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Garbage Day!

For those of you who have seen Silent Night, Deadly Night, some of this may seem familiar…

Interior, psychiatric hospital, day – Christmas Eve. Ricky, the younger brother of Billy from the first movie, is visited by Dr Bloom, a psychiatrist (his 13th), who asks Ricky to tell his story. For anyone who hasn’t seen the first film, the highlights are all here. We see the death of Billy and Ricky’s parents (which Ricky remembers “because I was there”, despite being less than a year old at the time), their time in the orphanage, Billy’s first job and the triggering of his psychotic episode. Also present are extended segments covering all the deaths from the previous film – Linnea Quigley’s death by stag, her boyfriend’s defenestration, the sled beheading, the priest-santa getting shot by mistake (although Ricky refers to him as the janitor), the deputy in the cellar, the beheaded snowman and finally Billy’s own death. We also get to revisit the most pointless scene; that of the police breaking into a house to arrest the wrong santa.

Well, that’s 40 minutes done with, let’s see if we can’t find some original content. Still in flashback, the story switches to Ricky’s own past. Leaving the orphanage after his brother’s death, Ricky is adopted by a nice Jewish family, where he’s less likely to be exposed to disturbing images of Christmas. He is, however, still freaked out by nuns, as evidenced in his panic attack on the street, followed by his adopted mother’s cry of “Oh God” when she sees something red. Given how susceptible Ricky is to this quite common colour, it’s surprising that he doesn’t commit murder until his mid-teens; in a mirror of Billy’s first kill, Ricky runs over a potential rapist with his own (red) jeep. The would-be victim in this case, however, is far more grateful than Pamela was to Billy, replying simply “Thank you”, and probably saving her own life in the process.

Moving on, and Ricky, now eighteen, gets a job at a diner. He comes across a loan shark out back shaking down a ‘customer’, which is enough to trigger another memory. In the most inventive kill of the film, if not the whole decade, Ricky picks the guy up by the throat and stabs him clean through the chest with an umbrella, which unfurls behind him. As Ricky walks away, an isolated rain shower cleans up the blood.

Our next memory concerns Jennifer, the love of Ricky’s life. They meet, as all good couples should, when she runs into the back of his motorbike, causing him to fall under it very slowly. At first angry, Ricky’s eyes gradually move up her legs – by the time he gets to her skirt, the whole incident has been forgotten. They make a lovely couple, riding on Ricky’s bike, riding some more, riding into a tunnel, going to a movie… actually, that’s all they do. Incidentally, the movie in question, pre-dating Scream 2‘s self-reflective viewpoint by some ten years, is Silent Night, Deadly Night, offering Ricky the chance to see his parents’ killer and us the chance to re-watch more of the first film. Unfortunately, Ricky misses most of the film, as he’s busy killing someone in the back row. Jennifer is kept occupied during this time by Chip, her ex, who pops up again in the next scene trying to jump start his car. Mercifully, given how irritating he is, Chip isn’t with us for long, as Ricky jams a jumper cable into his mouth and fries his head until his eyes explode. For some reason, Jennifer isn’t happy about her ex being killed in front of her eyes, and she turns on Ricky, only to be strangled by the aerial from Chip’s car.

This seems to be the turning point for Ricky. A cop tries to arrest him and gets shot in the head with his own revolver. Ricky then casually shoots the next two guys he sees, avoids killing a small girl (in another mirror of his brother’s actions), and finally empties the gun into an oncoming (again, red) car, which explodes.

Finally returning to the present and Ricky’s hospital room, our hero has killed the doctor and escaped. The police arrive with a nun, Sister Mary, and realise that Ricky is going after the Mother Superior from the orphanage. Ricky kills a charity collecting santa on the street, steals his suit and calls the Mother Superior from a phone booth (presumably she’s listed in the book under Superior, M). Arriving at her house (number 666, an unlikely number for a woman of God to live at), Ricky stalks her through the house, finally beheading her off camera. The police arrive, Sister Mary faints and Ricky is shot, falling backwards through a window Halloween-style. The detective tells Sister Mary “it’s all over”, as Ricky’s eyes open and he smiles…

Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 was originally supposed to be a re-cut version of the first film, with a few added shots of Ricky for framing purposes. Director Lee Harry, however, refused to follow instructions and insisted on making a new movie, despite not having enough money to make an entire film. The result is half new content, half the cinematic equivalent of the 100th episode clip shows US sitcoms are so fond of. The first half of the movie is pointless if you’ve seen the previous film; the second half is pointless if you haven’t, which together doesn’t add up to much. There are a few things worth seeing here: the umbrella kill, the “Garbage Day” moment, which has become unfeasibly popular for reasons I can’t understand,  and most notably, Eric Freeman as Ricky. Freeman’s performance in his first credited role has gained him a cult following – a following the actor doesn’t seem keen to embrace. According to director Harry, the makers tried to find Freeman for the DVD commentary track, but the actor remains elusive. To this day, he remains unfound…

Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 stars Eric Freeman, James L Newman, Elizabeth Cayton, Jean Miller, Darrel Guilbeau, Brian Michael Henley, Corinne Gelfan, Michael Combatti, Kenneth Bryan James, Ron Moriarty, Frank Novak, Randy Baughman, Joanne White, Lenny Rose, Nadya Wynd, Kenneth McCabe, J Aubry Island, Randy Post, Kent Kopasse, Stephanie Babbitt, Michael Marloe, Traci Odom, Jennie Webb and Larry Kelman. It was written by Lee Henry & Joseph H Earle, and directed by Lee Harry.
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