A franchise has never turned sour so quickly quite like the Silent Night, Deadly Night series. You could argue that it all started with the second film, thanks to Eric Freeman’s overzealous performance as the Santa Claus Killer, Ricky Caldwell. However, there is a certain charm to the film, still having an enamoring Christmas theme and has that holiday feel to it that makes you all warm inside and want to kill something. And you can call it over the top, you can call it hammy, but no matter how you cut it, Eric Freeman’s performance is abnormally memorable. Too bad nothing like that can be said about its sequel, Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out.
And that’s where my beef starts with this. Right from the start, before you even watch the movie, just look at that title… it’s way too long! Do you know how tired I am of typing that out already? And does it really need a subtitle? Subtitles are more used now for films that don’t want to number their series, but in retrospect, horror franchises all numbered and gave their sequels subtitles. So what’s the point in complaining? Putting off the inevitable. Let’s reach into our dirty stocking and pull out the lump of coal that is Silent Night, Deadly Night 3.
Taking place six years after the events of its predecessor, Ricky is now in a coma and has a fishbowl with wires hanging out of it on top of his head, covering his exposed brain. This contraption is straight out of an old Universal monster movie, it’s so awesome. The movie opens up in a white room with no windows, which is coincidental since that is most likely where you will end up after seeing this. A young woman awakens from a bed to find Ricky (played by Bill Moseley this time… but hold off on your applause), who jolts out of bed holding a scalpel. She bolts and finds herself in a hallway, occupied only by Santa Claus, so she does the only plausible thing to do in that situation: Sit on his lap. After telling him what she wants for Christmas, he raises a butcher knife…
Yup, that’s your type of scares for this movie. Emotionless looking people holding up sharp objects. Someone may as well jump out from a corner and shout “BOO” at me.
By now, you’re probably thinking, “What the hell is going on?” This when the young lady named Laura wakes up screaming. So what did that dream have to do with anything and why was Ricky in it? Well, Laura is… and I can’t believe I have to say this, a blind clairvoyant and as we all know, the ability to enter other people’s minds is a super power that all blind people possess. I feel like that is a seriously misguided false stereotype, kinda like how all white people can’t dance. Okay, for the most part that is true, but there have been some fantastic example of white people dancing, like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever.
I rest my case.
Anyway, we’re gonna pause there for a moment and I’m going to point out that it’s been roughly five minutes and already the movie has lost me. You may be asking your television questions like, “Huh?” or “What the hell does this have to do with Christmas?” To answer the question, the movie takes place on Christmas Eve and Laura’s doctor, Dr. Newburry, is using her to reach Ricky with her powers for (what else?) science. And that’s all you need to know. Or that’s all they bother telling us. They never really say if it’s for evil science or good science, which I feel is something they really needed to categorize here, otherwise how else am I supposed to know if he is the antagonist other than the fact he is a total douche? Laura no longer wants to do the experiments and heads to her granny’s house along with her brother Chris (played by Twin Peaks‘ Eric Da Rae) and his girlfriend, who is foreign and that’s all you need to know. Laura instantly hates her and the three set out for the most awkward car ride of all time. Wee!
Meanwhile, guess who wakes up from their coma and kills a drunk, heckling Santa impersonator? That’s right, but for some reason Ricky doesn’t take the festive outfit and hitchhikes in his hospital gown and exposed brain, where as the Santa suit would have disguised his freaky nature! He kills a few more hospital workers, casually strolls out the front door and hitchhikes like someone who looks like Dr. Frankenstein’s experiment is a normal thing. A trucker picks him up anyway (well now I feel foolish) to chalk up a few kills at a gas station and some new duds, then off to Granny’s. But how did he know to go there? Turns out, the psychic link thingy that Laura shares with him is two ways, much like all relationships. You take crap and you give crap, am I right?
Granny also seems to have psychic powers, but only to show that it’s hereditary (maybe?). Granny gets a whole use out of this power, playing a pivotal scene, announcing to herself, out loud that the phone will ring… and yet she can’t tell that Ricky, the zombie looking guy who’s acting creepy will show up unexpectedly and is going to kill her! Shortly thereafter, our unlikable trio arrives and Laura gets the sixth sense that something is wrong. Her brother shakes it off his denim jacket, throws his blonde wavy locks to the side and goes off to make sweet love in the bathtub while clogging the drain with his hairy chest. Seriously, dude is like a werewolf. The cops (okay, a cop) and Dr. Newburry head off to find Ricky at Granny’s, but will they be too late before Ricky kills the disposable brother and his strange accented girlfriend? Yes. Yes they will be.
It’s an incredibly silly movie with an incredibly silly ending.
You know what this movie is? It’s that movie playing on TV that other characters in other movies are watching. You spot it in the background and think to yourself, “Wow, that looks incredibly generic. I wish I were watching that!” But really you don’t wish that. Nothing about this movie sticks out as a good movie, then again nothing really sticks out about it being a really terrible movie. Sure, it’s a bad movie, but it’s just kinda there. It comes off as boring and the actor’s performances really convey this, as the majority of them seem to be sleepwalking through the film (quite literally with Ricky). Nobody seems to be enjoying the fact that they are making a movie, but instead walking into frame, recite a line and halfheartedly react to it. Not only that, but the plot seems rather generic (along with its supposed scares). In fact, the script feels rushed and thrown together at the last minute and wouldn’t you know it, it was! Apparently, the shooting script was scrapped very shortly before filming began and they wrote and shot a different one, so what we get is a movie thrown together with the most run of the mill and safe ideas, where if you were to describe this movie to anyone, it would sound like every horror movie ever made.
You would think after watching Silent Night, Deadly Night 3, there would be no way a series could stray further from the source, but you would be wrong. It only gets further and weirder from here.
Seasons beatings from The Lost Highway!