Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 (1987)

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As seen from the ending of the original, Billy Caldwell’s younger brother is taking up the proverbial and literal ax to take on the abusive mother superior. And so we get this “sequel” — I put this in quotes because anyone who has seen this film knows that half the films running time consists of an abridged version of the first film! However, when the story proper picks up it gives us some of the most hilariously bad film making ever.

silent-night-deadly-night-2-13First time actor Eric Freeman plays as the grown up version of Ricky Caldwell, who is now institutionalized after the events of the first film and going on a Grand Theft Auto style killing spree.   Ricky is supposed to be a hard-as-nails psychopath and Freeman has the look to support the character (dude has mad gains) but his performance leaves much to be desired. The guy acts through his eyebrows.  If you made a drinking game out of each time he raises them, you’d die of alcohol poisoning.   The first half of the movie is the first film recut as Ricky is narrating the story to the shrink supposedly to avoid the electric chair.   After he finally gets done telling us what happened in the first film, we get to see Ricky’s life as a kid all the way up to where he is now and it’s quite the ride.

Ricky shares his brothers fear of Santa as he grows up in a foster home, which leads to him killing his adopted father, after which he walks to Earth like Cain in Kung Fu.  He has various misadventures during this time as he saves a woman from an abusive boyfriend by running him over with his jeep, then finds the love of his life who he finds out isn’t a virgin and is set off on a killing spree by her douchey ex-boyfriend.  This after-mentioned killing spree has become the stuff of internet legends as Ricky approaches a man taking out the trash and proclaims “GARBAGE DAY!” before shooting him in the chest.  After his life’s story is told Ricky manages to sneak up on the shrink in a room with just two tables and a chair, breaks out, dons the Santa suit and sets out after Mother Superior to finally deal out some payback for him and his brother. 

silent_night_deadly_night_2_4This movie could have been a classic slasher film if it had been done properly.  The studio didn’t want a sequel, so they hired two editors to re-cut the first film and release it as a sequel.  Which is freaking stupid.  And the editors realized that and decided to incorporate new footage on a shoe-string budget.  So they hired NC native Eric Freeman to play as Ricky and yelled at him to act as crazy as possible during the filming, when Freeman would much rather have downplayed the character.  It’s not entirely fair to blame Freeman for his over-acting eyebrows when you take what the poor guy had to go through into consideration.

When I was in sixth grade, I loved this stupid little movie and I still do.  The poster for the film is absolutely genius and capitalizes on the true crime craze that was going on back in the 80’s and makes the film seem much more serious and grim than it actually is.  Watching this film back in 1993, I  thought Ricky was the coolest guy ever, and when I watched the film 10 years later when it first hit DVD, I was embarrassed more than a little bit that I thought this was a good movie.  I forgave myself rather quickly though because this movie is a lot of fun, unlike Silent Night Deadly Night 3, which was boring and unwatchable.  The kills are inventive and we get a few nude scenes as well.  And Eric Freeman’s eyebrows are simply amazing, it’s like they are an entity unto themselves and should be top-billed over the actor himself.

I found the film in the $5 bin at Wal-Mart yesterday and re-watched it last night for the first time since it’s DVD release (it seems I revisit this film in 10 year intervals) and you know what?  This is still a funny movie, and I still like it.  Although a part of me wonders at what could have been if they had made a Ricky story that had an actual story and was straight up nasty like the first film, I’m cool with what we got here.  I’m glad the editors decided to put in new footage and left us with this horrible cult classic.

Interestingly, Freeman went on to star in some episodes of In Living Color and The Adventures of Superboy before ending his acting career.  I think under different circumstances his career trajectory could have been something like Micheal Rooker’s, if only they had let the poor guy act.

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