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John’s Horror Corner: Silent Night, Deadly Night part 2 (1987), a Christmas horror sequel that is both lazy and clever.

December 20, 2020

MY CALL:  The sequel of the “then controversial” cult classic, this story continues and replays the highlights of its predecessor to form the death scene meat and potatoes of the movie.  MOVIES LIKE Silent Night, Deadly Night part 2:  Normally I’d direct folks to the original: Silent Night Deadly Night (1984). But since all the kills and their build-up from the original are literally shown again in this, there’s little point.

The follow-up to a bonkers 80s B-movie cult classic, this sequel opens with strong scoring and a tense introduction to Ricky (Eric Freeman) in a psychiatric hospital on Christmas Eve. Now grown up after living through his older brother’s killing spree (i.e., Billy from part 1), Ricky has become a killer just like Billy.

As the narrator to our story, Ricky recounts his brother’s vile deeds to his psychiatrist. As if justifying his murderous destiny, Ricky recalls the murder and sexual assault of his parents by a man in a Santa suit; their troubled upbringing in an orphanage run by Mother Superior (Lilyan Chauvin; Predator 2, Pumpkinhead 2, Silent Night Deadly Night); Billy’s departure from the nunnery and job at the toy store when he turned eighteen; and absolutely everyone Billy killed in 1984. Entire scenes of footage are generously borrowed from part 1. As a result, all the kills from the first half of this movie are from this stock footage. Like really, every kill from Silent Night Deadly Night (1984); about half of this sequel is in fact the more exciting half of part 1.

So really, this sequel doesn’t even begin to hold its own until about minute 40. But fret not, because at least one “new” kill (the umbrella death scene) is rather spectacular for a lower budget kill. And while I enjoyed the jumper cable death as well, the better deaths in this movie were from the previous film. It makes it hard to judge this movie on its own unless it was viewed in lieu of its predecessor. I guess we do still get Ricky killing some folks in a Santa suit (for some of new death scenes). But it’s just not enough for me care… even a little. The Santa suit shenanigans feel phoned-in and short-lived.

But let’s give director Lee Harry (Street Soldiers) and his cast a little credit. Ricky’s storytelling scenes were well-acted and aptly written. In fact, the acting in this felt rather superior to anything from part 1 (except of course, for the most talented scream queen Linnea Quigley; The Return of the Living Dead, Night of the Demons, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4, Creepozoids). It seems that someone had a great script idea, but so little money to fund the film that utilizing the previous was the only way to make it work. So as lazy as the scene-stealing tactic initially feels, maybe this was their clever way of making it happen. At least they managed to cast the lovely Elizabeth Kaitan (Friday the 13th part VII, Nightwish, Necromancer), who is something of a bad movie starlet.

Despite a couple entertaining kills, this movie is basically a cheap cash-grab throwaway riding the coattails of the best parts of its maker. This would best be viewed by horror fans who actually missed the original. For that demographic, this would probably be quite satisfying.

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