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  Silent Night Deadly Night Part 2 Rant-A-SantaBuy this film here.
Year: 1987
Director: Lee Harry
Stars: Eric Freeman, James Newman, Elizabeth Kaitan, Jean Miller, Daniel Gilbeau, Brian Michael Henley, Connie Gelfan, Michael Combatti, Ken Meichert, Ron Moriarty, Frank Novak, Randall Bioffman, Joanne White, Lenny Rose, Nadya Wynd, Kenneth McCabe
Genre: Horror, Trash
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: Ricky Caldwell (Eric Freeman) is sitting in this room, watching the orderly set up a tape recorder for the psychiatrist, Dr Bloom (James Newton), regarding him with a mocking expression. When the doctor enters, he waves the orderly away so he can spend time alone with the patient, and though Ricky is acting threateningly he agrees to sit down and answer his questions. The shrink wishes to delve into the young man's past, specifically his traumatic childhood where his parents were murdered by a man dressed as Santa Claus, leaving him and his brother orphaned with even more tragic results...

Especially tragic if you were expecting a half decent movie, for this, the infamous second instalment in the Silent Night Deadly Night franchise. Not quite ready to head straight to DVD at this stage, imagine going to see this in a cinema as presumably some did and finding that the first forty minutes were edited highlights of the first film with a bit of voiceover by way of tying up the threads of what we were watching, no matter if they contradicted what happened in the original. You'd leave the auditorium feeling pretty shortchanged, especially in light of the second half of new footage which barely justified its existence.

Ah, but wait - there was one ten second clip which for many made it all worth it, and that was widely distributed among video sharing websites. If someone shouts "Garbage Day!" at you come Yuletide then you might have an inkling of what they are referring to should you happen to have seen this clip, as such was the popularity of that internet meme that this sequel became less a Christmas horror movie than a Garbage Day horror movie. For the uninitiated, this is the day where you put out your refuse for the council to take away, though quite why this fired Ricky up so much that he felt the need to yell that then open fire with a handgun on the good citizen performing this duty was hard to tell.

Whatever, for a while there you were more likely to have seen the clip of the assault and accompanying battle cry than you were to have watched the whole misbegotten movie from whence it came. Actually, aside from that item of lunacy there were many choice moments to savour for bad film buffs, for example the part where now-murderous, eyebrow-waggling Ricky drives over one would-be rapist a few times out in the country where he had been spying on him and his reluctant girlfriend: ridiculous enough, but the girlfriend seems unfazed by this and merely thanks Ricky, then wanders off, that in spite of her having dealt with the problem perfectly adequately herself. Then there's the man killed with an umbrella. And what are we to make of Ricky's cryptic mooing when he is cornered near the end? It's the sole farm animal impression he offers.

As the doctor discovers, the bad boy has been so mentally damaged by witnessing his parents murdered by Santa - somehow he can remember this in spite of being a mere baby at the time, but this is one stoopid movie - then having his brother shot before his eyes after a Christmas-themed killing spree that he picks up the axe, and whatever other improvised weapon he has to hand, and sets about his own rampage. The person the film blames this on is the Mother Superior head of the orphanage who filled Ricky with so much Catholic guilt that it made him and his brother insane, so naturally he goes after her planning to finish the job his sibling failed to complete as the cops close in. After such a huge dose of a different film with a different cast (including the nuns) for the first half, once it reaches the newer stuff it's like starting again from scratch, and it's not even Christmas themed for much of it, not even Garbage Day themed, really. Ricky does get a Santa suit eventually, oblivious to his future infamy as a catchphrase, and it all ends as you'd expect - idiotically. Music by Michael Armstrong.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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