RJ Baylet Reviews: Silent Night Deadly Night

Charles Sellier’s 1984 Silent Night, Deadly Night is akin to drinking moonshine. It’s nowhere near as nuanced, textured or sophisticated as a pint of Thornbridge Jaipur IPA (the finest beer ever made outside Belgium). Its rough around the edges, the ingredients are unsubtle and poorly blended if at all. The texture’s abrasive, the aroma is unpalatable. Thusly the effects are highly enjoyable. To continue the analogy, it makes your eyes water and your nose run before it even hits your palate and when it lands it tries to strangle you from the inside while punching your
brain in at its base.

It is not an experience that you will forget in short time.

Silent Night, Deadly Night is oddly fascinating and endlessly rewatchable. Its a brutish film almost willfully ignorant and scornful of storytelling conventions, and yet in doing so it bizarrely turns itself into the slasher version of a Homeric epic. Much like the Illiad or Odyssea, our protagonist, the only person of any character in the story, is an unlikable, aggressive, self­ignorant psychopath. As such he, Billy (Robert Brian Wilson) the psycho Santa, is enthralling. He allows us truly into surreal world the likes of which so many ‘art’ films strive so desperately for and yet can never achieve simply by trying so.

Adding to this is the fact nearly all victims are introduced just to become fodder for Billy. Again, its so bizarrely detached that its captivating. It is the slasher movie purely distilled, so that its the genre’s key elements that are to be consumed and mixed internally, instead of processed by the film makers and blended into easily digestible baby food.

Silent Night, Deadly Night is not everyone’s cup of tea. Its not even a particularly well made movie. But for horror fans and film theorists, it is a dream.
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