I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Silent Night

SILENT NIGHT is the latest killer Santa movie, directed by Steven C. Miller (AUTOMATON TRANSFUSION, THE AGGRESSION SCALE) and written by Jayson Rothwell (Van Damme’s SECOND IN COMMAND). I hear it’s supposed to be a remake of SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT, although I didn’t notice it in the credits. There are only two things I spotted that identify it as such:

1. they redo the unforgettable impaled-on-hunting-trophy death of Linnea Quigley’s character from the original

2. the end credits have a punk version of “Silent Night” where they changed the “holy night” lyric to “deadly night”

There’s also a part where the heroine’s dad encourages her by saying “This isn’t the first time a Bradimore had to bring down a bad Santa,” and I thought maybe that was a reference to a name from the original (which would really make this a sequel) but no, it’s not a name from the original and is explained later on.

Without the antlers if I had to guess what it was supposed to be a remake of I would’ve gone with CHRISTMAS EVIL, and that was also released as SILENT NIGHT, EVIL NIGHT so even the title works for that. I mean, it’s a killer Santa, but it has nothing to do with SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT.

Our story opens with a face-unseen maniac who has a girl tied up and a guy in the basement that he’s about to electrocute using Christmas lights. He grooms himself and then attaches a beard to a plastic mask to create a Santa disguise. (This seems to be the creation of the costume, although later in the movie we’re told he’s been traveling from town to town doing this. Maybe that really is supposed to be an urban legend and not the usual urban-legend-that-is-told-to-represent-the-reality-of-what’s-going-on-in-this-horror-movie approach.)

Santa’s jolly murder spree takes place in a small town that has a tradition of a Santa Claus Parade where this year there are expected to be more than 500 people dressed as Santa. So it’s a good place for him to get away with it for a bit, and it doesn’t hurt that there are a couple of other not-as-crazy-but-still-crazy Santas to confuse the police.

While I was watching this movie there was a commotion outside my apartment and I looked out the window to see a mob of maybe 30 pub-crawling Santas waiting to cross the street. I assume this was a coincidence though and not a special feature of the blu-ray. Let me know if it does the same for you, because if so that’s technology they should probly be making a bigger deal out of.

It’s funny that Malcolm McDowell was in the HALLOWEEN remake and this one too. Here he’s the sheriff, who’s a total asshole, which in my opinion is not as fun as a guy that you can root for. He also doesn’t bother to act American, and even says “bloody” at one point. He forces our heroine, Deputy Aubrey Bradimore (Jaime King) to come to work on her day off even though she’s mourning her first Christmas since her husband died.

This is one of the slasher movies where the main characters are adults, which is kinda cool. Aubrey does live with her parents, but that’s presumably because of the tragedy, and I like that her parents are nice old folks. Her dad is super-sweet and even has a legitimate Santa beard.

So they try to catch the Santa, solve the mystery, etc. The sheriff is dickish and wrong about everything, nobody believes Aubrey but she’s right, that sort of thing. The Santa leaves presents for his future victims. They’re those presents you only see in movies and TV where after you untie you just have to lift a lid off instead of the whole box being wrapped, and yet for the most part we don’t see anybody open them. Then he hacks people up with an ax and some kind of scythe. I like when he uses his home made blowtorch. Maybe it’s kind of counterintuitive for the man from the North Pole to be using fire, but on the other hand he’s gotta keep warm somehow.

By the way, all you masked slashers, I think it’s time for a moratorium on the Curious Head Tilt. Michael, Leatherface and Jason get grandfathered in because they were the pioneers and they used it to creepy effect, but the rest of you gotta stop now.

Oh, by the way, Lisa Marie is in this. Remember, Tim Burton’s muse before he left her for Helena Bonham Carter? She was Vampira in ED WOOD, the Martian Spy Girl in MARS ATTACKS!. Here she has a small part as a bitchy mom, I almost didn’t recognize her.

The tone is odd because at times it borders on the Rob Zombie too-bleak-to-be-fun-like-a-Jason-movie, but then the concept of Christmas-themed murder is inherently absurd and the gore in a few parts is pretty over-the-top. There is some dark humor, like in the opening murder when the tied-up-victim thinks he’s dealing with the angry husband of a woman he slept with and cycles through every possible plea of innocence without waiting for any of them to land. But when Santa stalks and horribly kills an innocent topless model (running through a cold cemetery wearing only frilly panties) it’s not fun, just upsetting. But I guess that’s pretty true to the tone of the original.

Comparing SILENT NIGHT to SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT as representatives of their time periods brings me to surprising conclusions. The original 1984 film was almost I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE infamous. I mean, check this out:

And of course nobody is offended by this new one, because 28 years later we’ve moved on with our lives. Both movies involve an evil Santa on a rampage of “punishing” people doing “naughty” things, but which one do you think has a more complex and thoughtful take on it? Yep, that would be the disreputable sleazefest that was chased off of screens and publicly shamed by Gene Siskel. I know the producers were looking for shock value and needed suckers like poor Gene in order to promote their movie, but despite filmatism about as precise as a haphazardly swung ax they made a slasher movie that had something interesting to say about morality and about the “sex = death” slasher trope of the time.

SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT is one of the few slasher movies that follows the killer through his whole life and explains where he’s coming from. It’s a pretty absurd origin, but it’s a thorough one: as a young kid he witnessed his parents murdered by a criminal wearing a Santa costume. He grew up in an orphanage, where a cruel Mother Superior beat Catholic morality and sexual repression into him. Then as a stunted adult his boss forces him into playing Santa, and he gets drunk, and this leads to his judgmental rampage.

In the FRIDAY THE 13THs and alot of slashers there’s a not-always-intentional message of “if you’re bad and you smoke pot and have sex the boogie man will get you.” But for Billy the killer Santa this judgment is based on an outdated and not fully understood moral code forced onto him by tragedy and abusive authority figures. Some of his victims are jerks, to make him more sympathetic, but it’s clearly an indictment of this type of black and white, naughty and nice, sex is bad world view. The movie doesn’t want you to agree with Mother Superior’s anti-sex stance.

With SILENT NIGHT you don’t get as much of the killer’s background, and there’s no religion involved, no moral confusion by a messed up person, and for most of the movie you don’t even know who he is at all. He murders an adulterer and a drug dealer and then the most gruesome death is saved for… a topless model for a softcore porn websight? She’s played by Cortney Palm, who must be a total badass because she’s hanging out a window almost naked and running around barefoot and shit. It’s pretty harrowing, easily the most successfully horrific part of the movie, but it also left me thinking jesus, that’s kinda mean.

I don’t think it really means to judge nude models, and I’m definitely not pulling a Gene Siskel “shame on you.” But I think without the context of the original story it loses alot of dimension and makes you actually wonder if the movie really wants to kill this girl just for showing her boobies. I think it’s a matter of just going through the horror tropes without stopping to think about what they say when put together in this particular order, but then that’s where the whole sex = death thing came from in the first place, isn’t it? It wasn’t intentional.

I would say that among horror remakes SILENT NIGHT ranks somewhere in the middle. Sort of empty compared to the original but not blasphemous, somewhat entertaining but probly not rewatchable. I’m okay with it. And this proves, killer Santa, that there is some grey area out there, not everything is just naughty or nice. I hope somebody gets you some nuance for Christmas.


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.

This entry was posted on Thursday, December 6th, 2012 at 2:14 pm and is filed under Horror, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

69 Responses to “Silent Night”

  1. If that Santa gathering really was a bonus feature, I have to buy a Blu-Ray player as soon as BASIC INSTINCT is released that way.

  2. I loved the original as a kid (assuming this is indeed a remake), so I’ll probably check this out.

    Last night, I saw Rare Exports, a pretty enjoyable Scandanavian take on the whole evil Santa genre. I definitely recommend it for your holiday horror pleasures.

  3. A few years ago I read a story of a man who wore a Santa ooufit and used a make shift flamethrower to murder his family. I cant shake that story out of my head so the poster for this movie scares me a lot.

  4. This is a bit timely, considering last night’s episode of AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM.

  5. I saw photos of Lisa Marie naked on a beach with an also nude Jeff Goldblum once

    also, GARBAGE DAY!

  6. I wonder what the hell ever became of Eric Freeman? For me he is Mr Silent Night Deadly Night.

  7. My favourite killer Santa is the robot one from Futurama.
    “Their Mistletoe is no match for my TOW Missile!”

  8. The mention of the perpetually-naked Cortney Palm reminds me to remind you, Vern, to make sure SUSHI GIRL is in your queue of films to see when it gets a limited release early next year. I read about it in a recent Mark Hamill interview–he squares off in a RESERVOIR DOGS type situation with Danny Trejo, Sonny Chiba, Tony Todd, James Duvall, Michael Biehn, etc., with Palm throughout the entire picture playing a nude serving platter for…ah, I see you read the title. It sounded like a hell of a lot of fun to make, with some Mega-Acting from Hamill that he greatly enjoyed doing. Plus, you know, that cast.

  9. Here’s my appropriate Christmas present from one of my old song books:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3soT9HOxyZA

  10. Garbage Day has become an internet classic. That clip might in fact be more popular than the movie that it came from. I really enjoy the ironic twist on Christmas. It’s weird, since I generally do enjoy the holiday, and somehow these cynical takes on Christmas also get me into the holiday spirit. Die Hard and Bad Santa seem like entirely appropriate films to watch in December. They do nothing but help bolster my Christmas cheer.

  11. nabroleon dynamite

    December 7th, 2012 at 9:43 am

    The original’s message of how religion can warp the mind, I always believed was the real reason for all the outcry back in the day.

    Santa has dick to do with Jesus.

    I guess I’ll peep this “remake” once it hits the Redbox.

  12. As I recall, the controversy had nothing to do with the actual content of the movie. It was about the marketing. Kids would see the poster or the TV commercials for the movie and freak out about Santa Claus coming to kill them, and then parents would complain, and then our saviors Siskel & Ebert would come riding in on their white horses to rescue us all from this evil, evil film. God forbid parents just tell their stupid kids that the movie was fake.

  13. I think the killer Santa idea has such permanence because it seems like a natural reaction to the Santa myth. It’s not just ironic reappropriation. There’s something creepy about a guy who sneaks into your home without you knowing, even if it is just to drop off presents. And in Germany and Austria, I believe, they have Krampus, who is kind of like Saint Nic’s evil twin. He’s the demon who kidnaps the bad children. So horror is kind of imbedded into the holiday to begin with.

  14. RBatty024:

    I’m glad you mentioned Krampus. Essentially, that is what the movie I mentioned above (Rare Exports) seems to be inspired by. That movie takes place in Finland and they claim that rather than an evil twin, he’s actually the real Santa who has since been Coca-Cola’d into the happy jovial Santa we all know…

  15. From what I remember of the controversy, I think it’s probably safe to say that St. Nick was generally perceived as sacrosanct in a way that crazy clowns and fairy tale characters never were. Parents will tolerate comedies that gently satirize the season, the shopping it entails, and the drunks who play mall Santas, but a horror film was seen as an attack on basic decency. Majestyk’s right that the film itself wasn’t watched by the Concerned Parents who objected to it (that’s always the case with horror film controversies), but something about the mere participation of St. Nick himself lent a more fevered pitch than usual to that particular burst of public outrage. It paled in scope and intensity to the Rushdie Affair, but it operated on the same presumptions.

    I remember a local newspaper columnist tried to launch a similar campaign against FRANKENHOOKER when it came out, but was met with indifference (and a few snickers at his expense). Concerned Parents felt no need to get behind that issue because Frankenstein, hookers and dismemberment didn’t disrupt the idealized version of the world they had created for themselves (a world in which the modern image of Santa was largely the product of a soda pop advertising campaign and people routinely got into fistfights over whatever toy they were trying to purchase for their kids).

  16. has anyone noticed that controversy and outrage in general seem to have gone the way of the dinosaur? the last medium to stir up major controversy was video games, but now even that has fallen by the wayside after people inevitably realized it was a losing battle and with that, real major outrage over something in America, the kind you see talked on the news, seems to have died

    I guess it could be after so many decades of it people finally realized that there was nothing they could do if something pissed them off, either that or everyone has become so isolated culturally these days that’s it’s hard for anything outside of their “bubble” to break in, there might be something going on today that would piss people off, if people could stay off their Facebooks long enough to notice

  17. When you have guys like Jay Z signing so-called 360 degree contracts, where a corporation has a say in every facet of his public life in order to ensure that his “brand” appeals to as many consumers as possible, the probability of causing a stir is greatly diminished. No one in the mainstream wants to do or say anything to fuck up all those dollars they can make by lending their name to perfume. More directors are made conscious that they could lose funding opportunities if they decide they want boobs, swearing or smoking in their movies. Chain theaters, chain nightclubs and radio stations ensure that grassroots stuff like the CBGB scene or the grindhouse/midnight screenings are not given a place to flourish. The fringes still exist, but on something as big as the internet, it is easy to drown out their voices.

    I don’t tend to think of controversy as an outpouring of outrage from the public over something they’ve seen or heard, at least not as far as cultural artifacts like music and film is concerned. I see it more as a mechanism that is engineered to serve some other purpose by one elite or another. No one who actually listened to music was concerned about the antics of Ozzy or Prince; but we have warning stickers on music now because a bunch of Washington wives were the instrument of a scare campaign intended to curb some of the more disconcerting messages being articulated by increasingly influential hip hop artists in the 1980s.

  18. “I don’t tend to think of controversy as an outpouring of outrage from the public over something they’ve seen or heard, at least not as far as cultural artifacts like music and film is concerned. I see it more as a mechanism that is engineered to serve some other purpose by one elite or another. No one who actually listened to music was concerned about the antics of Ozzy or Prince; but we have warning stickers on music now because a bunch of Washington wives were the instrument of a scare campaign intended to curb some of the more disconcerting messages being articulated by increasingly influential hip hop artists in the 1980s.”

    yeah, I can buy that, but then what was the point of the controversy against video games?

  19. I think most controversies focus on “saving the children.” The talking point behind the Janet Jackson debacle was that families were watching. Video games are still seen as something that children and teenagers play (although this perception is changing), so people think that violence in video games are targeted towards children. This obviously isn’t true, but people are idiots.

    The only other issue that creates controversy is politics. I think popular music specifically has been stripped of politics over the course of the last decade or so. At this point, the most controversial thing that happens in the world of music is that someone wears something strange. I don’t think that record companies would allow the same sort of anti-cop attitude today that you had on hip hop albums of the early nineties.

  20. Maybe worth pointing out, but I don’t think the idea of an Evil Santa is really a reappropriation. There have always been sinister, impish versions of Santa. Ranges from him being a trickster who dicks you over with coal to Satan himself, non? I did some quick googling and it seems that this is generally true. In fact I would guess (and this is a non-quick-googling-confirmed-guess) that the nice version of Santa is the “reappropriation” and it’s so that people can MAKE DEM $$’s. :)

  21. The Original... Paul

    December 9th, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    I was going to avoid this like the plague – I’m not a huge fan of the original either, although I thought parts of it worked pretty well – but if it’s actually got a decent whodunnit portion, I might be interested enough to go see it. (Just from the cast list I’d peg Brendan Fehr as the villain, although I could be way off base there.) I’ll be honest, Vern, your remarks about the asshole sheriff put me off. Even with the subverted aspect of the character in “Dead in three days” I couldn’t care for this particular stereotype.

    But anyway… without asking for spoilers… is it any good in terms of the game of “whodunnit”?

    The point of the controversy over videogames is that most people involved in it hadn’t played them. And while sometimes the industry can get it really, really wrong (the “Dead Space 2” adverts featuring outraged mothers – for an 18-rated game – for example), most of the time it’s just the usual thing – a load of self-righteous hypocrites either stroking their own egos or lining their pockets.

  22. The Original... Paul

    December 9th, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    And if there was any controversy over the original (I’ll have to take your word for it there, because I had no idea it even existed until I read about it on this site), I’d imagine it would be over the portrayal of a children’s home, not over the portrayal of Santa?

  23. Don’t take our word for it, use ye olde internet… the Wikipedia article discusses the controversy at length. It was because of Scary Santa.

  24. Griff: I don’t know much about video games, but I assume that the controversy is similar to the occasional ruckus that pops up around horror films. When a film or game is perceived as stepping beyond the standards that the mainstream finds acceptable, like the “torture porn” films or Grand Theft Auto, a corrective reaction is quickly articulated. Correct me if I’m wrong about the video games, but these arguements tend to be confined to the media itself; it’s a form of self-policing. The public doesn’t take to the streets demanding that Sonic the Hedgehog be brought to justice.

    I’m inclined to see this as something different than people burning Beatles merchandise or the PMRC trying to limit who can buy rap albums is open to debate.

    A buddy of mine feels that video game makers try to cultivate a certain transgressive cache when they launch a new game; they feel that courting a reputation of danger lends credibility to their product among the cynical kids they are selling to.

    Also, like Rbatty said, people are idiots.

  25. I work as a video game producer. A large part of the video game censorship issues started with one guy, an attorney who made it his personal crusade a few years ago to squash out what he perceived to be the evils of gaming. He was able to stir up quite a bit of controversy before he got disbarred.

    I think that most of the controversy comes from games being a relatively new media which seems to always scare parents. Added to that is the interactivity of games. Even though numerous studies have shown absolutely no link between playing a violent game and becoming a violent person, there are still a lot of people who think that if you are “pulling the trigger” on your Xbox controller, it goes from entertainment to violence simulation.

    Jareth: I can honestly say that I have never seen or heard of any developers, producers or any other gaming professionals intentionally creating controversial content. (With the possible exception of PR and Marketing types, who operate at their own ethical level regardless of what industry they work in). However, when controversy does happen, it can sometimes be seen as “any press is good press”. But, a quick search about the Grand Theft Auto “Hot Coffee” incident will show you that in some cases, a little controversy can literally cost a publisher millions of dollars, so it isn’t usually worth the extra press.

  26. I dunno, I find it kind of hard to believe Infinity Ward didn’t know exactly what they were doing when they included that airport mission in MW2 (and then followed it up with a terrorist attack on the London Underground in MW3). And I hope to god that trailer for the new hitman game was about courting controversy because if it wasn’t I’m genuinely concerned for the emotional well-being of whoever was responsible for it.

  27. Infinity Ward were deliberately trying to provoke an emotional response with the No Russian level, but I don’t think they were simply baiting controversy for the sake of the publicity. At that moment they genuinely expect you to take their extremely dumb game very, very seriously.

    The MW series makes me uncomfortable in the way it commits to surface-level realism and brief moments of pretension while being very dumb and ugly at it’s core. I remember playing the level in COD4:MW that deliberately imitates Apache gunship footage and having to turn it off because it made me feel awful. If any game is going to have a corrosive effect on people’s minds I’m far more worried about games like that rather than silly rubbish like MORTAL KOMBAT (which I thoroughly enjoyed).

    I think the whole video game censorship debate is ridiculous and I’ll be happy when it’s over, but I also think there’s a tendency for gamers (I hate that word) to reject any critical examination of games as an attack on the medium. Critics are expected to treat games as products where the level of enjoyment they provide can be objectively quantified. Attempts to point out the truly rotten things endemic in games (homophobia, misogyny, racism etc) are almost always greeted with hostility.

    I go back and forth on video games all the time. I’m really excited about the future of the medium but at times it can be depressing.

  28. I’m going to try to keep this brief because I didn’t intend to derail this convo into games instead of evil Santas…

    I actually worked on MW2 (on the Activision side, not the IW side). At the time, the way it was explained to me was this:

    The No Russian level was definitely meant to be impactful. The idea was that they were trying to find an “Oh, shit” moment that would possibly equal or best the nuke sequence in CoD4. There was a lot of back and forth about whether it should be included, specifically because nobody wanted to go “too far”. In the end, it was decided to keep the level, with an option to skip it. Maybe somebody at some point was just trying to push the envelope, but overall, the possible controversy was seen as more of a negative than a positive.

    Personally, I do think that AAA games need to move away from being simply about shooting enemies in the face, but it’s going to take time.

    Ok, not as short as I’d like it to be, but I felt I should share at least a little of my first hand knowledge.

  29. ha, you work for Activision? that’s like saying you hang out with Darth Vader on the Death Star to gamers, say hi to Bobby for me! (I’m kidding)

  30. I used to work for Activision. I’ve also worked for EA, so I guess I’m like a full-fledged card-carrying member of the Empire!

  31. I’m probably going to regret this, but what is “the airport level” and what’s so terrible about it?

  32. It’s a level that that has you walking through an airport gunning down terrified civilians as they try to escape. It’s pretty brutal.

  33. And why are you doing this? And how is it different from the millions of civilians I’ve slaughtered in Grand Theft Auto?

  34. Well, in terms of the narrative, you’re doing this in order to get in good with some terrorists.

    It was viewed as different partly because some thought it was “pro-terrorist”. Also, the civilians you shoot are begging for mercy, etc. I personally didn’t love that it was included. Most of the game is treated like a fun action film, and then out of nowhere there’s this. To me it’s like the real life footage at the beginning of Rambo. Juxtaposing the real horror with the cartoon violence does a disservice to both. In my opinion, that is.

  35. I can’t remember the exact reason for the mission but I think youre undercover with some terrorists or something, its pretty convoluted.

  36. So are you supposed to be the bad guys or something? Is this, like, the first scene in the action movie where the villains do something horrible and then the heroes have to go kill them, except you get to play it instead of just watching it? Seems counterproductive from a storytelling perspective. “Man, I can’t wait to get revenge on these assholes for all the shit I just had fun doing.”

    Plus, that level does not seem very challenging. You just walk around and shoot people who don’t shoot back. Where’s the fun in that?

    So, yeah, I remain unoffended. Your move, video game industry.

  37. Okay, so I commented before reading the explanations. It’s a little fucked up that you’re supposed to be a good guy doing this. I don’t care what the greater goal is, you open up on a crowd of innocent civilians without a second thought, you are not a good person. So from a storytelling perspective, you’ve basically just made your hero a monster. If that’s the point, hey, good job. Or is the demographic for this game so jaded that they don’t give a shit who they’re shooting just as long as they get to shoot somebody?

    You know, moral conundrums like this didn’t really come into play in the old days. Then again, most of those turtles Mario stomped on were just minding their own business, so I don’t know.

  38. Yeah i’m not really offended by it, I just find it kind of tasteless and mean spirited.

  39. It comes at about the mid-way point. You’re undercover and they do the whole, “come with us, we have a special mission for you” type of thing. It is not much of a challenge. I believe the second half of it had SWAT teams or something trying to secure the airport (could be remembering that wrong, it’s been a couple years), but I think the main challenge was just to make you go through with it. As the player, you’re stuck shooting innocent, defenseless people whether you like it or not.

    I’m glad you’re not offended, Majestyk, but it would be OK if you were. I think it’s OK to be offended by games, films, whatever. I just don’t think the offended people should be ranting and raving and trying to make it so that those of us who aren’t offended cant even experience these works, whether its shooting virtual civilians or watching a fake Santa hack people up.

  40. Oh and SPOILER…

    Right after you finish the mission, the terrorists basically tell you that you had blown your cover long ago and they shoot your character and he dies. So, it was all for naught.

  41. Dtroyt, I agree. I don’t think the level was terrible or offensive in itself. Actually I think a game forcing you to participate in something horrific and “not fun” is a very interesting idea. It just doesn’t belong in that game, and the fact that they felt it was appropriate makes me wonder what kind of games they think they’re making.

    I always defend GRAND THEFT AUTO on the grounds that it’s clearly satire. Yes, there are dumb-dumbs who take it at face value, but that’s how you know it’s good satire. It’s getting harder and harder to do that now, because Rockstar’s has increasingly serious storytelling ambitions which are clearly at loggerheads with the way they design their games. GTA is basically an amoral playground that rewards you for indulging your worst impulses, which makes it impossible to have any sort of character arc. It’s hard to buy Niko Bellic as a poor immigrant reluctantly drawn into a life of crime when he/I just blew up fifteen mini-vans with a rocket launcher.

  42. I think Joe Bob Briggs explained the phenomena pretty well when he said that people who try to censor shit are basically saying, “This movie or game or whatever didn’t drive ME insane, but what about those OTHER people? Those SKEEVY people. They’re the ones I’m worried about. They’re too STUPID to watch this kind of filth the way I can.”

  43. Why won’t you think of the children?

  44. You know, I’d like to play a stealth game where you’re a killer in a slasher movie.

  45. You know, I think I was slightly offended by the London underground bit in mw3 for the simple reason that they would never in a million years have the balls to base a level around what is clearly meant to evoke 9/11. But I suppose terrorist atrocities that happen in countrys that aren’t the US are fair game eh?

  46. And yeah I realise there’s a New York section in that game but it ain’t really the same thing as re-enacting a specific event.

  47. Crustacean- How about a game where you can play as either the killer or the final survivor? Silent Night the Game? (Aha! Sort of back on topic!)

  48. How about a multiplayer game where one person is the killer and everyone else is one of a number of class-based slasher-victim archetypes (jock, cheerleader, nerd etc)? The victims get points for performing a number of illicit activities (smoking weed, drinking, pre-marital sex etc) and the slasher gets points for killing people engaging in said activities. The final survivor gets special abilities to allow them to turn the table on the slasher.

  49. “You know, I’d like to play a stealth game where you’re a killer in a slasher movie.”

    the Manhunt games are a lot like that, especially Manhunt 2, where you’re basically a psycho killer on the loose

  50. The Original... Paul

    December 10th, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Ok, I’d like to reply to the whole videogame bit but it’s way off-topic for this so I’m gonna put something in the forums.

  51. Yeah, I played the first MANHUNT game and it was pretty good, although the controls were a little frustrating. I liked the part where you fought the fat naked guy with the pig mask and the chainsaw. Also, Brian Cox.

  52. I once commented on a YouTube vidoe that I enjoyed gunning down all those civilians in that specific airport mission. Someone replied to me and called me coldhearted and cruel.

    Even to this day I fail to see whats so controversial. You gunning down civilians is nothing new. Maybe its because it is supposed to be controversial that many people feel that they probably should feel disgusted by it.

    Well, I wasn´t. It was a bit pointless mission, though. But Infinity Ward got publicity from it. But they are no Rockstar Games in my opinion. Because if you look underneath the surface of most of Rockstar games, they have more depth to them than blowing up innocents or in CANIS CANEM EDIT ( also known as BULLY), bullying school kids.

    Infinity Ward are not in that league at all. Certainly not in the story and character department.

  53. Shit man, I totally missed the previous part of the conversation, therefore I didn’t know that you were talking about video games when you said that you enjoyed gunning down civilians!

    My sister really enjoyed shooting hostages in the ass when playing GOLDENEYE 64, btw.

  54. Dtroyt: Thanks for the inside information.

    I suppose it is inevitable that someone would argue that video games act as training grounds for spree killers, not unlike the argument that pornography acts as an instruction manual for rapists. Strangely, this argument never gets extended to sports that actually involve (if not encourage) violent acts. Even the paintball guys are left alone to shoot at each other.

    Like you said, the social sciences tend to favor the interpretation that consumers of video games and porn are less likely to commit violent acts. I guess they get all their aggression out of their system while playing with their joysticks, so to speak.

    Majestyk: Is Grand Theft Auto the one where you can stomp a guy’s face against the curb on the street? The only modern video games I’ve seen are the first two Silent Hills. Am I correct in assuming that the actual violent acts depicted in GTA are more extreme than Silent Hill?

  55. Nah, the violence isn’t all that extreme in and of itself, at least in the ones I’ve played extensively (SAN ANDREAS and VICE CITY). The games are actually pretty cartoony. It’s just the casualness of the violence that’s shocking. If you feel like it, you can kill every single person you meet. You can beat old ladies to death with a dildo. You can sit on a clock tower and snipe pedestrians from a mile away. You can shoot down jets with a rocket launcher. Yeah, the cops will eventually come for you, but all you have to do is escape them or get killed and you’re free again.

    The funny thing is, playing around in this completely nihilistic world with no consequences was like aversion therapy for mindless violence. I got all the random barbarity out of my system and started trying to be as decent a person as the game would allow me to be. I went out of my way to avoid running over pedestrians, and the only civilians I murdered were drug dealers, especially if they had the fucking audacity to peddle their crap in front of my mama’s house. I went to the gym all the time, developed personal and professional relationships, cared about my appearance, helped out my community, etc. Except for all the people I had to kill in the course of business, I became a better person in GTA than I am in real life.

  56. Apparently, San Andreas is getting ressurected in the days to come on the Playstation Network. Now, my experience with GTA is that I usually do all this mindless violence when I am tired of doing missions in where you just try to complete the missions within the frame you are given, The when you are cast outside that frame, thats where shit gets down. Whats great about it is that all the frustrations you have as an automobile driver in reallife you can take it out in that game.

    Some asshole-driver you just can grab him out of the car, or blow it up with grenade or use a flamethrower. All that shit you wished you could do to asshole-drivers in reallife you can do. Is that a cathartic experience perhaps? In that case it works as a vent of some sorts.

  57. Also, San Andreas is a fantastic name for a game. Because well, Andreas is my first name in reallife.

  58. Shoot: I believe that San Andreas is now available on PSN. Also, GTA V comes out next year and takes place in San Andreas. The trailers look amazing, although sadly it appears Ray Liotta won’t be reprising his voice acting role…

  59. Ray Liotta was in VICE CITY, not SAN ANDREAS.

  60. Majestyk: My bad! You’re right. I think what threw me off was that when the first trailer came out, some people were speculating that the character was the same character as Vice City, 25-30 years later.

  61. I miss the silliness of SAN ANDREAS, which was surgically removed for GTAIV and apparently GTAV. At the moment I’m playing SAINTS ROW THE THIRD, which picks up that ball and runs with it, past the goal line, out of the stadium, off the planet and into the furthest reaches of outer space, all while wearing a giant purple strap-on and Groucho Marx glasses. It’s pretty fun.

  62. Crustacean: Totally agree 100% about GTAIV and SRt3rd, but I’m not quite ready to give up on GTAV yet. If you think about it, it’s gonna be this console generation’s San Andreas, which was the final GTA on the past gen. I think if you were a fan of the original San Andreas, you’ll be a fan of V. Plus, look at the trailers!

  63. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I liked GTAIV and I’m really looking forward to GTAV. READ DEAD REDEMPTION was possibly my favourite console game this generation and came closest to realising Rockstar’s big storytelling ambitions, so I’m really excited to see what they’re going to do. I think the world’s big enough for two very different types of open-world crime simulation.

  64. I Whats great about GTAIV was that it was an attempt to create a gritty crime story ( unusual for a videogame) with complex characters. Did they succeed fully? No, I don´t think so, but it was a great attempt at least.

    I huighly recommend SLEEPING DOGS, if anyone is after a good GTA-esque crime drama. My favourite game this year and with one of the most badass characters I´ve ever encountered in a video game; Wei Shen. It mixes enjoyable car chases (with drifting and takedowns) with violent kung fu mayhem and slow mo shootouts.
    It also has karaoke, where you can sing A flock of Seagulls “I ran”.

    You work as an undercover cop, infiltrating the triads of Hong Kong working both sides. Its just a tremendous game and Hong Kong is certainly a fresh environment in video games and its just fucking great.

    I found SAINTS ROW THE THIRD just plain retarded and tiresome, I´m afraid. Not much of a crime drama, but just full of silly shit. SLEEPING DOGS do have some of that early GTA craziness, but it doesn´t take over and ruin the game. It is just goddamn perfect, in my opinion

  65. SLEEPING DOGS is next on my list after I’m done with my current backlog. As a big fan of HK crime dramas, kung fu films and open-world action games I have no doubts that I’ll enjoy it.

  66. Sleeping Dogs is dope.

  67. I’m surprised you didn’t pick up that this was a remake. There were a few other references to the original that you didn’t mention.

    The first was the scene where the supposedly comatose grandfather wakes up just long enough to warn his grandson to beware of Santa Claus. In the original the grandson was the killer as a little kid and here it’s some asshole teenager. I figured the kid was going to be someone important but nope, he dies in his next scene.

    There’s also a reference to SNDN2 where the cop is taking out the garbage and says “What is this? Garbage day?”

    Anyway I agree that the original had a little more depth and that the scene where the topless girl got Fargo’d was easily the cruelest kill in the film.

  68. Good point about the comatose grandpa, I didn’t make the connection. I guess it’s been a while since I’ve seen the original.

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