Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 (Yes, just Pt. 2)


Lawrence Applebaum Productions

Ricky Chapman (Eric Freeman) furiously yells at Dr. Bloom on a set that looks like the interior of an Irvington classroom.

Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 is a mess of a slasher film directed by Lee Harry. Originally intended as a low-budget re-edit of the first film to pass off as a sequel, Harry insisted on shooting new scenes for the movie. The movie has a 25% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a generally poor reception from the public. Despite this poor showing, it has become a cult classic among some groups. The movie follows Ricky Chapman, a serial killer who dresses up as Santa Claus and attempts to kill the Mother Superior of his former orphanage, following through on his late brother’s plan.

In the film, Ricky’s parents were killed by a man dressed as Santa Claus when Ricky was just a baby. Ricky and his brother Billy go to an orphanage, where the Mother Superior tells them naughty people must be punished. Traumatic experiences in the orphanage, combined with their parents’ death, cause PTSD in Billy, who later ends up going on a killing spree, almost killing the Mother Superior before a police officer shoots him dead. Years later, these traumatic experiences cause Ricky to undergo a very similar transformation, with the same goal of killing the Mother Superior. 

The first 70 minutes take place in a ward in a mental institution, where psychiatrist Dr. Henry Bloom interviews Ricky about his life. The film spends its first forty minutes recapping everything that happened in the first movie as a series of flashbacks Ricky relates to Dr. Bloom. Most of this footage is pulled from the first film about Ricky’s brother, wasting much screen time. Afterwards, the film takes viewers through another 30 minutes of flashbacks, this time from Ricky’s personal life, before finally spending less than 15 minutes in the present. In other words, 80% of the film consists of flashbacks. This decision lessens the horror and decreases the overall appeal of the film. Most of these flashbacks appear to exist for the sole purpose of boosting the film’s runtime from 45 minutes to a 90-minute feature. This questionable structure compromises the film’s plot. Due to all the flashbacks, I could never feel really engaged with the story. As soon as the film drew me in, the flashback would end, leaving me feeling detached from the general plot.

Aside from the structure, other aspects of this film are equally questionable. The director seems to be overly fond of shots that slowly pan from an actor’s feet to their head. Perhaps this technique also boosts runtime. Eric Freeman’s portrayal of Ricky Chapman seems over-the-top. According to IMDb, his eyebrows move up and down 130 times throughout the duration of the movie. Additionally, not one, not two, but four different murderous Santas make appearances throughout the film, making it difficult to maintain suspension of disbelief. 

Furthermore, the soundtrack is not fitting for a horror film—a ringtone motif with no real purpose makes an appearance every so often, and the melodies are often confusing and feel incomplete. The score is too saturated to be effective.

Overall, the strange premise, terrible structure, and flawed overall composition of the film turn it into a rambling mess worthy of its 25% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Please do not watch this film unless you enjoy lengthy recaps, bad acting, and a senseless amount of murdering.