Silent Night Deadly Night
We certainly put this off as long as we could, and now we’re kind of wondering why. Both of us learned that our memories of this notorious Santa slasher did not do it justice. We even forgot that Linnea Quigley had a role. Come listen to our take on one of horror’s most infamous films.
Silent Night Deadly Night (1984)
Episode 237, 2 Guys and a Chainsaw
Craig: hello and
Todd: welcome to another episode of two guys and chainsaws
Todd: taught. And I’m Craig, while we are now entering the Christmas season. Are we not Craig?
Craig: Yes. Ho, ho, ho. I know, right? It just seems so exciting this year, even though who knows how, what Christmas is going to be like this year, everything is so weird this year, but it feels nice to have something
Todd: to hold on.
Craig: guess, you know, usually. In our house. Uh, we hold off decorating for Christmas until, uh, after Thanksgiving this year, like two days after Halloween, Christmas, everywhere.
Craig: just, we, we need a little bit of joy and cheer and we’ve had our Christmas decorations up for a little while. And. Yeah, it, it helps a little bit,
Todd: there’s that feeling right? That this is like 2020, and it’s just the year. And somehow when everything turns over to 2021, there’s going to be some massive change.
So it was just like,
Craig: let’s hope knock on wood.
Todd: I sure. On Christmas as fast as possible so that we can get to 2021, hopefully be a little bit better.
Craig: I don’t know. You know, our, our Christmas tree may just stay up until.
Todd: We’re just going
Craig: to hang on to that Christmas hope until things start to look up and hopefully that will,
Todd: until we can step outside our front doors again.
Oh man. Well, speaking of holiday horrors, we have a nice little, um, batch of horror films, the Christmas themed ready for you this month. And uh, this year we decided that we might as well get around to, I don’t know, we’ve had this podcast. Since 2016, is that right? 2015, uh, 15. We’ve been doing this podcast for at least five years and, uh, coming up on two, 250 episodes very shortly.
And we’ve never done silent night, deadly night, probably one of the most notorious of the holiday theme. Christmas movies came out in 1984 and it is almost quaint to imagine. The level of controversy that this stupid movie made when it came out, apparently the, the trailers for this movie. And if you go onto YouTube, you can see some pretty interesting trailers.
The original trailers for this movie really emphasize the fact that, Hey, guess what? This is a killer Santa. It was the night before Christmas is, uh, being spoken in the foreground and in the visuals, you’re seeing a clearly a person in a Santa suit, pulling out a gun and shooting somebody and. Using a bow and arrow and shooting somebody and pulling out a knife and stabbing somebody and picking an ax up off the wall and axing somebody that didn’t apparently go down too well with the parents who were watching television around prime time with their kids who would have known.
So, uh, but yeah, such a controversy that the movie was released for about 10 days in the theaters, probably about 398 screens across the us. And it was pulled after that. The ads were pulled off of TV and the actual movie was taken out of the theaters. I found when I was looking this up, Tri-Star Columbia was the one that put out this film.
And at the time it was owned by Coca Cola. Coca Cola is well-known for, I mean, they practically invented the modern day image of Santa Claus. And so it’s a little funny, a little ironic, right. That that would be the company. Ultimately putting out this thing. And so when the controversy started to stew, I’m sure there was a little bit of pressure from way up high.
Hey, don’t screw up the holiday thing we have going with our advertising and let’s just get this movie out of theaters. However nightmare on Elm street, the very first one came out the very same time this did now. He wasn’t released in quite as many theaters, but this within its first weekend out, grossed it.
Made 2.5 million on about a $750,000 budget before it was pulled. And, uh, I think Tristar maintains right now that if it were allowed to stay in the theaters, it would have grossed over $20 million. That’s their estimate, right. Kind of a shame, but you know, the level of controversy that the movie generated you really can’t.
By that, I guess, unfortunately they couldn’t take too much advantage of it, but nowadays it’s a called classic. It got finally got released in the UK in 2009. I believe it was released into theaters a year later with a more muted advertising campaign in 1985, it’s been available on video, various forms.
Mostly cut a little bit. Some of the footage has been cut from the film initially, just because they were worried it would get an X rating. And a, the movie version that we saw has that most of that, uh, cut footage edited back in, although the prints are a little lousy and we’re not able to be. Cleaned up as well.
They were not stored very well. So you can see, and that is handy for us. You can actually see which of the footage was originally cut from the movie and reinserted, because there’s a clear difference in the visual quality of the picture. And if you get any of these DVD or Blu-ray releases, that’s what you’re going to get.
Yeah. Happy to really talk about it this year, this year, because actually I had never seen it before.
Craig: Are you serious?
Todd: Can you believe it? I mean, seriously, like passing this movie on the video store shelves. The box arts stands out like it like anything, you know, you always look at it. Yeah. Killer Santa. Is this arm with an ax kind of hanging outside of a chimney, like Santa is going down the chimney with an ax and notorious film, even when we were kids.
And I know we never actually ended up reading it and watching it. And I have no idea why.
Craig: You, you are so full of shit because we have, I believe you, now that you’re saying that you’ve never seen it before, but I’m saying you’re full of shit because we have talked about this movie several times, like you and I have talked about this.
Oh, thank you. And I privately off Mike or whatever have talked about this movie and how bad it is and how we don’t want to do it. Cause it’s so bad. Oh. And you’ve never seen, Oh, whatever. God.
Todd: Nope, no, you’re right. I mean, let me, let me clarify. I don’t mean I’ve never seen it. What I mean is I’ve seen it come up on cable before.
And I’ve seen little bits and pieces and I’ve started to watch it and I’ve gotten bored with it. And I turned it off. I never sat down and watched a movie from like let’s watch silent night, deadly night and sat down and watch the movie from
Craig: start to finish
Todd: only a little bits and snippets that I’d seen over the years.
Convinced me this film was not worth watching because I never motivated to sit down and watch it for more than a few scenes.
Craig: Okay. Well, I don’t know. You know, I have seen it several times, but. It’s been a really, really long time. Like, honestly, I don’t know when the last time I saw it was, but I’m guessing maybe when I was a teenager, but I was intrigued by it one, because like you said, and like we’ve said a bazillion times.
As kids going to the video store, perusing all the box art. Yeah. This one stood out. I mean, it’s great box art with, Santa’s almost fully submerged into a chimney, but you see a bloody ax, you know, that he’s holding, you know, Christmas kids, scary movies, you know, it was, it appealed very much to me. Plus I think that.
In 1984, I was five years old. So I surely don’t remember that when it was happening, but I knew how controversial it had been. And I, and I think that was appealing too. I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. You talked about the production history. Maybe this is just my memory. This, this could not be factually accurate, but when I think of Tristar, when I think of the movies that Tristar did.
In the eighties, it was mostly like family movies and comedies and romantic comedies. It just seems like a really strange studio to have put out this weird. Slasher movie. Um, and maybe that had something to do with it. And, and when, okay, so they, this whole coalition of like citizens against madness in movies or something like that,
Todd: the cam
Craig: the equivalent of like the million moms movement now, or whatever, you know, people who get incensed about things and demand that they be pulled in, obviously.
In 1985 studios and businesses took that more seriously, I think, than they take it today. I don’t know. I don’t know the behind that, but anyway. They did pull it. And not only did they pull it, but they pulled everything. They pulled the distribution rights. So nobody else could distribute it. I mean, may have been a driving force in saying, I don’t want to do this.
It’s stupid. It’s a bad movie. I don’t want to talk about it. I hadn’t seen it in so long and I was not looking forward to watching it. And it felt like a chore. And I sat down to watch it yesterday. It’s not as bad as I remembered it being, you know, it’s not that bad. We’ve seen worse. We’ve seen much worse, actually.
It’s not a good movie. Um, and there are definitely things about it that I will be critical of, but it’s not as bad as I remembered. And frankly, aside from the fact that it’s a killer Santa’s, which had already been done. Tales from the crypt had done it in the seventies, Christmas evil. We did a couple years ago, almost entirely the same premise had come out four years earlier.
Nobody had paid any attention or objected just for whatever reason. And I guess it was the trailer, which I kind of get, you know, I kind of get, if I were a parent of a young kid, I wouldn’t want them to see. Killer Santa’s trailers around the Christmas season. I, I get that, but it just seems like an overreaction when ultimately it’s just a stupid slasher movie.
And the only thing that really separates it from any other slasher movie. Is that the guy wears a Santa suit. I mean, that’s it. So I kind of don’t understand what all the fuss was about, but here we are.
Todd: Well, I mean, our listeners, especially the ones who are not as old as we are, you know, have to remember, of course it was a bit of a different time.
And I don’t mean we were more prudish in the eighties. I just mean the media landscape was a bit different. Slasher movies really kind of started becoming popular around this time. And so they were being churned out. By the dozens and they were all making mad money. And so there were even more of them coming out and this was disturbing people, you know, it was disturbing parents.
Our kids just want to go to the movies and they just want to see people get cut up. And so it was all over the media, all these talk show hosts like Oprah Winfrey and Phil Donahue and stuff. Phil Donahue apparently devoted a whole episode. Of his program or an hour of his program to talking about this movie and gene Siskel and Ebert got on TV and read off a list of the people involved in the production, this movie and said, shame on you.
Uh, they were really, really critical. Yeah. The idea behind this film and said it was utter garbage and how dare they spoil the sacredness of, of Santa? I think Cisco said what’s up. What’s next, like a rabbit Easter bunny quaint when you hear about it, but no, because I’m like, yeah, hell yeah. Bring me the rabbit Easter buddy movie.
That’s true. We’ve been
Craig: looking for years.
Todd: We’ve. If you’ve know of one of these and you had an April, but then again, you know, there was a time when we were just watching TV and there were four channels. And so that’s all kids were watching. They didn’t have a thousand different possibilities, pulling them in all these different directions or the ability to change a bunch of different cable channels or YouTube and whatnot.
And so they were likely. To see this on TV,
Craig: right? You couldn’t skip the commercials back in those days, kids
Todd: chord around them, but you could not skip them live. So anyway, here we are. And there’ve been a lot of killer Santa movies since then. Some good, some bad. I want to know before we get into this and we will get into the movie, but Craig, I just want to ask you, like you said earlier, Christmas evil.
And this film, so similar in premise, which of them at the end of the day, do you feel like was the better mood?
Craig: I think it was even though it’s been years, I think since we did Christmas evil and I’ve only seen it that one time, I liked it better. I just think it was a more competent movie.
Todd: Me too. We were both surprised by that movie.
Yeah. We were both.
Craig: We were surprised. I mean, they are, they’re very similar, you know, an unhinged person. I don’t remember what it was that triggered the guy in Christmas evil. But what I do remember about Christmas evil is that even the villain. Was somewhat sympathetic. Yeah. Honestly, I feel the same way about this movie.
Okay. So, so the, the person, the kid, the boy that ends up being the killer, Santa’s obviously, you know, the villain of the movie really?
Todd: He’s the victim.
Craig: He, the victim. Yeah. He’s a victim. He’s messed up and really the mother superior character. Is more villainous in some ways, in addition to
Todd: the trauma nurse ratchet.
Craig: Yeah. In addition to the trauma, that the main character experiences, when he’s a child, he ends up in an orphanage and run by these Catholic nuns and the mother superiors methods for disciplining him and trying to condition him, I think ended up doing just as much, if not more harm as the initial trauma, which is what leads him to his murderous acts.
Now, when the movie came out, they weren’t, they didn’t anticipate. This backlash because of the Christmas tie-in or because of the Santa tie-in they didn’t think that was going to be an issue. They were concerned about their portrayal of the Catholic church and they thought that that would cause waves.
And it’s funny because I grew up Catholic. I still consider myself Catholic, even though I, I consider myself a Catholic, a cafeteria Catholic, you know, I kind of pick and choose the things that I like. And there are certainly things that I don’t like obviously, but, uh, I went to Catholic school. My dad went to Catholic school and his whole family, and he comes from a big Catholic family.
And when I went to Catholic school, we didn’t have any nuns. It was lay people who were the teachers and it was lovely. It was a lovely experience. I got a great education, small class sizes, good food. It was a lovely experience. But when my dad was going to Catholic school, the nuns were the teachers and my dad doesn’t have bad things to say about it.
He has positive things to say about the experience. He’s grateful for the experience, but the nuns were bad asses. Like, like they would need it’s true. Huh?
Todd: Yeah. Everything I’ve seen in the movies. It’s true.
Craig: It’s true that they hit them and like, they were just really super, super stern. Like my dad, one of my dad’s favorite stories is they would never allow them to go to the bathroom and because my.
Because my dad was, he was the second oldest in a family of a eight or nine. Oh gosh. I don’t remember. Some of them have passed away at this point, so it’s hard to count, but, uh, he had a bunch of sisters all younger than him. And they wouldn’t let them go to the bathroom. And so his sisters would pee themselves and then they would make my dad and his older brother clean it up.
Todd: That’s pretty bad ass.
Craig: So, you know, some of these depictions of Catholic school where, you know, I believe that the Catholic. You know, these nuns, they had good intentions. I believe they did, but things were very, things were different than, um, and so some of these depictions of corporal punishment and very stern nuns, you know, not entirely untrue.
Todd: Wow. Well, let’s talk about the trauma, this kid endures just for a second real quick, comparing this to Christmas. Evil is it’s exactly the opposite in Christmas evil, the guy was obsessed with Christmas and he was obsessed with spreading Christmas cheer in this movie. The main character is traumatized by Christmas and he’s afraid of it, particularly Santa Claus, because his family is in a car driving one Christmas across the country.
Uh, to visit the relatives, which is so familiar to us, this is what we did every year. Cause we always lived very far away from my relatives. So I mean, all of that is, is nice. There’s Christmas music playing on the radio. Uh, and they’re going to the Utah mental facility to visit grandpa and it’s Billy.
And, uh, his mom and dad, Sammy and Sally, Billy Sammy, Sally, the baby’s name is Ricky. So cute. These names. Anyway, they arrive at the mental institution. They go inside and grandpa’s sitting there in a chair, just staring straight forward eyes open, but. Pretty much catatonic, right? The parents in a great parental move, I guess, decide to go in the back and discuss things with the doctor and say, Oh, Billy, you can just stay here and wait with, uh, catatonic grandpa.
Don’t worry. Don’t worry. Grandpa’s not going to hurt you, which were sinister words. When I saw, I was like, Oh great. As soon as they leave the room, as though this were a cartoon, grandpas suddenly comes to life.
Craig: Nobody you scared
she’ll be Christmas.
Todd: you better watch out tonight because you know, Santa’s only brings toys and presents to the good boys and girls, but for the bad boys and girls, he punishes them. So if you see Santa Claus coming by tonight, you’d better run for your life,
Craig: which ends up actually being very good advice.
Todd: Yeah, actually, it was pretty smart.
Yeah. Yeah. But
Craig: that scene, I mean, it’s, it’s so heavy handed, like the grandpa,
Craig: know, he’s so sinister. For no apparent reason, like what is his problem? Like what asshole?
Todd: Right? Why did he wake up from his catatonic state to scare the hell out of his grandson? Then as soon as the parents come back in the room, he’s steering forward.
Craig: it seemed to be implied that he was faking it. Like, like as soon as they leave. He is fine. And as soon as they come back, then he goes right back to the Canada, catatonic, whatever. Plus I think it’s hilarious that they’ve clicked clearly driven a long way to visit and they stay for five seconds.
Craig: Yeah. And they get back in the car to go home and Billy is scared and he says, you know, he says what his grandpa told him and the mom is mad and she says something mean about the grandpa. And Billy says, by the way, the kid that plays young, Billy is adorable. Like he’s so cute.
Todd: It is. And he’s a great actor too.
Craig: Yeah, he’s a good guy. Child actor, but the mom says something mean about the grandpa. And he says, mommy, you shouldn’t have said that saying mean things about old people is not a Santa Claus will punish you. And then we cut to it again. Yeah. Station where there’s, you know, a guy in a Santa suit coming in and going up to the counter and there’s a little bit of banter, but then Santa’s pulls up a gun and says, he’s holding up the store.
And the, the clerk. Who’s a middle-aged gentleman goes for a gun. And so Santa just shoots him down, you know, shoots him like three or four times and steals the money and it ends up being like $30 or something like that. Yeah. And then we cut back to the family and we see the same Santa landed on the road.
Like his car is just stopped in the middle of the road and he’s out, waving them down and the parents are like, Oh, let’s wake up, Billy. Uh, he’ll get to see Santa after all. And Billy’s like, no, no, don’t stop. I don’t want to see him. But they, they, they stop and the Santa comes up and the dad asks if he’s having car trouble or something.
And, um, San is like, no, that’s not why I stopped you. And he pulls out his gun and the dad slams the car in reverse and floors, the gas pedal and, and they, they go in reverse, but Santa shoots and apparently shoots the dad. And so the car crashes in a ditch. So once the car crashes, Billy. As instructed by his grandfather gets out and runs away and runs to the side of the road.
And the dad falls out of the car dead. The mom is screaming. The Santa is menacing her and he gets her down on the ground in the street and rips, open her blouse to show her boobs. Honestly, part of the reason that I hated this movie and that I didn’t want to watch it is because as I remembered it, having only seen it, you know, Decades ago.
I thought that the Santa raped the mom. I had that in my mind and that the kids saw it watching it again now. No, that doesn’t happen just somewhere in my mind. It almost does, but. And traumatic nonetheless, but we’ve talked about this many times. I just can’t handle sexual violence. Yeah. The memory of that, even though it was a false memory has kept me away from this movie for decades, but he doesn’t, I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s menacing and, and certainly disturbing for the kid and he cuts the mom’s throat and, and the kid witnesses, all of this.
From the side of the road and the Santa comes looking for him, obviously doesn’t find him, but a very traumatic experience, nonetheless. And then we cut to like four or five years later where he and his little brother are now in an orphanage. I mean, yeah, that’s, that’s traumatic. That would screw a person up.
Todd: Oh, I totally get it too. And I felt really bad for the kid. And as a parent of a son about that age, well, a little younger than that age. Yeah. I’m yeah. Acutely aware of the things that bother him. And he takes everything at face value. Right? My, my wife watched an episode of star Trek recently with a parasite in it and he happened to be watching it too.
We’re looking over the shoulder and they take this parasite out of this guy. And I don’t know, you know, it’s like TV, so it’s not that bad, but probably some. Alien looking thing that comes out and the kid will not stop talking about parasites. And can I get a parasite in me? You know, it’s cute. I mean, it’s actually kind of cute, but also, you know, some you kind of have to deal with now, like, don’t worry kids.
You’re not going to have a giant parasite that looks like an alien inside of you ever, you know, that you have to worry about. Yeah, I could see that happening. And then he gets to be older and he’s in this orphanage, like you said, With his brother who was a baby at the time. Right. And, uh, he’s what, 10 years old or something.
And, uh, my gosh, you’re right. These people are horrible. It’s December, 1974, and this is the worst mother superior ever. Billy’s in class drawing. Something for Christmas, everybody’s supposed to draw something. And the teacher of the class of the younger nuns says, go ahead, Billy, put your drawing up on the board.
And when he puts it up, all the kids are shocked and the teacher says, you need to go to mother superior right now and explain yourself. And when he shows the drawing, it’s a Santa that’s been stabbed multiple times in a reindeer’s head. Not unlike a lot of the drugs I used to draw when I was a kid.
Craig: That’s what I was thinking like is my niece. Or nephews showed me that I’d be like, Oh my God, that is awesome. You are so creative.
Todd: Right. I know the mother superior, you know, treats us exactly the wrong way now they should know. And they do know what happened to this kid.
Craig: Yeah. But the mother superior is convinced that he doesn’t remember, but he does remember because he has nightmares about it.
He has flash backs to it all the time,
Todd: drawing pictures of it. Come on.
Craig: The mother superior. I’ll handle this. And gosh, I don’t, there’s another nun, sister, Margaret. Who’s nice to Billy, but the mother superior is like, I’ll handle it. And so she locks him in his room and all the other kids are outside playing and the nice nun come Zen is like, it’s okay, Billy, you know, you should go play with the other kids.
And he’s like, no, I can’t. Because, you know, mother superior said he couldn’t, she’s like, no, it’s fine. I think that that would be what’s best for you is to play with the other kids. So she goes out ahead of him and he comes out after. And then he hears, this is funny. The other day I went to iTunes and was looking at our reviews and one of the positive reviews was like, these guys are, are really cool.
And it’s like friends talking and they don’t feel the need to drop F bombs all the time.
And so it made me, it made me very self-conscious of how often I. Do that. So Billy goes out and here is definite screwing noises and, uh,
yeah, out in the hall, uh, by these noises and he ends up looking in a keyhole and he sees these. I guess, you know, like adolescent orphans, I guess, I guess
Todd: they’re unlike 10 mattresses, by the way. I don’t know. You need to stack them all up in the middle of the room or what, but I
Craig: dunno, the mother superior catches him and he runs outside and then the mother spirit comes out and she’s like, What did you see?
And he’s like nothing. And she was like, well, do you know what they were doing? He’s like, no good. What they were doing was something very, very naughty. They thought they could do it without being caught. But when we do something naughty, We are always caught and then we are punished. Punishment is absolute.
Punishment is necessary. Punishment is good. Yes, mother superior. And now I’m going to punish you because you were not because I told you not to come out of your room. And it just made me so mad because that nice nun is SA is standing right there. And she had said something initially, but then when the mother superior is like, you have to be punished that.
Lady needed to jump in and be like, I told him he could come out, the kids didn’t do anything wrong.
Todd: What’s wrong with these people? And my God, I mean, this mother superior, I was pissed. She is totally traumatizing this boy. And he goes into the room and he curls up in a ball in the corner. And he’s shaking and he’s like, I’m not naughty.
I didn’t mean to be naughty. Please don’t punish me. And you know, she’s just whipped him with a belt. It’s horrible. So it, and he ends up tied. She ties into a bed at one point. I mean, it was so. Convincing to me that I could buy whatever Billy wanted to do in the future in the same way. And I, and I’m, I’m gonna come back and compare it to Christmas evil.
I felt Christmas evil. It wasn’t the best movie in the world, but as a character study and as a pretty convincing portrayal of showing how this grown man might actually go out and start murdering people because of some childhood trauma, I thought this movie in a simpler way, Not as sophisticated, a way maybe more exploitative way did the same thing.
I didn’t excuse him for murdering people as he got older, but I definitely was totally 100% convinced of his character arc. For that I surprisingly applaud the filmmaker. And honestly, I thought it was well shot too. I mean the whole movie, I got to mention it, Charles E sillier jr. Um, he’s a director of this movie and, um, he started out doing documentaries and he’s pretty well known as a guy who pioneered the idea of doing audience testing on films.
So for better, for worse, we’ve more or less got this guy to thank for it. He would test his films on audiences and make adjustments and he ended up making a ton of money. Based on that. He did a lot of TV movies, documentaries. This was one of the few movies he actually directed, he mostly produced, but, uh, he was uncomfortable actually with the Gore scenes and the scenes of violence.
And so there was actually, I think his editor came in and directed most of those, but he did a very good job. I think the cinematography in this movie is quite good. The cutting and the editing here is really interesting because as we get later on in the film, With a more adult, Billy, who’s actually just more like 18, but looks like he’s 28.
Yeah. When we get to him, we get flashbacks to these moments and they come in just the right moment and you can see directly how his childhood trauma is being. Uh, brought back to his mind by the events that are happening around him. And I was actually really impressed with the cinematography of the stone.
Craig: I don’t know. It seemed fine to me. It didn’t stand out to me as being like, Oh wow, that’s interesting. But you know, totally competent, not. Not bad. I wanted to mention that the, the woman who plays mother superior is actually a very prolific French actress. And she apparently had done a lot on stage in Europe and she also has a huge resume.
I mean, if you look at her IMDV page, she’s been in a million things. She had been in a couple of things I had seen. But the thing that I remembered her from, she was in one episode of friends, it was the episode where Chandler kissed one of Joey’s sisters and couldn’t remember which one it was. And then he went to dinner and she at Joey’s house and, and this woman played Joey’s grandmother.
And it was a really funny scene. Like I, I vividly remember it. But she’s good in this movie. And she’s so stern. She plays the stern mother superior so well, she is very easy to hate, honestly, throughout the movie, I was waiting for her to get her comeuppance, but we’ll talk about that more when we get there,
Todd: I was pleased to see that she was in phantasmagoria.
The Sierra game from like their mid nineties. So any of our, my fellow adventure game nerds out there who happened to be listening, uh, there’s a little interesting bit of trivia there for you too.
Craig: Her IMDV bio says, she’s the actress who, you know, you recognize, but you don’t know from what, like, that’s literally what her
Todd: bios, right.
Craig: But after she ties him to the bed, she also forces him to sit on Santa’s lap and, and in a very, um, satisfying scene, he punches the notes and gives them a bloody nose. And then runs away and cowers in the corner, like you said, but like you said, you could totally understand why not that you approve of it, but why.
He would behave in the way he behaves later, if you were, and I’m sure in real life, there are people who have had traumatic Christmases. And that must be very hard because you can’t escape it. The rest of, I was going to say the rest of the world, but I’m not that worldly. The rest of America celebrates.
Christmas every year, the imagery is everywhere. You cannot escape it. And if that is traumatic for you, that must be very difficult. I have sincere empathy for people who lose people tragically on Christmas or, or any other holiday or any other notable, you know, birthdays or whatever. And. The anniversary of that is shoved in your face every year.
It’s, it’s sad, really? And, and I do feel bad for this kid, but it cuts to 10 years later. So now Billy’s 18 and it’s a sister Margaret talking to this store owner, mr. Sims toy store owner. And he’s played by a man named Britt leech, who is another man. You definitely will immediately recognize I looked him up.
He was in the great outdoors. He was the guy that had been struck by lightning 66 times. Um, hilarious. He was also in weird science. He was on, he was on the TV series mash, which of course was a huge hit he’s super, super familiar and good and endearing. I liked him. Yeah.
Todd: He was a good, yeah, you’re right. I liked him from the last star fighter.
Yeah, he was mr. Potter.
Craig: He’s been in tons. You’re definitely going to recognize them, especially if you grew up when we did in the eighties. Um, but he worked for decades. The nun is trying to convince him to hire Billy. He’s like, no, I don’t need any kids that, you know, my, the only job I have is in the stock room.
It’s a lot of lifting. Um, I can’t do it. And she’s like, well, just meet him. And he’s like, no, I don’t really want to. She’s like, well, here he is. And it does the total, you know, pan up from the floor, which is usually the male gaze. And in my case still is, but the male gaze shot, you know, from the floor all the way up his body.
And this is 18 year old, Billy, Billy, you said he looks 28. I don’t know. I thought he looked and it may just be because he has kind of a youthful. This image, I guess I have no idea how old he really was, but he’s strapping and handsome. He’s he’s blonde and athletic and smiling. He just looks like a very nice young man.
And he is a very nice young man. And that’s the thing like, he’s like, Oh, well, in that case, sure. I’ll hire him. He’s hired. And then they do a movie or movie, a music montage. Where it shows, uh, Billy working around the store, interacting with his coworkers, interacting with customers, interacting with children.
And he just seems like the nicest young man. Yeah. He’s hard working. He’s respectful. He just seems like just the nicest guy,
Todd: you know, he refuses whiskey for milk. He’s checking out. Pamela is his, his coworker. And in the meantime, he’s got this other douchebag coworker who just lays into him for really no reason at all.
Um, as it’s getting around the Christmas season, he’s been working there for a couple months. He’s clearly like he sees an image of Santa and he kind of spaces out and there’s some flashback moments and things. And Andy lays into him.
Craig: And I’m going to level with you
Todd: when you came here a couple of months ago, you
Craig: were not right kid, but all of a sudden you got this fucking attitude problem.
Snapping at me all the time, just staring off into space. Like some moon goes,
Todd: you just, just leave me alone.
Craig: All right. When I leave you alone, asshole, none of your fucking work
Todd: gets done. There’s this great sequence where he’s laying in bed. Apparently we find out. Uh, but he’s imagining that he’s bagging Pamela and the two of them, their naked bodies are just twirled up in each other and they’re running their hands all over.
Craig: It’s like it. And it’s so it’s so innocent. Like there it’s, I wouldn’t call it a sex scene. Like they’re just kind of laying with their legs and twines naked and it just shows the difference in the aesthetic. Of 1984 to 2020. Cause this cute good-looking guy has one of the hairiest asses I’ve ever seen
in 2020, they would wax that shit right off.
his dream, which, you know, it’s not dirty. It’s not a nasty dream. It’s actually kind of nice. It’s sensual and gentle. But, uh, then at the end of the dream, Sante appears and stabs him and, you know, runs his knife all the way down his torso and he wakes up. Sweaty and panicked and any huddles in the corner.
And the movie reminds us that it’s the same way he did it when he was a kid. Yeah. Yeah. And again, like, I really have sympathy for this guy. I feel bad for him. I feel bad that I feel bad that. Christmas is ruined for him because I love Christmas. I feel bad that sex is ruined for him. Like here, he’s having this totally like gentlemanly sex dream.
Like it’s not,
it’s not like he’s having a dream about ravaging. This girl, he’s having a lovely, romantic sex, but even that is ruined for him and, and he’s messed up. And, and then things really go to hell when the next day mrs. Somebody, I don’t remember her name. There’s a woman mrs. Randall. As an employee of the store too.
And she goes to mr. Simpson says, we got a problem. Our Santa Claus broke his ankle and we’ve got to replace them. And so mr. Sims goes to Billy and says, look, you’re a great employee. I’m so grateful for everything you’ve done. Can you just do me one favor? And Billy’s like, yeah, absolutely. Anything, all you have to do is ask.
And then the next thing you see is mr. Sims. Like, Oh man, you look great. You look totally jolly. And then. The camera pans to Billy and the Santa suit looking like, I know how to describe it. Like his face is just blank. Like this is horrible and so traumatic for him. It’s the worst
Todd: possible thing that could happen to this
Craig: poor guy?
Yes. The worst thing that could happen,
Todd: throw him in a Santa suit. Stick him in this sleigh, in the store and these kids are lined up. And so he’s got this girl on his lap and he’s the world’s most awkward Santa. Oh, it’s awful. And this girl is squirming and there’s a line of parents just staring at them, smile piling and the girl’s squirming and screaming.
He’s like, Hey, quit it. Stop squirming. He says, I punished naughty children. Severely.
Craig: Yeah. Oh God.
Todd: She stops just stares at him and stopped squirming and he gives her a sucker and she goes down and one of the moms from the sites has. Oh, he’s such a good Santa. He really knows how to handle children.
Craig: I know it’s really funny, but at the same time, like, it made me very uncomfortable when that girl was on his lap and he was talking to her that way.
Yeah. Um, I mean, I know it was supposed to, you know, that was the point. Like he’s supposed to be a terrible Santa and he’s just, you know, he’s just saying the same things that have been said to him, but, Oh God, like, it just gave me the willies. Okay. So they have the Santa visit or whatever, and then the store is closing and they’re going to have their party.
Mr. Sims is like,
And they start to party and it looks like fun. Everybody’s having a good time. And. I had forgotten this too. Mr. Sims gives 18 year old Billy alcohol, uh, whiskey. I think I never thought of it before. So maybe it’s 40 something year old. Me thinking about it differently than 20 something year old me, but I almost felt like the alcohol played a role in what happens next.
Like he was already unstable and then, you know, he’s young, he’s never had alcohol before. We’ve seen him refuse alcohol in the past and now he’s. Had it. And I think that plays a part. Anyway, Dick Andy is flirting with Pamela, the girl that Billy is kind of crushing on or whatever, and they kiss, you know, consensually out in front of everybody.
Um, but then he lures her into the back with the promise of a Christmas present and they get back there and she’s like, dude, if you have a Christmas present, just give it to me in front of everybody. He’s like, no, this is a, a special present that I can’t just. Bring out in front of everybody. It’s something that I’ve wanted to give you for a long time.
Oh my God. And is kind of looking at the doors of the back room and eventually, and he looks very concerned and stern, like he starting to lose it and he goes back there right at the moment where we first hear her objecting. Like, no, stop it. Stop it. No. Then we see Andy and he’s very aggressive with her.
Got it. I have to tell you, sometimes I worry that young people watch these movies and think that guys in general are just rapey. Like, it’s just so weird to me. How rapey guys are in movies sometimes. It’s I
Todd: know what you mean. I know what you mean.
Craig: He ripped open her shirt. Exposes her breasts. And then he’s clearly attempting to rape her and, and she’s, you know, struggling and objecting and, and all of this, everything that’s happening, the quality keeps changing.
So the film quality, so you can tell. What parts were in the theatrical release in which parts weren’t. And there’s an interesting sequence of, I don’t know, maybe 15 seconds. That’s just kind of a closeup on Billy’s face. And it kind of scans around his face in an interesting way. And he’s having flashbacks to when his mother was being assaulted and that whole night.
And I feel like you clearly see the break. He just broke a he’s crazy now. And so he kills them. I mean, he, he kills what’s. He kills the guy first. Oh. And I totally forgot about this. The way that he kills him as he approaches him from the, from behind, he wraps Christmas lights around his neck and then just like he’s fricking Michael Myers holds him up by the Christmas lights and hangs him.
That was crazy. Yeah.
Todd: The whole Billy with super strength I met happens a couple of times in this movie is a little, okay. It’s a little hard to swallow. He’s clearly a very strong guy, but I really have a hard time believing that with one arm, he’s holding this guy up to strangle him.
Craig: It happens again later with Linnea Quigley, Linnea, Quigley.
I had totally forgotten. She was in Israeli. Yeah.
Todd: Can’t wait to talk about her. Let’s just skip to her. Okay.
Craig: And we should, it happens again later with her, but I believed it with her because she probably weighs 90 pounds, you know, like
Todd: yeah, of course.
Craig: You can look, she’s a tiny, tiny person
Todd: and he used to arms
Craig: and true.
He does, but this guy, I mean, he’s a short guy, but he’s kind of squat. Like he’s gotta be at least one 50, one 60. And to just hold him up with one arm, to be fair, this. Actor who plays Billy? He’s a built guy. I mean, he’s not like a bodybuilder looking guy. He’s an athletic looking guy. So I believe he’s strong.
I don’t know if I believe he’s that strong. Um, and then I guess the way that, you know, he’s really unhinged is that he also kills Pamela.
Todd: He gets a box cutter and he guts, you know, he just stabs her in the stomach and rips it up to her chest. And clearly the glorious part of that, the moat actually in all of these scenes, the most closeup, most gory things that happened were clearly things that were cut.
Right. Because you can see the quality change, but yeah, he kills her and that was kind of a shock again, punished, but I guess, you know, he had been taught that sex is bad by the nun. And so he’s going to kill her right. Because she had sex.
Craig: Well, plus she turns on him, you know, she’s, she’s not. Appreciative that he just rescued her.
She calls him crazy. Yeah. Yeah. Not a reason to kill her, but whatever. And then it kind of bothered me then that he also kills mr. Simms. He kills mr. Sims with a hammer.
Todd: Yeah. I didn’t get this part
Craig: because they didn’t do anything wrong.
Todd: He didn’t do anything wrong. And then the other woman,
Craig: mrs. Randall,
Todd: you know, she, there’s a bit of a stalking scene in there and he picks up an accident, stalking her and yeah.
Shoots her through with an arrow. And again, neither the two of them did anything wrong.
Craig: They’re an enormous deadly bow and arrow in this toy star. Like it was the biggest I’ve ever seen. It’s silly. I mean, it was, it was, it, it was really frankly, a good chase. He was, and, and mrs. Randall was kind of clever.
And I liked her. She was a funny character, but it bothered me that he killed them because they didn’t do anything wrong. The biggest thing that bothers me about this movie is that though the actor who plays Billy, Robert, Brian Wilson, who after this movie was so disturbed by all the controversy that he told his friends and family not to see it.
And it wasn’t until much, much later. That, uh, he saw that there was a lot of fan support for it. And then he started doing, um, conventions and things, but, and his career, he still worked after this, but not a lot. My biggest problem, I think with it is that once he becomes unhinged the performance. Isn’t compelling.
And he goes around killing these people. And every time he jumps out to kill somebody, he just goes punish or naughty. Like, yeah,
Todd: it’s kind of dumb I’m with you on that
Craig: then. Okay. So apparently he goes on this spree, which he goes to this house where, um, Linea quickly is a babysitter and she’s babysitting this kid.
And, but really she’s just banging this guy on the pool table. And of course, I knew she was in excise are in the credits. I didn’t know before the opening credits. I didn’t know it before that. And that was real excited. And then it came on and, um, my partner was walking through the room and I said, look, look, it’s my friend Linea quickly.
And he came over and he looked and he goes, of course it is her tits are out.
And I said, yep, that’s my girl.
Oh, God, I just love her.
Todd: Yeah. It was a joy to see Lynette in this. And she was almost, I mean, she’s so young in this that she’s almost unrecognizable and she’s not wearing a ton of makeup. Like, you know, she’s just kind of a girl next door in this. Whereas in a lot of the other movies, she’s sort of a plays a more bad girl or, or, you know, they’re just kind of dressing her up a lot more.
But, uh, she was great here and yeah, just in true Linnea Quigley form, you know, her tits were out for almost her entire scene. The shirt’s off when we meet her, the whole thing, right. The shirts off when we meet her and it never goes back on,
Craig: she goes to the door to let the cat in. Totally top slide, just
Todd: tits out front door, wide open,
Craig: like carolers in the street, whatever.
And then Billy jumps in the door and says naughty and they struggle. But most of the struggle is he picks her up like by the waist and is just, well, he flings her around a lot. It’s, it’s a pretty good struggle. And again, Having spoken to her once. So we’re like best friends. I’m like, Oh, Linnea, you’re doing such a good job.
And how brave of you, you know, because he’s really throwing her around. And, uh, she’s so tiny and in, in eventually lifts her over his head and impales her arm. Antlers. I don’t know what the animal was.
Todd: It was a deer. Yeah.
Craig: Gory and it’s a practical effect. It doesn’t look amazing, but totally serviceable for 1984.
It’s another scene that was obviously cut from the theatrical release, but then she’s hanging there dead and the blood is dripping. And then, uh, the, the boy. Uh, Tommy who’s played by Leo Gator, who I also recognized he was in Footloose. He was in near dark. He comes up and he and Billy fight for a little while.
He ends up getting thrown out the window and the glass from the window, like him pails him all over his body. So he’s dead. Oh, I forgot to say one of my favorite lines when they’re making out on the table and she’s topless. He like gets on top of her and says, Two ball in the corner pocket. Oh my God.
That is, that’s a great line.
Todd: There’s another great one too. Is when her younger sister is calling down yeah. From the top and interrupting them,
Craig: you don’t go back to bed,
Todd: but that was a good one too. So stupid
Craig: but funny.
Todd: But here’s my question. W how does he find this house and these people? I mean, I don’t know. It’s just so random, right? Like they’re in the basement banging on the pool table, I guess he’s punishing them for having sex, but yeah, he wouldn’t have known he’s outside.
These are just, they’re not related. Are they does even know these?
Craig: No, no. And, and, and, and so then right after that, the little girl. Approaches them. And he asks her if she’s been good, has she been naughty at all? And she’s like, no, I’ve not been naughty at all. So he gives her the bloody box cutter and smiles and leaves.
Then basically, I don’t know, some other things happen. There’s a scene with some trouble dog owners who then get bullied and then the bullies get killed. And, you know, it’s just kind of a one-off scene, nothing really all that. And then we see sister Margaret asleep at the police state. Uh, at the police station and when she wakes up, the captain is talking to her and she says, there’s a logic to his murders.
And the captain says, well, if that’s true, then we should be able to figure out where he’s going next. And she immediately realizes he’s going to be going to the orphanage, which does make sense, but it doesn’t make sense that there’s any logic to his murder. There’s not like,
Todd: yeah, there’s no logic to his murder.
Craig: No. He’s just randomly killing the people he comes across.
Todd: Yeah. And even the fact that he’s killing bull only bullies or whatever, nobody would know that because there are no witnesses to his crimes. So yeah, it makes no sense. And by the way, we’re about 15 minutes away from the end of the movie. At this point, when the police detective comes in, it’s pretty rushed from here on out.
Craig: It’s very simple, you know, they figure out he’s going there. They send the cops there, a cop shows up. The cop sees a Santa Claus approaching the kids in, who are playing in the yard. The cop shoots the Santa, but we never see the Santa Fe. So it’s. Obvious to the audience that it’s not him. And it turns out it’s not these poor kids.
Todd: I know watching the cops shoot Santa Claus, dead blood sprays on their faces and everything. And now when they’re riding in the car back when the police detective is riding in the car with the, with the younger, none to go to the orphanage, they hear over the radio. Um, sir, we have some bad news. The guy, he doesn’t match the description and the nun covers her mouth and says, Oh my God, it’s father O’Brien.
And then the guy on the radio says, yeah, but he didn’t stop when the cop called to him. Well, of course he wouldn’t stop because he’s deaf.
What a handy turn of events for the plies. No. Oh, the deaf man dressed is saying, uh, uh, got accidentally shot by the cop from a
Craig: mother. Superior is more angry that the attending officer doesn’t call her mother superior than she is about the fact that he killed one of their priests and the kids are all just sitting there like.
I know I’ve worked with kids and working with kids is hard and you get a big group of kids around and they’re supposed to be scared, like whatever. I mean, they’re just sitting there, but mother superior is like, let’s distract them. Let’s let’s sing. And so they sing. So the attending officer goes around and looks for Billy and doesn’t find it.
But then Billy finds him and kills him. And then. It all culminates when Billy comes to the door and one of the singing children sees him and is still excited to see Santa, even though they’ve just seen Santa gunned down right in front of them, he opens the door.
Todd: It makes no sense. No, it’s silly.
Craig: And he comes in and mother superior gets all of the.
Kids behind her. And he’s like, you’ve been naughty. You must be punished basically, just saying the same things back to her that she said to him and have any part in the movie. I was like, yeah, yeah,
Todd: this was the one. Right. I was waiting to see her head fly through the air at this point, right off her wheelchair. Oh my God. And that would’ve been so nice. But no, there’s like, uh, everything’s slow motion and there’s a freeze frame and suddenly he, he buckles backwards. And it’s your classic? Oh, just in the Nick of time, the police detective happened to be behind him and shot him in the back.
Craig: Yeah, he collapses
Todd: right. In the middle of all the kids,
Craig: just kind of, it struck me as just being kind of sad. He’s laying there dying in sister Margaret’s arms. And he says to the kids who are kind of all huddled around, you’re safe now, Santa clauses, God. And then he dies. Like,
Todd: that’s kind of sad. I said from there, uh, the camera pans up the axes at the foot of his younger brother and pans up to him and the younger brother looks at the mother superior and says, Naughty naughty.
It’s clearly a setup for a sequel,
Craig: which they did, which
Todd: did happen. They did two sequels to this, the fall of the younger brother.
Craig: See part three. I did see part two. It’s even worse than this movie. It’s really, really bad. I mean, it’s one of those movies that you could argue is so bad that it’s good. And I haven’t seen it.
And even longer than I’ve seen this. So I remember very little about it.
Todd: Two is mostly bits and pieces of part one. It is just some new footage edited in right. Looks like it’s like a movie that’s at least half flashback.
Craig: Yeah, it is. It is.
Todd: But then we reviewed, was it the fourth one or the fifth one? The fifth one with Mickey Rooney in it.
And, uh, that was a hilarious, hilarious movie, but it had nothing to do with the killer Saint. Yeah. It was just a silent night, deadly night in name only. And there was about a toy maker who makes toys that kill.
Todd: Uh, at the end of the day, like I said, I actually liked this movie more than I thought I would.
I think I just saw bits and pieces probably the last half of the movie. And I just thought it was boring and weird. And maybe even as a kid, if I had seen it, I would have thought the first. Half of the movie was boring as well, because it’s mostly just set up for what’s coming. It’s really just getting you into a psychological state, watching this kid be traumatized so that when he becomes an adult, you believe it.
And that’s a good 40, almost 40 minutes of the movie really is that. And for that as an adult watching it, I actually am. I liked that. I mean, I like watching it, but I mean, I liked that bit. I thought as a film, I gave it a lot more credit than I thought I was going to give it. I thought it was skillfully done.
I thought it was very confidently shot. And, uh, even some very inventive things with some of the camera work in there. The acting was pretty good all around. Uh, there were a few people who had some laughable acting, but most of it was pretty good, especially for a movie like this. Some recognizable faces in there convincing character arc, but like you said, I would have the same criticism that as soon as he starts killing, it’s just.
He’s, he might as well be a faceless guy running around and killing people for no logical reason after a while. And I don’t know, you could say he snapped, but that’s so much less satisfying than this idea that he’s going around punishing people, because he now believes he’s Santa Claus and that’s what Santa Claus is supposed to do, you know?
What he’s learned as a kid. So it does go a little bit off the rails a little later, and it certainly gets ridiculous. And especially when it comes into these kid actors in this orphanage, uh, none of that’s convincing how they react to what’s going on around them and ultimately unsatisfying that mother superior doesn’t get it.
But I. I assume she gets it in part two or part three. I can see they were setting it up for sequel, but yeah, I enjoyed this movie more than I thought I would. And I was compelling enough to sit and watch it and I wasn’t bored. It was a totally different experience than I expected. So,
Craig: yeah. And it’s, it’s a short movie.
Um, so you’re not, you know, spending a lot of time with it ultimately. My assessment of it is it’s fine. And it’s actually better and more competent than I remembered it being it’s better and more competent than many of the slashers in the same vein. It’s not great, but it’s not. Terrible. And from a 2020 perspective, it’s just interesting to think of how much controversy it called because, or caused because while there certainly is some violence and Gore, it it’s, it’s mild.
Compared to the things that we see today, I actually enjoyed a lot of the performances. I hated mother superior, but I thought she was good in her role. I really liked mr. Sims. I really liked his Copart. I liked Billy until he, he, he switched and then I thought I got a little bit, one note, but whatever. I mean, ultimately.
I thought it was a fine movie and I wouldn’t, as I have before, I wouldn’t steer people away from it. Sure. Watch it. It’s fine. Yeah. I’m not gonna, you know, sing its praises, but it’s not bad. And as a cultural phenomenon, I think it’s worth seeing just to see what all the fuss is about. And ultimately I think the fuss wasn’t about very much at all.
Todd: No, definitely not. Well, thank you again for listening to another episode. If you enjoyed this episode, please share with a friend. You can find us online anywhere. There are podcasts. Which just by Googling two guys and a chainsaw, you can find our Facebook page or Twitter feed, and also our website.
Go ahead and leave us a note on any one of those. Let us know what you thought of this film and leave us some suggestions for other holiday movies we can do coming up. We’ve got Lisa. A few more holiday films here for the Christmas season. So early happy holidays to all of you. And until the next time we meet, I am Todd
Craig: and I’m Craig.
Todd: With Two Guys and a Chainsaw.
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