other chick and…eugh, don’t really want to think about the rest of that one, especially if it has to do with “ruining a sweater.”

So he’s a douche. And Ricky kills him the next day by electrocuting him to death with a car battery…charming. He then kills Jennifer, too, because I guess he didn’t like how she had sex with another guy before him.

Then he pretty much snaps and goes on a rampage as he steals a gun from a cop with the aid of very, very poor editing. He shoots one guy for no reason other than because he shouted at him, and then moves onto the next house, where we see the birth of an Internet phenomenon. You can’t have a review of this movie without it, so let’s just get it over with:

Yeah, yeah, laugh it up; let’s move on. He lights a car on fire just by shooting at it a few times and then comes to this barricade of police, because I guess they really couldn’t handle one psycho with a gun without getting a whole roadblock of cars to stop him. Dumbasses. He threatens to shoot himself – foreseeing the reactions of people who would watch this movie – and the cops all freak out and start telling him not to be a fool, and not to take his life. Even though they were going to shoot him anyway. What a bunch of indecisive pussies.

So we go back to the mental hospital where it’s revealed that Ricky killed the doctor in the middle of his story? What? So he killed the guy but kept on talking anyway? That’s…really strange! He escapes, steals a Santa costume from some Salvation Army worker and goes to kill Mother Superior, who lives at apartment number 666. Isn’t a nun living in an apartment numbered ‘666’ kind of like a Buddhist living in a mansion full of money and women? He stalks around the house for a bit and rips off The Shining by axing through a door and grinning through it. Mother Superior uses the brilliant escape tactic of hiding behind a second door even though hiding behind the first one worked so well just seconds before. He throws her down the stairs but his axe gets stuck in her wheelchair. This raises the question of, why does he need that axe to kill this decrepit, wheelchair bound 90 year old woman anyway? It seems like he'd be able to do that just by flicking her with his index finger or something.

After the police finally arrive again, this time sobered up and not weeping over him, we get this great scene with the most fearsome utterance of any horror slasher ever:

Isn’t that just BONE CHILLING?!?!

Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 is awful! Truly awful in every sense of the word! There’s no logic to anything here, half of the film is made up of flashbacks and it fails to live up to any of the campy awesomeness of the first one, as really all it has going for it is the over the top acting, and, here at least, that’s a one-note joke if there ever was one. Granted, there was a reason for the excessive flashbacks, as the filmmakers had little money or sponsoring at all, but that doesn’t make this movie any better. It’s got its appeal to those fans of really, really bad movies, but…trust me when I say this movie isn’t worth your time. Even if you had seen every other movie in the history of the world besides this one, Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 would still be a steaming pile of suck with a side-dosage of lame to boot. Wretched beyond belief.