Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

One of the most notorious slashers of the 1980s, Charles E. Sellier Jr’s nasty little shocker has aged surprisingly well. Initially banned from cinemas following a brief theatrical release, it’s got an off-beat, quasi-surreal tone that recalls 1980’s similarly creepy “Christmas Evil,” and there’s just so much going on all once that it could easily have been written by an angry V.C. Andrews at her peak. The psycho-sexual undercurrent is unsettling and downright exploitative, while the violent content is genuinely shocking but undeniably memorable, yet the finished product has a grim campiness that further muddies the waters. Ultimately the climax reinforces the movie’s harsh undercurrent of nihilism, and leaves the door wide open for one of the strangest horror series imaginable.

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

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