Well I made a promise long ago and now I’m gonna prove what exactly ol’ Vern is made of. Ol’ Vern is made of honor. And he is made of his word. In other words he (i.e. yours truly) is a man of his word, and a man of honor. So I watched the SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT sequel directed by Monte Hellman.
As you know if you read alot of the crap I Write here on this sight, I do believe the french theory of the auteur, that they made up. What it is is that if you like movies like COCKFIGHTER and TWO LANE BLACKTOP by Monte Hellman then that means you gotta watch his other movies, even if they’re – no, especially if they’re – Silent Night Deadly Night sequels.
Now no offense to the french, but I don’t believe this one was worth it. It was really pretty boring, and not in the Monte Hellman way. Movies like TWO LANE BLACKTOP are very slow and quiet, and that’s part of why they work, for those that they work on anyway. This is more of a standard, unimaginative slasher movie, and that’s why it’s boring.
And now you’re asking Vern, that surprises you? What did you expect from Silent Night Deadly Night 3? Well I see what you’re sayin there bud but my point is this. I am an idealist. I am a daydreamer. I believe that it is possible for somebody like Monte Hellman, or somebody better, to decide one day to make a sequel in the middle of a series of bad movies, and blow everybody out of the fuckin water.
Let’s say for some reason between FULL METAL JACKET and EYES WIDE SHUT, Stanley Kubrick had decided to lobby to do PIRANHA 3. Most people would assume that Stanley had lost it. But what if he knew what he was doing? What if he wanted to make a Piranha movie, the Stanley Kubrick way?
What if Martin Scorsese did BONES 2?
The point is, I know Monte Hellman was slumming. But he could’ve made the best of it. He could’ve made a surprisingly good movie. Like John Sayles wrote ALLIGATOR. And I think Monte tried to do something a little different, but he didn’t get too far.
The story takes bits and pieces from familiar horror motifs. It starts out in a lab where a blind girl has little wires hooked up to her and a scientist is studying her dreams. After NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET it seems like everyone in hollywood thought dreams were the most important scientific frontier there was. Of course, many of the dream scientists are corrupt, using dreamers as guinea pigs. This asshole is no exception, using the blind girl (who by the way is a psychic, that was probaly what I should’ve mentioned instead of she was blind) as a way to communicate with the killer from SILENT DEADLY NIGHT PART 2, who is in a coma because he had his head blown off.
Then the blind girl, her brother, and her brother’s girlfriend go to Grandma’s house for Christmas eve. And the killer in a coma gets up and uses his psychic connection to follow them to grandma’s house, killing people along the way, with a cop and the scientist also trying to get there. Just like HALLOWEEN.
If you aren’t idealistic enough to have hope for this as a Monte Hellman picture, you might hope for a hilarious piece of garbage like PART 2. The first glimmer of hope is that the killer, having had his head blown off in part 2, has survived because doctors reconstructed his brain. So now he has a glass dome on his head with an exposed brain soaking in liquid, and a goofy metal antenna sticking off the top. It’s a funny image but not funny enough to keep you smiling much after its first appearance.
Whoever the idiot was who played Ricky in part 2 has been replaced by Bill Moseley, who I guess must specialize in head injury killers since he played Chop Top in TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2. Chop Top is the goofball vietnam vet with the metal plate in his head, who heats up a coathanger with his lighter and uses it to pick off pieces of skin from around the plate and snack on them. He has many great lines like “Lick my plate, dog dick!” and “Leatherface, you bitch hog, you ruined my Sonny Bono wig!” Bill Moseley was fantastic in that movie, riffing on the spirit of Edwin Neal’s insane hitchhiker character from the first picture (supposedly Chop Top’s twin brother) and bringing the series into new black comedy domain.
But Moseley doesn’t get a chance to show off here. He plays the fishbowl headed character as a Frankenstein’s monster type, stumbling around looking confused and occasionally moaning “llaaaaaaauuuuuuuurrrra.” This new subtlety is I guess one Monte Hellman addition to a series renowned for its overacting.
The only other touch that I will attribute to Hellman is a scene where the blind psychic girl’s non blind or psychic brother has sex with his girlfriend in his grandma’s bath tub. I mean that shit is just not right. You don’t do that, unless you’re in a SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT picture, or any of a variety of other post HALLOWEEN, sex=death slasher movies. And you know what it means, out comes the killer and the naked people get mutilated.
But then they get out of the bath tub, and they go look around for the missing Grandma. And I’m thinking ah, it’s a twist, you think they’re gonna die in the tub but actually they die when they get out.
But then they still don’t die. It’s like in DEEP BLUE SEA how you kept thinking LL would be the first one to die, but he escaped the super-intelligent sharks 3 or 4 times before the other characters in the movie even knew they were loose. This is the same thing, because the brother doesn’t get it until way later and, if I remember right, the girlfriend survives. And a while after the brother is dead, the sister is still upset about it, talking about how much she loves him. So there is an attempt, anyway, not to trivialize the death.
But it doesn’t really work, and I think Monte is trying to say something about medicine interfering with nature also, by having the killer so unnaturally surviving from injuries that should’ve killed him, and walking around basically on built-in life support, killing people without understanding what he’s doing. But if that was supposed to be a satirical point I bet I was the only one that caught it.
Well, nice try though Monte, I won’t hold it against you buddy.
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.