Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

Starring Lilyan Chauvin, Gilmer McCormick, Toni Nero, Robert Brian Wilson, Britt Leach, Nancy Borgenicht, H.E.D. Redford, Danny Wagner, Linnea Quigley, Leo Geter, Randy Stumpf, Will Hare

Directed by Charles E. Sellier Jr.

Expectations: High, I’ve heard good things.


Argh, this one is just shy of being absolutely phenomenal. The first half is full of incredibly well-done psychological horror, showing the fucked up childhood of Billy and how the damage is manifesting itself throughout his life. About halfway through the film devolves into the sadist slasher movie I expected the whole thing to be and it loses a lot of the steam it had built up. Oh well, even with this frustrating issue, Silent Night, Deadly Night is a fantastic slice of 80s horror and any fan of the genre should definitely check this one out.

The film opens with a family traveling to visit Grandpa in the nursing home. He’s silent and apparently trapped in his head, but when left alone with his grandson Billy, suddenly Grandpa comes to life. He tells Billy about how Santa doesn’t just bring presents to those children that are good, he also punishes kids that were naughty. And not just mostly good, you gotta be ALL good or else Santa will punish you! Billy trembles in fear, and later when they’re traveling home and they stop to help out a Santa with car trouble, Billy freaks out. When this Santa, who happens to be a criminal in disguise, attacks and kills Billy’s parents, the concept of a pleasant, jovial Santa is forever eradicated.

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Enter the Ninja (1981)

Starring Franco Nero, Susan George, Sho Kosugi, Christopher George, Alex Courtney, Will Hare, Zachi Noy, Constantine Gregory, Dale Ishimoto, Joonee Gamboa

Directed by Menahem Golan

Expectations: High, but tempered because I’ve heard this is dumb.

On the general scale:
onestar

On the B-Movie scale:
twohalfstar


It’s been much too long since I watched an 80s ninja flick, so I decided to remedy that with the first film in the unofficial Ninja trilogy featuring Sho Kosugi! Perhaps this wasn’t the best choice to make, as I’d heard from a couple of different sources that this first film is one that can easily be skipped and I would be much better served by the much more famous pseudo-sequel Revenge of the Ninja. As a completionist, I scoffed at these suggestions and soldiered on, receiving a film just about as good as I was led to believe it would be.

Franco Nero plays Cole, an American war veteran who has spent the last few years training to become a ninja. Yes, that’s the same Franco Nero that starred in Django and Camelot, and no, I don’t quite understand the logic in casting him as a ninja. I do like to theorize that because of his involvement, somewhere in the world this film was screened under the title Django vs. Ninja, but I have no factual evidence of this. Whatever, he’s a ninja and Sho Kosugi, another student at the school, objects to Nero’s inclusion in the sacred order. A rivalry forms but just as you think it might be going somewhere awesome, Nero leaves Japan to hang out with his old war buddy in Manila. There he finds a wealthy landowner looking to steal his friend’s land out from under him, presumably to build some high-rise apartments or to farm heroin or some other clichéd 80s action movie shit. I honestly didn’t pay too close of attention to his motives.

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