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Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

1:32 | Trailer
Little Billy witness his parents getting killed by Santa after being warned by his senile grandpa that Santa punishes those who are naughty. Now Billy is 18, and out of the orphanage, and he has just become Santa, himself.


Paul Caimi (based on a story by), Michael Hickey





Cast overview, first billed only:
Lilyan Chauvin ... Mother Superior
Gilmer McCormick Gilmer McCormick ... Sister Margaret
Toni Nero ... Pamela
Robert Brian Wilson ... Billy at 18
Britt Leach ... Mr. Sims
Nancy Borgenicht Nancy Borgenicht ... Mrs. Randall
H.E.D. Redford H.E.D. Redford ... Captain Richards
Danny Wagner Danny Wagner ... Billy at 8
Linnea Quigley ... Denise
Leo Geter ... Tommy
Randy Stumpf ... Andy
Will Hare ... Grandpa
Tara Buckman ... Mother (Ellie)
Geoff Hansen Geoff Hansen ... Father (Jim) (as Jeff Hansen)
Charles Dierkop ... Killer Santa


After seeing his parents murdered in front of him a young boy spends most of his life in an orphanage where he is abused by the mother superior. When he becomes a teenager, he gets a job as a toy store Santa. When seeing two people having sex in the store brings on flashbacks of his parents, his turmoil leads him to become a Santa serial killer. Written by devint-16816

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


You've made it through Halloween, now try and survive Christmas See more »


Horror | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


When the film was released widely, angered parents picketed theaters where it was being screened, and asked oncoming patrons to sign petitions to have the film removed from theaters. Two weeks later, the film had been withdrawn. See more »


Andy confronts Billy on the change in his attitude during the holiday season, since he began working at the store "two months ago", which presumes Billy started working in the summer or fall. The film established earlier that Billy was hired in the spring. See more »


Grandpa: You scared, ain't ya? You should be! Christmas Eve is the scariest damn night of the year!
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Alternate Versions

A later version released on video contains an extra 3 minutes featuring more gore than the theatrical version. See more »


Referenced in Lost Boys: The Tribe (2008) See more »


Santa's Watching
Written by Morgan Ames and Doug Thiele
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User Reviews

I hope you haven't been naughty.
26 December 2006 | by lost-in-limboSee all my reviews

After visiting his grandfather in a mental institution, the five year-old Billy Chapman is told by him that Santa punish bad kids. On their way home they stop the car for a man dressed up in a Santa costume, but the guy shoots his father and rapes and kills his mother, while Billy watches. Years later he lives in a Catholic orphanage and still this horrific incident haunts him, but the firm mother superior wants him to overcome it with harsh results. Now Billy is an older teen working at a toy store, but when the original Santa Claus comes down ill. Billy replaces him and slowly he cracks with him wandering around the town on Christmas Eve punishing those who have been bad.

Deck the halls with bloody slaughtering, Fa la la la la, la la la la. Tis the season to be horrified, Fa la la la la, la la la la. Now this slasher knows how to spread the Christmas joy! "Silent Night, Deadly Night" is more renown for the controversy ("The movie that went to far!…") it really stirred up and if it wasn't for that aspect. Probably wouldn't have made too much of a dent in the rehashed holiday cycle featured in many slashers at the time. "Black Christmas" still remains the best of the festive season features. What kinda makes this rough item above ordinary is that it's a perverse little shocker that's grimy and mean-spirited. Obviously the makers have something against the sentiment of Christmas and the sneeringly dark humour can get wickedly uneasy. The lumbering opening half of the film really does try to development the character's fatigue state of mind, just before he goes psychotically insane. Sure, that established staple is nothing new, especially in slashers. But these moments weren't bad and are terribly exploited, but while the old practical material is given a revamp of the wonderfully jolly and family-friendly Saint Nick turning into a relentlessly whack-out killer would be every parent's nightmare. When the traumatised Santa hit's the streets for some punishing is when it falls into the conventional methods (despite it using Christmas symbols to murder his victims) and predictable hysteria. The deadpan shocks and suspense is telegraphed without much trouble and it can get laughably tacky in its senseless mayhem with a vapidly rushed conclusion. The shattering death scenes are very callous and there's an extremely seedy touch lining it. The music score is a wayward, racket of cues that only add even more to the unsettling nature. Performances range from very static (Robert Brian Wilson as the old Billy turned Santa killer), dominating (the Mother Superior played by Lilyan Chauvan) and to livingly short (the gratuitously topless Linnea Quigley chips in as a bubbly victim and a memorable Will Hare as the very scornfully nutty grandfather).

A drab, lowbrow holiday feature that's has Santa Claus coming to town in nothing more than your amusing cut and dried horror slasher with a somewhat baffling reputation.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

9 November 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Slayride See more »


Box Office


$1,065,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,432,800, 11 November 1984

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (uncut) | (video)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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