Ah, SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT, that little slasher movie that pissed off a lot of critics and PTA groups in half the nation (it was pulled before it reached the West Coast) since the killer was dressed as Santa. Incidentally, it's easy to see why it was so controviersial, <PUNISH!> since the story is told from the point-of-view of the killer and it focuses on the factors that cause his murderous rampage. <NAUGHTY!> Gee, didn't producer Ira Richard Barmak or TriStar Pictures learn anything from the brouhaha that surrounded MANIAC (an excellent movie)? Didn't they realize that <PUNISH!> any horror movie where the murderer is the main character and not just a plot device, especially when the movie involves a sacred holiday (it worked for the excellent BLACK CHRISTMAS), <NAUGHTY!> will incur the wrath of sensitive moviegoers? (Hello, parents, it WAS rated R anyway; kids wouldn't be able to see it anyway, although those TV spots must have been scary to unwary kids.) I guess they didn't, and God bless 'em for that! Anyway, this is the good stuff here; we get an uncut presentation (with deleted scenes from another source; as with DEEP RED-THE DIRECTOR'S CUT, once you get used to the switches in quality (DEEP RED's restored scenes were in Italian only), it's a great ride), plus a telephone interview with director Charles E. Sellier, Jr., who expresses interesting and thoughtful opinions of the film and the controversy surrounding it.
But I myself prefer the hilarious sequel <PUNISH!>, which seems to piss off all the horror purists out there, especially fans of the original. Hello! This is SUPPOSED to be a comedy (along the lines of EVIL DEAD 2, which came out in the same year), meaning NOT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY! <NAUGHTY!> But anyway, I think that the editing of footage from the original was pretty cool at times, especially <PUNISH!> when it jumps from old scene to new scene. For example, when we see the scene where Mother Superior is belting Billy, it cuts between that and Ricky (Eric Freeman, who was awesome) recalling it (<Whip!> She <Whip!> was <Whip!> naughty.); I thought that was too cool. Among other things, the funniest scenes are when Ricky impales a loan shark on an umbrella and opens it, as well as Ricky's shooting spree (hence the title of this article). The commentary by the director/editor/writer, the other writer, and actor James Newman (the psychologist) enhances the humor of the movie; <NAUGHTY!> I laughed right along with them and I am glad they feel the same way that I, and a few other viewers, feel.
Anchor Bay did right by the fans of these two movies by putting them on a flipper disc. <PUNISH! NAUGHTY! PUNISH! NAUGHTY!> The supplemental material on both movies as mentioned above alone is worth the retail price! So don't be NAUGHTY!; go out and see these lost gems of the slasher wave, becasuse <PUNISH!> in the words of the grandfather in the first film, "Christmas Eve is the scariest damn night of the year!"