It feels like I reviewed this one already…
Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 (1987)
Directed By: Lee Harry (Street Soldiers)
Following the infamous success of the original “Silent Night, Deadly Night” in 1984, the studio behind it followed in the footsteps of just about every popular Horror film and went forth with making a sequel. And given the way things in the business work one couldn’t fault them for that. Even the best in horror have many sequels, (some good and some not so good) that is just the way it is.
I would say when director Lee Harry was asked to direct this film he was happy. After the first one left a pretty good opening for anyone who was working on the sequel to work with who wouldn’t have been? However the studio behind the film made their intentions clear after Harry signed on. They wanted to make money off the “Silent Night, Deadly Night” name BUT they didn’t really want to put any money into it. Now that my friends is something we can fault them for.
The gist of it is this, they wanted another “Silent Night, Deadly Night” movie with JUST re-cut footage from the first movie. Sure they wanted a few new scenes shot for here and there but they were asking this man to remold the original into something new. Knowing how insane that sounded and how it would never fly with the paying crowd Lee Harry got the studio to let him shoot a little more than they had wanted for what would go on to be the sequel. As for the results of that? Well, lets just say he gets an “A” for effort at least.
If you haven’t seen the first “Silent Night, Deadly Night” don’t worry because if you only have part two you won’t need part one. Why is that? Because as I said above the studio wanted to use the original footage, just re-cut it. So about half of the sequel (if not more) is flashbacks to the original as Billy’s now crazy and locked up little brother spends the majority of the film talking to a psychiatrist on Christmas Eve awaiting trial for a series of murders he committed.
That doesn’t work well with me either. Sure, I loved the original but if I’m going to see a sequel I want a sequel not the original once again. And with this movie that is mostly what you get. I’ll hand it to all involved for making the most with what they had to work with and from what you see of new footage, you can tell they would have probably made a decent film had the studio backed a whole new movie. However, what we do get that is new is weighted down by the repetitive nature of the constant flashbacks to the first film for most of the movie until perhaps the final 20/30 minutes.
The movie however isn’t without it’s few shining moments. The actor playing Ricky (Eric Freeman) really does hit a home run with the material they gave him. He is carrying all the new material and makes it watchable. And thank God for that because any less of a performance and this movie would have ended up with a rating in the negatives.
The other bright spot (and perhaps the brightest) is one particular scene everyone calls “Garbage day!”. And man oh man what a scene it is. Ricky yells “Garbage day!” before he goes on a roaring extremely violent rampage on a neighborhood street. The scene is so over the top, so blown out of proportion, and yet so funny that it has become an internet gem over the years. And if you don’t believe me just youtube the phrase “Garbage day!”
However after that what you get isn’t the best film in the world. And given how good the first was it’s overwhelmingly disappointing.
Well it is what it is I suppose. A long hard fall from grace after watching the original, but with what the studio wanted it was lucky to have the few great spots it has here and there (namely Eric Freeman and “Garbage day!”).
If you are looking to view this yourself your best bet may be to dust off your old VCR and look for the VHS of it (considering you kids know what that is). The movie was tossed on the same DVD as the original (how fitting is that?) when released by Anchor Bay in 2003. I was lucky enough to have found a copy of this at my local DVD store which was a sure stroke of luck. Due to copyright issues the DVD was pulled with only the original available on DVD now.
That leaves this film to currently be out of print and perhaps for the better?
The Rating (5/10)