12/23/09

Silent Night Deadly Night 2 (1987): All I Want For Christmas Is Two Bushy Eyebrows

A few months back I was at a flea market, and there nestled amongst a heap of video tapes that held no interest for me was a tattered and torn copy of Silent Night Deadly Night 2. I had never had a chance to see this long out of print gem though I was aware of its reputation for awesome badness. I knew I had to hold onto it for the Holiday season. With only one final It Came from Video Tape before Christmas, I’ve fired up the VHS, poured a big glass of Egg Nog, and got ready to check out this spurious holiday classic.

I knew going into Silent Night Deadly Night 2 some of what I could expect. By some I mean about 35 minutes of footage from the first Silent Night Deadly Night film. Apparently the producers wanted director Lee Harry to take footage from the first film and somehow come up with a sequel. Harry had a better idea. Use a large chunk of the film as a flashback, and the rest of the time focus on the first killer’s brother Ricky (Eric Freeman). So for about half the running time we take a narrated look back at Ricky’s brother’s killings. Then he starts in on his own tale. He was adopted by a nice Jewish family that the orphanage hoped would set him on the right track, but Ricky just couldn’t resist the urge to punish the “naughty” people in the world. Eventually Ricky dons the Santa suit to finish the work his brother started.

The first half of the film was just as enjoyable, if not a bit more, than the original Silent Night Deadly Night. It plays out like a Cliff Notes version of the film punctuated by Eric Freeman and his incredible eyebrow acting, but more on that later. There’s no reason that the plot that later unfolds needed a basis in the first film, but if Lee Harry had to use the footage, he incorporated it well enough. The kills are all pretty cheesy and entertaining, and the hammy, terrible acting from Eric Freeman makes for some enjoyable watching. The “garbage day” scene, which has inspired several internet memes, is really a great example of what this film is, and that scene alone convinced me that Silent Night Deadly Night 2 was worth my time. I was really glad when the Christmas inspired mayhem finally started, and the film finished strong. By strong I mean silly, but silly in a really, really enjoyable way.

Now let’s talk a minute about Eric Freeman. Freeman and his expressive eyebrows only have a few other credits including an uncredited 1984 appearance in Children of the Corn and the 1989 film Murder Weapon with Sybil Danning where he was billed as Damon Charles. After one episode of the TV series Dangerous Curves in 1992, Freeman dropped off the map. Many people have tried to find him including director Lee Harry who wanted to involve him in the commentary track for the film’s last DVD release. For one reason or another, his whereabouts are completely unknown. Perhaps that’s the way he wants it. Maybe he’s embarrassed by the “garbage day” meme or the relentless reviews of Silent Night Deadly Night 2 that talk about his bad acting and bouncy, bushy brows. It’s really a shame. I’m sure folks would line up at horror conventions to pay 25 bucks a pop to get Eric Freeman inscribed on an 8 by 10 glossy. So if you’re out there Mr. Freeman, we kid, but it’s all done with love.

Now I usually go into a discussion of the supporting cast at this point, but there’s really no one to talk about in that department. With only 40 minutes of new footage in the film, they don’t really have any time to build anyone else up except Ricky. I did enjoy the short scenes with the shrink played by James Newman. He showed off enough quirks to provide some character, and it doesn’t surprise me that he still occasionally works as a character actor. What did surprise me was that his second role was in 1967 in the obscure spaghetti western Wanted Johnny Texas directed by Emimmo Salvi. He then took a little break, 20 years, before appearing in 1987’s Silent Night Deadly Night 2. There are two other notable faces in the film. First, Elizabeth Kaiten, who plays Ricky's short lived girlfriend, appeared in Friday the 13th Part 7, 1989’s Dr. Alien, and Vice Academy 3-6. Secondly character actor Frank Novak turns up as a Loan Shark. While he has one of those faces that you know you’ve seen but can’t quite place, lots of you folks saw him this past year as Henry Kissinger in Watchman.

Before I sign off, I want to take a short moment to talk about director Lee Harry. Harry never directed much before or since this film, and that’s kind of a shame. He did seem to have somewhat of an eye, and with what he was working with he did a commendable job making anything out of this film. From what I’ve read he has a good humor about Silent Night Deadly Night 2, and he knows exactly what caliber of film it is. For those of us who appreciate bad films for what they are, then this is one that should be on the shortlist of holiday favorites.

Silent Night Deadly Night 2 is not the cohesive film that the first film is, but the choppy clip show style is really part of the charm. Haven’t seen Part 1? No problem. Forgot what went on in it? No problem! Part 2 can solve that all for you and still have time for waggley eyebrows, “garbage day” and some good old fashioned axe wielding Santa action. At this time of the year everyone is busy running around getting last minute things done, and Silent Night Deadly Night 2 knows that you might not have time to watch a couple of Christmas horror films. So they manage to pack two films into one and leave you with a smile on your face, and that is anything but naughty.

Bugg Rating


Here's the trailer, I love it that all the scenes they show are from Silent Night Deadly Night.


Here's a rundown of the top 5 quotes from the film. I'm not sure if they're what I would have chosen (though "Red Car, good point" definitely would be one of them). the last quote is of course the infamous "Garbage Day"


Now the real must see in my opinion is this video, the Silent Night Deadly Night 2 Eyebrow montage. Check it out, and think about how jealous Leonard Nimoy must be, he can only raise one at a time.

9 comments:

  1. Seriously, the most awesomely bad Christmas inspired horror film ever made. It deserves to be played in the same heavy rotation as A Christmas Story and Christmas Vacation.

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  2. Oh wow his eyebrows are like 2 caterpillars trying to get it on.

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  3. Planet of Terror brings up a great point. Why isn't there a "21 Days of Silent Night Deadly Night 2" played on rotation during the holidays. It's B-S I tell 'ya!

    And Eric Freeman and his uber-brows rule the season. Just thought I'd get that off my chest.

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  4. I wonder if that eyebrow action is what knocked the small-town policeman's hat to Barney Fife levels of askewness.

    Excellent review of a film that never fails to make me so incredibly happy.

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  5. Thanks for the comments everyone.

    @ Planet of Terror and Geof- I agree there should be alternate marathons. I personally always favor a Black Christmas 1974 marathon, but Silent Night Deadly Night 2 would work as well.

    @ Emily- All I could think about was Mr. Fife when I saw that hat. Ricky was in no danger. Surely his gun didn't have any bullets in it.

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  6. There's a great indie theater out in Long Island doing a Silent Night/Gremlins double feature the day after xmas. That makes me smile.

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  7. I truly hope Eric will resurface, because he is loved the world over for this amazing performance. I mean, if you cant laugh at yourself..

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  8. I want to quote your post in my blog. It can?
    And you et an account on Twitter?

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  9. Anonymous, I have already answered this on another post. Again, if you link me where you are going to post I would agree. Otherwise no. Also I am not on twitter because I refuse to be a twit. Please identify yourself or in the future I will block your comments seeing as this is identical to your last comment.

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