Release Date(s)1987 (December 11, 2018)
Studio(s)Silent Night Releasing Corporation/Manson International (Shout!/Scream Factory)
- Film/Program Grade: D+
- Video Grade: B
- Audio Grade: B+
- Extras Grade: A
Notorious in the age of the internet for the lead character’s over the top utterance of “Garbage Day!” before killing someone, Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 was not at all well-received when it was released in 1987. Besides the content of the film, it also carried an enormous amount of baggage due to the controversy that surrounded its predecessor, which was protested out of theaters quickly and despised by many, even without having seen it, and became a black mark on the horror genre.
Utilizing footage from the first film, Part 2 picks up some time later with the character of Ricky, who is the brother of Billy, the killer Santa in the first film. Seeing them both grow up in an orphanage and subjected to the same amount of neglect and punishment, it isn’t long before Ricky takes over where his brother left off. After telling his story to a psychiatrist, he escapes custody and goes on a murder rampage through the neighborhood, eventually donning his own Santa costume and making his way to the home of Mother Superior for some long overdue revenge.
TriStar Pictures, who initially distributed the first Silent Night, Deadly Night, was out of the picture by the time the sequel rolled around. Barely released to theaters, Part 2 made its money on home video through genre fans who wanted nothing more than to see Ricky cackle, shoot, and chop his way across the suburbs. Reprising the need to scream “PUNISH” upon seeing the color red, Eric Freeman gives a totally overblown performance, one that has kept generations of fans of movies that are “so bad they’re good” returning to it.
The film itself is less ugly than the original, despite using footage from it. Whether intentionally or not, it’s far more campy and self-aware, deflating the danger, but increasing the entertainment value. It’s not just another piece of hack and slash that goes in a straight line from point A to point B. It's kind of erratic, which is what makes it fun. By no means a good movie, Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 takes the formula of the first film and, for better or worse, turns it on its head.
According to Scream Factory in the opening text of this new Blu-ray release of the film, “this new HD master was created from the best archival film print available to us. The original film elements are missing. For the flashback sequences, we went back to our HD master for that footage.” The transitions between the different materials is fairly smooth, outside of one section towards the end which required the use of low resolution, non-HD footage to complete it. Otherwise, everything appears organic. Film grain, black levels, and detail are mostly good, although crush is apparent. It’s also stable and fairly clean, and is likely the best presentation of the film to date.
The audio is presented in English 2.0 mono DTS-HD with optional subtitles in English SDH. No dropouts or instances of hiss or crackle are detectable but the presentation itself is fairly limited. Everything comes through well and dialogue is discernable, but there’s nothing that remarkable about the original audio. It is what it is, and for a film of this caliber, hearing it in even decent quality is a step up.
The extras for this release also include a bevy of mostly new materials. There’s an audio commentary with actor James L. Neman, co-writer/director Lee Harry, and actor Eric Freeman, moderated by Justin Beahm; an older audio commentary with Lee Harry, James L. Newman, and co-writer/associate producer Joseph H. Earle; Slay Bells Ring Again: The Story of Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2, a new 75-minute documentary about the film by Justin Beahm that features interviews with Lee Harry, Eric Freeman, James L. Newman, actors Elizabeth Kaitan, Darrel Guilbeau, Kenny McCabe, and make-up effects artist Christopher Biggs; I Don’t Sleep, a separate 62-minute interview with Christopher Biggs, who goes over his entire career, including his work on Critters and The Goonies; the 20-minute Garbage Days Are Here Again: Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 Filming Locations; Ricky Today, an 8-minute short film with Eric Freeman reprising his character; the original theatrical trailer; and another trailer for the Finding Freeman documentary.
Neither Silent Night, Deadly Night or Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 are masterpieces of horror, by any stretch of the imagination. They’re fairly effective pieces of entertainment on different levels than most mainstream audiences care for, and keeping that in mind, they can be enjoyable. Scream Factory’s release of Part 2 just goes to show that even a film that was widely disregarded at the time of its release can have legs just as much, if not more, than many of its conventional counterparts. All in all, it’s a very nice Blu-ray package.
– Tim Salmons