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"Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 4: Intiation" is one strange movie. In
fact, I don't think I've seen anything quite like it before. And I've
seen a lot of films. It is about a Los Angeles journalist who is
investigating a woman's death around Christmastime. The woman
spontaneously combusted and leaped from the top of a building downtown.
While asking the owner of a bookstore (Maude Adams) within the building
about the strange death, she is lead into a sacrificial cult of modern
day witches that plan on using her for one of their sacrificial
ceremonies on Christmas Eve.
Take elements from "Rosemary's Baby" and throw in some nasty monster creatures and feminist witches in a Christmas setting, and you've got this movie. I swear, this movie is one of the weirdest movies I think I've seen. There are a lot of strange bugs and creatures throughout the film that are really disgusting. Bizarre events and sequences take place throughout the movie. This film has pretty decent acting, Maude Adams is the best of the cast as the head of the cult, and the special effects are pretty cheap but sufficient. Since it's Los Angeles and there's no snow, the Christmastime mood isn't really set here, but the film didn't really have anything to do the Christmas anyway. And the sequence where Ricky attacks Kim and her boyfriend in the apartment was pretty well-done.
This is the only "Silent Night, Deadly Night" film that I've seen so far, but still I'd probably only recommend this to hardcore fans of the "Silent Night, Deadly Night" series, and from what I know this sequel is unrelated to the other films. It's entertaining and has some good moments, but it's a little far out there. I liked it though, oddly enough. 6/10.
Tired of the same old boring Christmas flicks that they show every year?
Then this is the movie for you! Horror-meister Brian Yuzna (Society, Dentist
1 and 2), delivers the goods in this chilling entry into the SN,DN series. A
creepy story, gruesome FX, and an over-the-top performance by Clint Howard
(Ice Cream Man) are just a few of the highlights. Also look for a cameo by
Reggie Bannister of Phantasm fame. Still waiting for Yuzna's "the
'Silent Night, Deadly Night 3' ended the "Santa Claus Killer"
storyline, but for whatever reason(s) someone decided a 4th was
necessary, but where could they take the series from there? This is
where fans of 1-3 are divided, for 4 has very little relation to it's
predecessors. In fact the only links are: 1. The title, 2. It's a
horror movie, and 3. It's set around Christmas time. Some, like myself,
welcomed the change while others condemned it and called this an
attempt to cash in on the franchise. To each his own.
Pros: Intelligent script. Good performances from every cast member. Excellent effects work by Screaming Mad George. Where is he today? Some good surreal/creepy imagery and moments, especially the ritual scenes. A decent score. A bit of twisted humor. Engrossing and pretty ambitious.
Cons: Some of the actions of the coven, in other words the ritual scenes and other moments, are well done, but don't make much sense and may be a bit too out there for most mainstream viewers. Some things that were effective the first couple times feel repetitive after a while. Gets a bit convoluted in the second half.
Final thoughts: Huh? Was what I thought after seeing this utterly bizarre horror flick, from the man who gave us Bride of 'Re-Animator' and 'Return of the Living Dead 3,' for the first time. But over the years I've learned to really appreciate it, especially for it's difference from it's predecessors. My advice to anyone who's seen 1-3 and not this one is, when you do, don't expect the same thing and might enjoy it.
My rating: 3.5/5
A female reporter investigates the death of a woman who, on fire, leapt off
of a building to her death. Her investigation leads her to discover the
existence of a strange cult dedicated Egyptian god Isis--and the cult wants
her as its new queen. While the plot is virtually unrelated to the first 3
films, SNDN4 is a surprisingly effective gross-out thriller. There are a few
scares and gruesome moments here and there and the visual effects are
terrific and, as we've come to expect from Screaming mad George, different.
Both The script and acting are unimaginative but it's good horror fun from
the Yuzna team that we've all come to love and it makes a great holiday
family......err, horror film.
My rating for "Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation"-8/10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When I was 14 I went through a phase when I needed to watch as many
horror flicks as possible.Initiation: Silent Night, Deadly Night 4
(1990),with Allyce Beasley,was one of them.I have read almost all of
the comments here, and I find them all pretty accurate--even if
severely divergent. The votes are very polarized--like the
appreciations in the comments. Both the positions are true. On one
hand, the movie is a mess, junk out of junk, utter garbage;on the
other, it is,on the very contrary,quite fascinating and involving.
It made a strong impression on me:it was the ultimate apotheosis of the loathsome,the heights of the hideousness, with the ugliest means: an overflowing of disgust, the trepidation of the hideous; and the lowest level of the horror,as well.
When I have seen it, I was very repulsed by the numberless cockroaches and creeping creatures--and by Mme. Beasley (whom I knew already from the Willis TV series) as well.
The polar assessments are equally justified.
The film has this uncanny atmosphere, obtained with the most brutal and gross means. For the adolescent I was, this played quite effective.
The second in a trio of Brian Yuzna-directed early-90s sequels to 80s horror classics, this one stands out - as particularly uninspired. Bride of Re-Animator was a decent direct sequel, continuing the story where it ended in Re-Animator, while Return of the Living Dead III surprisingly re-animated a left-for-dead franchise with a new story bearing only some connections to the original (and missing its humor). Both of them were B-movies, sure, but they had good ideas, the weird make-up effects that Society, Yuzna's freaky debut, made him known for, and lots of B-charm of their own. Why Yuzna even bothered with the trite SNDN series I don't know - probably it started with a late-night call like this: " Well, that last Silent Night Deadly Night movie did OK, so if you have anything which we could somehow distribute under that franchise, we'll do it." The only thing that connects this one to the others is the character of Ricky (this time it's the great Clint Howard in one of his lamest performances) who's shot-to-goo brain has healed remarkably well in just one year. Well, the bum he plays may as well be named Ron or Gerald - and probably was before they tried to make some unnecessary connection with the SNDN series. The story is uninteresting from the start, the acting is bland (the unknown Neith Hunter probably got the lead because she was willing to do the slime-trenched nude scenes) and yes, there's Yuzna's trademark scenes involving Screaming Mad George's body melt effects which are fun as always, but they are few and short, hardly worth the wait. As there's hardly any Christmas connections either, this one doesn't even qualify for a Trashmas video night in the holidays.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The producers behind SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT III, return for yet
another entry in this popular series. However with Ricky Caldwell the
"Killer Santa" from Parts 2 & 3 & his brother Billy from the original
now dead, just how would a fourth film ever happen? When BRIAN YUZNA
was tapped as a director, fans figured they would be in for something
really special, since this was the very man who brought us the
fantastic SOCIETY & RE-ANIMATOR films, SNDN 4 looked set to be the best
of the franchise, however what fans got when the film arrived, proved
to be anything but. Jettisoning everything except the title, SNDN 4:
INITIATION, opens with a young woman falling to her death while set
ablaze at the top of a roof in the downtown core one night. But not
before her screams are heard by a odd ball named Ricky (played by CLINT
HOWARD who does not however play the same killer Ricky seen in the
first two sequels) Howard himself is fun to watch as the only male
member helping the cult (in fact, he's really the only good thing this
film has going in terms of actors & characters). The story of the
woman's violent & odd death, attracts the attention of an overlooked
wannabe reporter named KIM, who works on the classified ads & calender
in a mostly male dominated newspaper firm where she works. Convinced
that the women died via "Spontnious Human Combustion" she decides that
asking for the job to report on the incident will get her nowhere, she
decides to investigate the incident herself without permission from her
boss, which leads her to meeting the local librarian named FIMA, whom
takes an instant liking to Kim, which is bad news, since Fima is the
head of a feminist cult, dedicated to worshipping an ancient deity.
Soon thereafter Kim is plagued by visions of giant cockroaches, has
bugs invading her apartment & wherever else she goes & is getting
surprisingly ill. It turns out that Kim has been chosen by the cult as
their new queen & if she refuses to join, the consequences will prove
deadly. Yes SNDN 4 is a stand alone film, as you could tell from the
plot, in fact it's fair to say it's the HALLOWEEN III of the series.
The film has nothing whatsoever to do with the Christmas season period!
I mean it is set at Christmas time, but could have been set during the
summer or fall & it wouldn't have made a difference, or effected it's
plot in anyway, what's more, the film has a dull looking made for TV
look & feel to the whole thing that doesn't help much either. The film
touches upon many themes present in Yuzna's other films, that being
"bodily horror" such moments include Kim giving birth to a huge, slimy,
slug like monstrosity in one scene & Clint Howard getting his guts
eaten out by hordes of them, as well as Kims fingers wrapping
themselves together & melting themselves together in some pretty good
make-up effects courtesy of special effects wizard SCREAMING MAD
GEORGE. It's a good thing SNDN 4 carries these scenes, because the
bloody carnage is almost non existent, save for one scene where Clint
Howard savagely bites the ankle of Kim's boyfriend & then bloodily
stabs him, the rest of the film remains relatively bloodless & SNDN 4
is easily in the top weakest films Yuzna has done in his career &
nowhere near as good as his other works. The characters are bland, the
story goes seemingly nowhere & is very dull, despite it's many weird
elements, which includes Kim set to be raped by oddball Ricky while
they are surrounded by a cult in an weird mash-up of ROSEMARY'S BABY &
A CLOCKWORK ORANGE & the whole film feels padded to the max & is
nowhere near as interesting, scary or exciting as it should be. The all
female cult is anything but interesting, threatening or scary & hardly
what one would call menacing. Heck even the lead heroine is dull as can
be. In fact the film is arguably the worst in the SNDN series, at least
the other films had something to make them watchable, this one has
nothing at all to hold ones interest or make them care either way about
the plot of characters. Perhaps Yuzna knew all of this in
pre-production & crammed in the scenes & bodily horror moments
mentioned to help make up for a story that he knew just didn't work.
It's to bad his venture into the SNDN series had to be such a dud,
since his roster of films usually feature some highly enjoyable
moments, full of good gory treats for horror fans. His RETURN OF THE
LIVING DEAD sequel & the other films mentioned above, are a fascinating
mash up of twisted sexuality & over the top gory set pieces, which
tells me the film should have turned out a lot better than what it did.
Like all the sequels that followed the original film, the producers
have chosen California as it's stories setting, robbing the film (like
it's first two sequels & the one following after this) of that snowy
Christmas setting & feel. Look for PHANTASM star REGGIE BANNISTER in a
bit part. Again considering the talent involved both in front & behind
the camera that should have put the previous entries to shame & been
the best one the series had to offer, but when the film ends, it leaves
one wondering just what happened & how what is arguably the most
talented of film-makers, effects crew & cast to ever grace a horror
film, wound up turning it into such a dud. Strictly for die hard fans
of the series. Some of the same characters returned in the sequel that
is very loosely connected to this, SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT 5: THE
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The first Silent Night, Deadly Night is an average slasher movie with a few
nice touches, but is overall a pretty forgettable film. Silent Night, Deadly
Night 2 has the last 10-15 minutes going for it, but after about 70 minutes
of boredom it doesn't help much. Silent Night, Deadly Night 3 is much better
than the previous two and is very entertaining. Now, after 3 films that were
all part of the same story, Brian Yuzna and Woody Keith have brought us one
of the most bizzare part 4s this side of Demons 4: The Church and Texas
Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation.
!!!POSSIBLE SPOILERS!!!This one opens up with a woman who falls off the roof of a bookstore covered in flames. Kim, a woman who wants the perfect story so she can finally be a reporter sees this on the news and starts looking for clues. She talks to the owner of the bookstore, Fima, but gets no answers. However, is Fima hiding something? Kim and Fima become fast friends, but strange things happen to Kim. Weird visions, bugs, and a cult haunt Kim. She learns that the woman in the beginning was Fima's daughter and Fima wants Kim to take her place as her new one. On Christmas Eve Kim is about to perform the final part of the ritual, but changes her mind and must battle the cult to survive.
Good story, effects, and great acting. ***1/2 out of *****.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Reporter Kim(Neith Hunter in an awful performance), tired of working
the Classified section and Calender at her male-dominating newspaper,
decides to follow the unusual suicide of a young woman whose body was
found charred from the waist down. What she walks into is a coven of
strange witches led by Fima(Maud Adams)who wishes to use Kim, through
various oddball witchcraftian concoctions, to bring back her
daughter(..who indeed is the burning suicidal girl who took the plunge
from the top of the apartment complex). The witches have this belief
that Kim can rid herself of the parasitic males who have "ruled" over
her by carrying out the ceremony of "Isis" where she would sacrifice
the brother of her lover(..and co-worker)Hank(Tommy Hinkley). Kim is
reluctant to do any of the things Fima and her co-horts desire and
often faces bizarre hallucinations as big bugs(cock-roaches mainly)and
larvaic worms rear their ugly heads everywhere she frequents. The
biggest bug she can't rid herself of is ogre-like Ricky(Clint Howard
playing his usually disgusting troll who Yuzna embellishes by
photographing him with imaginative angles)who is the coven's
gopher/soldier doing their bidding so that their ceremonies and such
get accomplished. Will Kim be able to escape the clutches of the
witches? Or, will she suffer the same fate as Fima's daughter?
Your usual Yuzna weirdness. Lots of nasty bugs grown to massive size to give those who dislike them the creeps thanks to Screamin' Mad George's workshop. Hell, even Kim's spaghetti "breathes" at one point! There's a grotesque scene where Kim begins to morph into a worm and really violent scenes where Ricky attacks people such as Kim's boyfriend Hank with a steak knife or like choking Hank's father with Christmas lights. Oh, and Yuzna makes sure to show us why this film is in the series as a fourth film(..other than merely exploiting the title for his own purposes)by showing an excerpt of the previous sequel where the blind girl dreams of being nearly attacked by the killer Santa. The film really is merely an exercise in disgusting effects with a spit of witchcraft thrown in for good measure. One talent Yuzna shows is how to express creepy facial expressions out of rust on doors and through tree branches as they often form faces. Phantasm fans might dig the minor role Reggie Bannister has as Eli, the man in charge of the successful newspaper Kim wishes to become a reporter at.
I'm a huge Brian Yuzna fan, it all began after watching the classic
This fourth installment of the moderately entertaining Silent Night Deadly Night franchise is far better than the previous three. Granted I was disappointed when Santa never made an appearance in this film, but Yuzna ands ingredients that had been lacking from the original three films.
Screaming Mad George's effects are always first rate, the giant bugs were marvelous and gross at the same time. How does he do it? Lead actress Neith Hunter is a very capable actress, and much like other Yuzna flicks(Re-Animator's Barbara Crampton & Progeny's Jillian McWhirter) isn't afraid to showcase some skin here and there.
I absolutely hate Ron Howard's talentless brother Clint, but much like Tori Spelling in Sol Goode, his minuscule talents were suited for the role.
Go ahead and rent it if your a fan of decent low budget horror flicks.
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