Silent Night, Deadly Night - Scream Factory

It’s A Christmas Miracle. Silent Night, Deadly Night Is Out On Scream Factory Blu-ray!

Silent Night, Deadly Night is not necessarily one of the “must sees” for the casual horror fan looking for a campy thrill. It’s savage, violent and punishing. The story opens with young Billy Chapman whose dreams of a white Christmas are obliterated when he witnesses a deranged criminal, dressed in a dime store Santa suit, brutally murder his father and mother on Christmas Eve. Orphaned after the killing of his parents, Billy and his little brother are raised under the oppressive arm of a devout nun who teaches Billy the consequences of being naughty, which mostly ends up with him being tied to his bed or beaten.

Silent Night, Deadly Night - Old Man Peabody

Old Man Peabody sharing the bad news to young Billy about Santa Claus.

When Billy turns eighteen, he half-wittedly gets a job at a toy store around (wait for it) Christmas and ends up having to play (wait for it) Santa. Needless to say, the years of pent up anger and confusion surrounding the death of his parents at the hand of jolly St. Nick rip loose the fractured wiring in Billy’s head and off he goes hacking up anyone he deems is on the naughty list, which is pretty much anyone he meets. Nothing is left to the imagination as Billy dices his way through a blood splattered winter wonderland and the film’s conclusion shares very little with the Capra’esque triumph of George Bailey – it is inevitably not a wonderful life.

Silent Night, Deadly Night - Snowman

“Snowmen were absolutely harmed or injured during the making of this film.”

I LOVE this movie. Like many kids of the 80s who remember the TV commercial, I was terrified and mesmerized at the same time. The image of Santa pulling the gun from his red velvet pocket was burned in my brain, etched there to this day. The film’s poster of an axe wielding Santa sliding down a chimney is macabre and brilliant marketing. However, all this violent Santa imagery didn’t sit well with parents and they pressured TriStar Pictures for the film’s removal from theaters. At the Beyond Fest screening of the film a few years back, the producers discussed this controversy and explained the money trail : Tri-Star Pictures (the distributor), Columbia Pictures (partnered with TriStar) and Coca-Cola (owned Columbia). Coca-Cola has a long advertising history with Santa Claus and the stirrings from angry parents didn’t sit well with the family friendly soft drink company. Mind you, this anger was all based on commercials only! It’s not like the film was meant for kids. Regardless, it was yanked from theaters.

Silent Night, Deadly Night - Poster

“Maybe he’s just a fireman?”

I finally discovered the film on VHS in the 90s and immediately started having Silent Night, Deadly Night parties that consisted of four guys sitting around my dumpy Miami apartment drunkenly watching the film. Those humble beginnings turned into a full blown event in Hollywood that lasted for several years. I’ve owned the film on VHS, Laserdisc and DVD. I’ve got the Death Waltz vinyl signed by the cast and crew. The film’s eerie Doo-wop styled Christmas carol “Santa’s Watching” becomes my ringtone every December. Setting aside the conventional slasher fare of numerous creative kills, Silent Night, Deadly Night adds a very rich backstory to why Billy becomes a killer. Instead of a five minute flashback origin story, the filmmakers treat us to twenty five minutes of set up. I think that’s what separates it from the rest of the Halloween/Friday the 13th knockoffs and why I think we are still talking about the film 30+ years later.

Silent Night, Deadly Night - Laserdisc

“My new Scream Factory Blu-ray along with my signed Death Waltz Vinyl, my Laserdisc and a bloody axe hand crafted by my wife as a prop for our former SNDN/Die Hard Christmas Party.”

This year, it’s a Christmas miracle because Scream Factory has released Silent Night, Deadly Night on Blu-ray, and it’s the best I’ve ever seen it! Scream Factory has done their established awesome job of loading the release up with fun extras (notably a “then and now” locations tour), but the centerpiece is the disc’s HD transfer from the original camera negative. How these guys at Scream Factory dig up the bones of these classics is beyond me, but thank goodness they do. Now, this two disc set also comes with the un-cut version, which has been available on Laserdisc and DVD. Sadly, the original camera negatives from the extended scenes could not be found, so Scream Factory used the best available standard definition versions and cut them in with their new mastered footage. It’s a bumpy contrast, but they did the best they could and the serious fan will enjoy it. Honestly, after having seen both versions over the years, you aren’t missing much in those extended scenes – some blood, guts and the occasional added sleaze – but to view the crispest version would be to watch the theatrical release. One thing I wanted to shine the Retroist spotlight on is the incredible shots from Ira’s Toy Store.

Silent Night, Deadly Night - Toy Store

“Ira’s reminds me of Cut-Rate toys on Devon Avenue in Chicago.”

The store is featured heavily in the film’s second act and showcased some big toys of the era. These days that would be problematic and tricky with licenses and clearances, but this was the 80s man! Greydon Clark’s Joysticks features every popular coin-op game of the era, think he got the licenses to use Pac Man? Think again, internet lawyer troll. Now, for full transparency, I had spent time doing a bunch of screen grabs to curate a collection of stills from the movie but then I thought, ‘Hey, I bet some other toy nerd has already done this.” Lo and behold, a quick Google search turned up a few sites that have done a marvelous (and probably better) job cataloging and identifying the toys in Ira’s. One was written by the supremely talented John Squires (aka @FreddyInSpace) and he’s got a nice post you can read over at Bloody Disgusting.

Also, here’s a funny post from 2010 by writer David W. About how disorganized Ira’s shelves are.

I will add one more to the mix. Seen behind the shrewd Mr. Sims is the Zaxxon board game. I had that game, but for the life of me, I couldn’t tell you how to play it. In doing some research, I had no recollection of the board or pieces. My guess is I didn’t play it much, but I do love that artwork!

Silent Night, Deadly Night - Zaxxon

“Mr. Sims is nobody’s friend.

So, grab your milk and cookies and get your copy of Silent Night, Deadly Night on Blu-ray here!
Silent Night, Deadly Night - Scream Factory - Blu Ray

One last thing, I started my review stating that “Silent Night, Deadly Night is not necessarily one of the “must sees” for the casual horror fan looking for a campy thrill.” Please take that to heart. It’s not a goofy slasher romp. With the right audience, it’s totally entertaining. But with the wrong audience, you might get a few raised eyebrows. Definitely not for the faint of heart and certainly not for anyone who might take offense with a raging, axe throwing, homicidal Santa Claus. Before you share with your loved ones this holiday season, consider your audience.

Silent Night, Deadly Night - Patrick J. Doody and Patrick Brian Wilson

Meeting Billy Chapman himself, Robert Brian Wilson. The Egyptian Theater, Hollywood. 2014.”

Scream Factory Delivers One of The Most Anticipated Slasher Films Ever With Their Upcoming Release of The Final Terror!

unnamed

Holy cats Creeps, I gotta tell ya, the ol’ Ouija Board Kid is as excited as Dracula in a Bloodmobile over the news he just received straight from the horrifying headquarters of Scream Factory about the upcoming release of long lost slasher flick The Final Terror! I’ve been dyin’ to check this terror tale our for years, and I can’t wait to do just that when the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack hits shelves on July 1st! Here’s what the good fiends at ol’ SF have to say about the rollickin’ release:

A group of young campers out for what they hope will be a fun-filled weekend find their plans spoiled by a disguised, merciless killer who stalks the forest in search of new victims. Soon they are caught in a terrifying web of bloodshed and murder. It is up to the remaining few to defend themselves and put an end to the terror-filled weekend.

This summer, one of the most sought-after and long-lost slasher films from the 80s is being unleashed on Blu-ray™ and DVD for the first time! Produced by Joe Roth (Snow White and the Hunts Man) and directed by Andrew Davis (The Fugitive, Under Siege), backwoods slasher cult classic THE FINAL TERROR features an all-star cast of John Friedrich (Baretta), Rachel Ward (The Thornbirds), Adrian Zmed (Bachlor Party), Mark Metcalf (Zero Dark Thrity), Daryl Hannah (Kill Bill, Blade Runner), Ernes Harden Jr. (White Men Can’t Jump ), Joe Pantoliano (The Matrix, The Fugitive) and Lewis Smith (Django Unchained). On July 1, 2014, SCREAM FACTORY™ will unleash THE FINAL TERROR Blu-ray+DVD combo pack, featuring insightful bonus content and new interviews with actors Adrian Zmed and Lewis Smith, audio commentary with director Andrew Davis and more. A must-have for loyal fans, movie collectors and horror enthusiasts to complete their entertainment library, THE FINAL TERROR Blu-ray+DVD combo pack is priced to own at $26.99 SRP.

And check out these frightful features:

– Interviews with actors Adrian Zmed and Lewis Smith, post production supervisor Allan Holzman and composer Susan Justin
– Audio commentary with director Andrew Davis
– Theatrical Trailer

Be sure to head here and pre-order today. Tell ’em XIII sent ya!

You’ll Die Laughing When The Clowns Bring Terror on Tour

Kiss? Never heard of 'em...

Kiss? Never heard of ’em…

I think the following clip will prove to all of you fiends just why 1980’s Terror on Tour has continued to entertain tens of people for generations. It’s recipe for success is right there on the screen; a band whose lead singer looks like Ben Cooper’s version of Gene Simmons and delivers death themed rhetoric in the manner of a boozy former pro-wrestler who know stars in matches held in high school gyms (or his mind), incidental music that was obviously borrowed from a more “adult” feature, and a drug dealin’ super-fox who upon being stabbed to death utters an “oh my god” that makes it appear that the homicide was a slight annoyance instead of the blood curdling, mortality ending event that it was meant to be.

Don’t Let Kristi Prevent You From Being a Cool Dude!

You know that volleyball scene in Top Gun? Do that, only make it worse...

You know that volleyball scene in Top Gun? Do that, only make it worse…

As I’m sure you can all attest, we all have our own personal Kristi; that thing that just refuses to “be real”, that thought that prevents us from reaching our full potential as both cool dude and regular ivy-league guy. To that negative influence I just scream “Stop givin’ me all of your jive!” then I raise my fist up high and proclaim “I’m a cool, rude dude!” as I spray my shirtless friends with beer, fart around for what seems like an eternity on a three wheeler and gently cry myself to sleep…

Oh and that girl at the end of the clip, she let her Kristi get the better of her and we all paid the price…

The ol’ Crystal Lake Boogie

Born to hand jive...and kill

Born to hand jive…and kill

Hey Creeps, what would you say is the most horrific element of legendary slasher series Friday the 13th? Would it be the the gruesome and gory death sequences? Or how about the suspense of seeing children in peril from the undead menace Jason Vorhees? Some may even say it’s Henry Manfredini’s iconic score, but all of you would be wrong. The most terrifying thing about the series is the dancing…

…the horrible, horrible dancing…

…and if Jason had just done this in the first place…

…he would be considered a hero more than a mass murdering psychopath.

f1303