Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 Blu-ray Review

Avoid This Santa’s Naughty List

What a strange, bizarre and utterly fascinating cult slasher from the 1980s. Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 is a real gem of hilariously inept filmmaking that once again turns Santa into a bloody killer. Not to mention the poor, but intensely deadpan, acting performance from lead Eric Freeman. That somehow makes this sequel all the more entertaining. It’s a terrifying Yuletide tale of murder and mayhem. Something about the off-beat lead performance makes it one of those endearingly quirky b-movies from the decade that shouldn’t be missed.

Slashers come and slashers go, but recycling stock footage from the first Silent Night, Deadly Night – for some forty minutes of the ninety-minute movie – doesn’t work out as bad as it sounds. Throw in the requisite grisly killings and a heaping of gratuitous nudity for a memorable b-movie, makes the flick more loved for its flaws than its virtues. It’s a madcap example of a slasher that ticks off all the right boxes for cult horror fanatics.

A killer Santa is on the loose once again in Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 and he’s looking for naughty people to kill. Admittedly, a homicidal Santa running around with an ax is one of these cultural inversions that sticks out in the usually predictable slasher genre. Everyone has such happy, positive thoughts associated with Santa, that seeing Saint Nick kill strangers with an ax generates mixed feelings.

… a precious slasher gem more entertaining than a lot of the dreck put out in the 1980s

This time around the killer Santa is Billy’s younger brother, Ricky. Tortured by his experiences growing up at an orphanage run by the domineering Mother Superior, Ricky is stricken with memories of his brother’s violent death. He blames his older brother’s death on her and wants revenge.

The movie opens with Ricky (Eric Freeman) recounting his brother’s troubled childhood to a doctor (James Newman) at a psych ward. It just happens to be Christmas Eve. That allows director Lee Harry to reuse footage from the first movie, telling Ricky’s older brother’s murderous history. While Ricky starts off mostly normal as a child, he reveals some of his own troubling history that mirrors his older brother’s obsessions. Soon Ricky follows in his brother’s footsteps, ending up as a psychotic killer dressed as Santa.

Lead actor Eric Freeman isn’t a great thespian by any means. His line readings are terrible and amateurish, even botching his character’s trademark quip, “Naughty.” But his eyes have that manic intensity in each scene that only the criminally insane could possess. Freeman stares right through you, amplified by the extreme close-ups.

Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 isn’t a great film, or even a good film. However, it’s a precious slasher gem more entertaining than a lot of the dreck put out in the 1980s. It’s good for a laugh and has all the things that make horror fans happy. The sequel could have been a classic, if so much of it hadn’t been rehashed footage from the first movie.

Video

I was expecting the worst when Scream Factory said the original film elements were lost. I shouldn’t have been worried. The picture quality looks great for a low-budget 1987 slasher. This is some of Scream Factory’s best restoration work.

The cult gem sees a new 2K film scan from an archival theatrical print. The included Silent Night, Deadly Night footage has been seamlessly inserted from that movie’s 2017 HD transfer. Careful attention has been paid to match their contrast and black levels when possible.

The 88-minute main feature comes encoded in solid AVC on a BD-50. It is presented at its intended 1.85:1 aspect ratio in adequate 1080P resolution. The theatrical print used has reasonable levels of detail and clarity. It’s relatively free of debris and has a steady, mostly pleasing contrast. Grain may be a bit heavier than a transfer taken from a negative. Hints of sharpening and ringing are evident, though certainly not intrusive most of the time.

Audio

The 2.0 DTS-HD MA audio in mono has very serviceable fidelity and basic audio design. The dissonant score by Michael Armstrong is probably the soundtrack’s best element, pushed up-front and center. Some mild distortion and thinness in the upper frequencies make it a less-than-overwhelming sonic experience.

Optional English SDH subtitles appear in a white font.

Extras

It’s amazing an obscure slasher like this movie can receive such an extensive set of special features. Scream Factory’s collector’s edition has two audio commentaries and several extended featurettes, all new to this Blu-ray release.

A slipcover with new art is included. Reversible artwork is provided for the inside cover. A limited deluxe edition with a custom NECA action figure (of Ricky in a Santa outfit) is also available.

Audio Commentary with director Lee Harry, actors Eric Freeman and James Newman – A new group commentary that has Eric Freeman discussing his awkwardness filming the sex scene, among other things. It’s not a particularly penetrating discussion for aspiring filmmakers, but a fun chat about their recollections and memories.

Slay Bells Ring Again: The Story of Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 (74:39 in HD) – What a fantastic and in-depth documentary on this sequel. Created for this collector’s edition, it’s practically worth the price of admission by itself. It features lengthy interviews with co-writer/director Lee Harry, actors Eric Freeman, James Newman, Elizabeth Kaitan, Darrel Guilbeau, Kenny McCabe and makeup effects artist Christopher Biggs. Most aspects of the production are delved into along the way, making it essential for fans.

Garbage Days Are Here Again (19:30 in HD) – A look at the film’s locations in L.A. with insight from actor Eric Freeman and host discussing shots in the movie.

Ricky Today 07:55 in HD) – A short film about a 2018 interview with Ricky Chapman/Caldwell, played by Eric Freeman one more time in character.

I Don’t Sleep (62:19 in HD) – An extended interview with makeup effects artist Christopher Biggs. He discusses his work on Critters, Ghosts of Mars and Goonies, among other films.

Audio Commentary by co-writer/director Lee Harry, co-writer Joseph H Earle and actor James Newman – A fun, casual commentary taken from the older Anchor Bay DVD.

Theatrical Trailer (01:57 in HD)

Finding Freeman Trailer (01:01 in HD) – A new documentary from actor Eric Freeman?

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray release was provided to us for review by the label. For information on how we handle all review material, please visit our about us page to learn more about DoBlu’s editorial policies.

Silent Night, Deadly Night 2
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras

Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2

An off-beat Christmas slasher that overcomes recycled footage with a quirky lead performance and excellent fan service.

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