Silent Night, Deadly Night
Silent Night, Deadly Night is a 1984 American slasher film directed by Charles E. Sellier, Jr., and starring Robert Brian Wilson, Lilyan Chauvin, Gilmer McCormick, Toni Nero, Linnea Quigley, Britt Leach, and Leo Geter. The story concerns a young man named Billy, who suffers from posttraumatic stress over witnessing his parents' murder on Christmas Eve and his subsequent upbringing in an abusive Catholic orphanage. In adulthood, the Christmas holiday leads him into a psychological breakdown, and he emerges as a spree killer donning a Santa suit.
The film was released by TriStar Pictures on November 9, 1984, where it received substantial controversy over its promotional material and content, which featured a killer Santa Claus. In addition to receiving negative reviews, it was pulled from theaters a week after its release. However, it was a success during its opening week, grossing $2.5 million on a budget of $750,000. Since its release, it has developed a cult following and spawned a series, consisting of four sequels, with the fourth and fifth installments having no connection to the original film, as well as a loose remake in 2012.
In 1971, five-year-old Billy Chapman and his family go to visit a nursing home where his catatonic grandfather stays; when Billy remains alone with him for a few minutes, his grandfather suddenly awakens and tells Billy to fear Santa Claus, as he gives presents only to the children who have been good all year, and punishes the ones who have been naughty, no matter how briefly. While driving back, a man dressed in a Santa outfit seemingly has car trouble and gets Billy's family's attention. As they pull over to help, the Santa-clad criminal shoots the father with a pistol. He forcibly removes the mother, attempts to rape her and slashes her throat with a switchblade. Billy runs off to hide, leaving his baby brother Ricky in the car.
Three years later in 1974, Billy and Ricky are celebrating Christmas in an orphanage run by Mother Superior, a strict disciplinarian who persistently strikes children who misbehave and considers punishment to be a necessary and good thing. Sister Margaret, the only one who sympathizes with the children, tries to help Billy play with the other children, but Billy is constantly subject to Mother Superior's scrutinizing eyes and regularly punished. On Christmas morning, the orphanage invites a man in a Santa Claus suit to visit the children; Billy gets dragged by Mother Superior and he punches the man before fleeing to his room in horror.
10 years later, in the spring of 1984, a now-adult Billy leaves the orphanage to find a normal life, and obtains a job as a stock boy at a local toy store, thanks to Sister Margaret. At the store, he develops a crush on his co-worker Pamela; he has sexual thoughts regarding her which are often interrupted by morbid visions of his parents' murders. On Christmas Eve, the employee who plays the store's Santa Claus has been injured the night before and as a result Billy's boss Mr. Sims makes him take his place. After the store closes, the staff has a Christmas Eve party. Billy (still dressed in a Santa Claus suit) tries to have a good time at the party, but he keeps having memories of his parents' murders, causing him to feel depressed. At one point, he sees his co-worker Andy making out with Pamela and they both walk into the back room. Billy walks after them and sees Andy trying to rape Pamela. This finally, psychologically, triggers his insanity; he hangs Andy with a string of Christmas lights and stabs Pamela with a utility knife, uttering darkly that punishment is good.
A highly intoxicated Mr. Sims goes into the back room to check on the noises he heard. Just when he is about to leave, Billy murders him with a hammer. Billy turns off the store's lights, causing his manager, Mrs. Randall, to go check out the back room. She screams at the sight of Mr. Sims' corpse and tries to call police, but Billy cuts the phone line using a double-bit axe, causing her to run and hide. Billy walks around the store trying to find her and, at one point, Mrs. Randall jumps out and trips Billy, stealing his axe. Before she can escape, Billy shoots and kills her with a bow and arrow.
As Sister Margaret discovers the carnage and returns to the orphanage to seek help via telephone, Billy breaks into a nearby house where a young couple named Denise and Tommy are having sex and a little girl named Cindy is sleeping; Billy then impales Denise on a set of deer antlers and throws Tommy through a window. When this awakens Cindy, Billy then confronts her and asks her if she has been nice or naughty; she says she has been nice, and he gives her the utility knife he had used earlier. After this, he witnesses bullies picking on two sledding teenage boys and decapitates one of the bullies with his axe as the other screams in horror.
The next morning, the orphanage is secured with Officer Barnes and Captain Richards aided by Sister Margaret, who knows that Billy has committed the murders. The deaf pastor, Father O'Brien, who was dressed in a Santa outfit, is mistakenly shot by Barnes upon coming forward, mistaking him to be Billy. Barnes is then axed by Billy while distracted. Due to his Santa outfit, Billy gains access into the orphanage and confronts Mother Superior, now in a wheelchair. She taunts Billy due to her disbelief in Santa Claus and just as he prepares to kill her with his axe, Richards appears and shoots him in the back, much to Sister Margaret's shock. As the dying Billy lays on the ground, he utters to the nearby children "You're safe now, Santa Claus is gone." before succumbing to his wounds. As the children gather around, Ricky, coldly staring at Mother Superior, utters "Naughty".