Silent Night, Deadly Night (franchise)

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Silent Night, Deadly Night DVD set.jpg
Silent Night, Deadly Night Parts 3–5 DVD set
Distributed byTriStar Pictures
LIVE Entertainment
Anchor Bay Films
Release date
Running time
531 minutes (total)
CountryUnited States

Silent Night, Deadly Night is an American horror franchise consisting of six feature films, action figures, clothing, stockings, Christmas ornaments, and other memorabilia.[1] The first film in the series, Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984), originally titled Slay Ride, tells the story of Billy, a young man who experiences a psychotic break and goes on a murder spree dressed as Santa Claus. The film received theatrical distribution from TriStar Pictures, but was pulled from theaters in November 1984 after a series of protests against the film.

The second film, Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 (1987) continues the story of Billy's younger brother, Ricky, who also goes on a murder spree, and is largely made up of flashbacks featuring footage from the first film. The third film, Better Watch Out! released direct-to-video (as were the next two films), concludes the Billy/Ricky storyline, and follows Ricky as he stalks a blind clairvoyant woman on her way to visit her grandmother for Christmas Eve. The fourth film, Initiation (1990), departs from the killer Santa Claus storyline, centering on a feminist cult in Los Angeles, California who are planning a ritual sacrifice; directed by Brian Yuzna, the film features special effects by Screaming Mad George. The fifth film, The Toy Maker (1991), stars Mickey Rooney as a toy store proprietor whose brand of toys come to life and murder their owners.

In 2012, a loose remake of the original film, entitled Silent Night, was released by Anchor Bay Films, starring Jaime King and Malcolm McDowell. It was the first film to receive a theatrical release since Part 2 in 1987.


Year Film Director Writer(s) Producer(s)
1984 Silent Night, Deadly Night Charles Sellier, Jr. Paul Caimi (story) and Michael Hickey Ira Barmak
1987 Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 Lee Harry Lee Harry and Joseph H. Earle Lawrence Appelbaum
1989 Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out! Monte Hellman Monte Hellman and Rex Weiner Lawrence Appelbaum
1990 Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation Brian Yuzna Woody Keith Richard N. Gladstein
1991 Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker Martin Kitrosser Martin Kitrosser and Brian Yuzna Richard N. Gladstein and Brian Yuzna
2012 Silent Night Steven C. Miller Jayson Rothwell Shara Kay, Phyllis Laing, and Richard Saperstein


In the original Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984), five-year-old Billy Chapman is on a road trip with his parents and little brother to visit his elderly grandfather on Christmas Eve. After leaving the nursing home, Billy witnesses his parents get murdered on a rural road by a criminal dressed in a Santa Claus suit. Placed in an orphanage and separated from his infant brother, Billy is abused by the Mother Superior (Lilyan Chauvin) and grows increasingly disturbed. As an adult, Billy gets a job working at a toy store, where the holiday season triggers post-traumatic stress disorder over his parents' death. He embarks on a murder spree dressed in a Santa suit on Christmas Eve, and arrives at the orphanage he grew up in to enact revenge on the Mother Superior; he is stopped by Sister Margaret, a sympathetic nun, and is killed by the police in front of his younger brother, Ricky, who is now in the orphanage himself.

In Part 2 (1987), Ricky, now 18 years old, has been incarcerated in an insane asylum for murdering his girlfriend and her ex-boyfriend, suffering from similar psychosis due to a traumatic upbringing. The film utilizes flashbacks, integrating footage from the original film to build the narrative. While relaying his story to a psychiatrist, Ricky escapes from the asylum and murders a Salvation Army Santa Claus, stealing his costume. He seeks out the Mother Superior, now living in a private residence, to avenge Billy. He succeeds where Billy failed years before and kills the Mother Superior in her own house. He is shot by the police, but survives his wounds. Better Watch Out! (1989) picks up six years later, after Ricky (Bill Moseley) has been in a coma from his wounds; a transparent dome has been affixed to his head so repairs can be made to his skull. Laura, a clairvoyant blind woman, has been attempting to make contact with Ricky through experimental sessions with a doctor. On Christmas Eve, Ricky awakens from his coma and breaks out of the hospital. En route to visit her grandmother on Christmas Eve alongside her brother and his girlfriend, Laura feels someone is following them. They arrive at their grandmother's house, but find it empty. Laura has visions from her dead grandmother, who has been murdered by Ricky, and the three are ambushed by him. Police eventually arrive, finding Laura to be the only survivor, aside from an unnamed second victim.

Initiation (1990) deviates from the "killer Santa" plot, following a Los Angeles journalist, Kim Levitt (Neith Hunter) who finds herself enmeshed with a witch cult who worship Lilith. Fima (Maud Adams), a bookstore owner, is the leader of the cult, who plans to draw Kim in and initiate her with a ritual sacrifice on Christmas Eve with the help of Ricky (Clint Howard), a transient who works as her henchman. However, during the attempted sacrifice, Kim murders Fima. The Toy Maker (1991) also follows an unrelated plot, in which a young boy named Derek meets a mysterious toy store owner, Joe Petto (Mickey Rooney) whose toys are designed to kill. Sarah, Derek's mother, manages to kill Joe's son, Pino, who is revealed to actually be an animatronic toy himself. Kim and Ricky make cameo appearances in the film.

Silent Night (2012) is a loose remake of the original film, and follows Aubrey Bradimore (Jaime King), a police officer in a small town who is hunting a serial killer dressed in a Santa Claus suit who has embarked on a killing spree on Christmas Eve. Her supervisor, Sheriff Cooper (Malcolm McDowell) helps her track the killer, who has murdered a series of the town's residents, including children. Aubrey is able to corner the killer inside the police station, and kills him with a flamethrower. It is revealed that the killer, Ronald, had gone mad over the death of his father, a serial killer who was shot to death by Aubrey's father, who was also a police officer.

Box office[edit]

Only two out of the five films from the original series run were released theatrically.[2] Silent Night, Deadly Night was acquired for distribution by TriStar Pictures in 1984, and was released theatrically on November 9, 1984.[3] However, the film received harsh criticism from the public,[4] who believed it to be an attack on Christmas. Protests at theaters showing the film occurred throughout the nation; at its East coast premiere at the Interboro Quad Theater in The Bronx, New York City, over one-hundred picketers stood outside in protest of the film, singing Christmas carols and holding signs.[3] Though the film was a financial success, TriStar decided to pull advertisements for the film and scrapped a planned theatrical run on the West coast.[5]

Film U.S. release date Budget Box office revenue Reference
United States Foreign Worldwide
1. Silent Night, Deadly Night November 9, 1984 $1,000,000 $2,491,460 [6]
2. Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 April 10, 1987 $250,000 $154,323 [7]
3. Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out! November 17, 1989 dagger [8]
4. Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation November 21, 1990 dagger [9]
5. Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker November 6, 1991 dagger [10]
6. Silent Night November 30, 2012 $14,567 $100,065 [11][12]
List indicator(s)
  • A light grey cell indicates the information is not available for the film
  • dagger indicates direct-to-video release


Death Waltz music label released a double vinyl LP of the original film's soundtrack, featuring the original song from the film, "Santa's Watching". The vinyl LP was limited to 400 copies worldwide.[13]

Home media[edit]

VHS and laserdisc[edit]

The original film was released on VHS and laserdisc[14] through LIVE Video,[15] as were Parts 25.[16][17][18]

DVD and Blu-ray[edit]

In 2002, Anchor Bay Entertainment released a double-feature DVD of Silent Night, Deadly Night and Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 on a double-sided disc.[19] This release featured an extended cut of the original film, with inserts of footage that had been excised from the original theatrical cut of the film; in 2012, it was reissued by Anchor Bay as two separate discs.[20]

On December 1, 2009, Parts 35 were released on DVD in North America for the first time in a three-disc set by Lionsgate, who had acquired the licensing rights from LIVE Video after its dissolution.[21] The three films were presented in their 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio.[21]

Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984) made its Blu-ray premiere through Anchor Bay Entertainment in on September 16, 2014.[20] In September 2017, it was announced that Scream Factory would be releasing a collector's edition Blu-ray of the film, featuring new bonus material; additionally, a limited 2,000-unit run will feature a complementary Billy action figure, as well as a poster, due for release December 5, 2017.[22]

Silent Night (2012) was released on Blu-ray and DVD on December 4, 2012 during the film's limited theatrical and VOD release.[23] Anchor Bay also released a double feature of Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984) and Silent Night (2012) on Blu-ray on May 12, 2015.[24]

On December 5, 2017, Scream Factory released Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984) on Blu-ray in a two-disc collector's edition featuring new bonus material and a 4K remaster from the original film negative.[25]


In December 2014, the merchandise company Fright Rags released a gift pack based on the original Silent Night, Deadly Night; items included a stocking, a Christmas ornament, a T-shirt, a Christmas jumper, and a gift box.[1]

An action figure of Billy was released by the brand Retrobrand in December 2013.[26] On December 5, 2017, Scream Factory released a limited edition action figure of Billy holding his double-bit axe, which was sold exclusively through their website as an accompaniment to their new Blu-ray release of the original film.[25] This action figure, which was also paired with a poster, was limited to 2,000 units.[25]


  1. ^ a b Anderson, Derek (December 3, 2014). "Fright Rags Unwraps 30th Anniversary Silent Night, Deadly Night Shirts". Daily Dead. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
  2. ^ Silent Night, Deadly Night and Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 received theatrical distribution; however, beginning with Part 3, the films were released direct-to-video through Live Home Entertainment, which was later acquired by Lionsgate.
  3. ^ a b Rockoff 2011, p. 156.
  4. ^ Muir 2012, p. 412.
  5. ^ Rockoff 2011, p. 157.
  6. ^ "Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 29, 2016.
  7. ^ Collins, Brian (December 21, 2010). "Terror Tuesday: The SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT Films". Birth Movies Death. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
  8. ^ "Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out!". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
  9. ^ "Silent Night, Deadly Nigh 4: Initiation". Moviefone. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  10. ^ "Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker (1991)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
  11. ^ "Silent Night (2012)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
  12. ^ "Silent Night (2012)". The Numbers. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
  13. ^ Squires, John (November 12, 2014). "Exclusive: Death Waltz Recording Co. Releasing 30th Anniversary Silent Night, Deadly Night Vinyl Soundtrack". Dread Central. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  14. ^ "The Laser Disc Newsletter" (161–172). 1998: 21.
  15. ^ Silent Night, Deadly Night (VHS)|format= requires |url= (help). LIVE Home Entertainment. 1987.
  16. ^ Squires, John (December 23, 2014). "30th Anniversary Silent Night, Deadly Night Retrospective: Part 2". Dread Central. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
  17. ^ "Audio Video Review Digest". 1 (1–2). Gale Research. 1990: 245.
  18. ^ Bowker's Complete Video Directory. 1. R.R. Bowker Company. 1993. p. 923.
  19. ^ McKelvey, John W. (April 28, 2015). "Controversial Blus: Silent Night, Deadly Night: an Upconvert? (DVD/ Blu-ray Comparison)". DVD Exotica. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
  20. ^ a b Long, Mike (December 3, 2012). "Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)/Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 (1987)". DVD Sleuth. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
  21. ^ a b "Buy SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT - 3-DISC SET - DVD". Lionsgate Shop. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
  22. ^ "Silent Night, Deadly Night [Deluxe Limited Edition with Exclusive Action Figure]". Scream Factory. Retrieved September 9, 2017.
  23. ^ "Silent Night". Retrieved December 30, 2016.
  24. ^ "Silent Night, Deadly Night / Silent Night Blu-ray". Blu-ray. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
  25. ^ a b c "Silent Night, Deadly Night (Collector's Edition)". Scream Factory. Archived from the original on September 8, 2017. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  26. ^ Klenthur, Herner (December 24, 2013). "Silent Night 'Billy' Action Figure From Retroband". Retrieved January 9, 2017.

Works cited[edit]

  • Muir, John Kenneth (2012). Horror Films of the 1980s. 1. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-786-47298-7.
  • Rockoff, Adam (2011). Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film, 1978-1986. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-78646-932-1.

External links[edit]