Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 26th, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1984
Director: Charles E. Sellier Jr.
Writers: Paul Caimi, Michael Hickey
Cast: Lilyan Chauvin, Gilmer McCormick, Toni Nero, Robert Brian Wilson, Britt Leach, Nancy Borgenicht, H.E.D. Redford, Linnea Quigley, Leo Geter, Randy Stumpf, Will Hare, Tara Buckman, Geoff Hansen, Charles Dierkop, Danny Wagner, Jonathan Best
DVD released: November 23rd, 2009
Approximate running time: 82 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: Arrow Video
Region Coding: Region 2 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: £15.99
Synopsis: A young man who was left an orphan when his parents were killed by a man dressed as Santa Klaus goes on his own killing spree when he is asked to step into the role of Santa Klaus at the toy store he works at.
Even though there is some time spent developing a back-story, the real focus of this film is its kill scenes. The film’s most memorable kill scene involves a young woman is impaled by elk horns. While these kill scenes might have been graphic for their time. The reason why they caused uproar when this film was first released is mostly due to having a killer dressed up as one of the more beloved holiday icons, Santa Klaus. The most interesting aspect of this film is the way in which the director Charles E. Sellier Jr. explores the more psychological issues that help transform Billy Chapman into Santa Klaus ‘killer’, like the one which killed his parents. The whole film is built up around a young man named Billy Chapman whose childhood trauma of watching his parents butchered at the hands of a man dressed as Santa Klaus. Sadly Robert Brian Wilson, the actor who has been cast in the role of a teenage Billy Chapman gives a pedestrian performance that leaves a lot to be desired. When compared to other Slasher film from the 1980’s Silent Night, Deadly Night doesn’t hold as well with its predictable murders by numbers plot and cliched ending.
Arrow Video presents Silent Night, Deadly Night in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This transfer has been flagged for progressive playback. The sourced used for this transfer is in great shape as colors and flesh tones look accurate, details generally look crisp and black level fare well. It should be noted that they are a few brief instances where there appears to be reinserted footage that looks like it was taken from a lesser quality. These moments are brief and while noticeable they are never too distracting.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital stereo mix in English. This track is free of any distortion or distracting background noise. Dialog is always clear and everything sounds balanced.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film and an audio interview with director Charles E. Sellier Jr., a few of the topics he discusses include how he got involved with the project, the initial reaction and subsequent pulling of the film from theaters. If you have never seen Silent Night, Deadly Night you should not check out this interview before watching the film since footage of all of the film’s kill scenes plays in the background of the this audio interview. In 2007 Silent Night, Deadly Night was released by Anchor Bay in region 1 on DVD and the audio / video presentation for this release is on par with that release. Also included with this release is a collectible booklet and poster. Overall Silent Night, Deadly Night gets a well rounded DVD release from Arrow Video, which also marks the first time ever that this film is released fully uncut in the UK.