31 Days of Nightmares -- Silent Night, Deadly Night & Willow Creek

31 Days of Nightmares — Silent Night, Deadly Night & Willow Creek

A slasher classic and a movie so bad it wouldn’t even be fun on Mystery Science Theater.

Silent Night, Deadly Night

I’d never seen this exploitation classic before, although I love the idea of scary Christmas movies. Are there any creepy, supernatural Christmas horror movies, or just slashers like this one and Black Christmas?

This is interesting because it’s a very linear plot that explores the creation of a serial killer, from a terrifying talk with his crazy grandpa, watching his parents murdered by a guy in a Santa suit, and a childhood with a sadistic nun who only amplifies and fuels the growing madness in the poor kid’s head. Probably half the movie is the setup, and it makes you feel deeply sympathetic for the kid. Then, when he’s confronted with Christmas and made to dress up as a department store Santa as a young man, the irony is so over the top it’s actually kind of funny.

Then he starts his murder spree, and it’s somewhat boring. There’s little of the tension and suspense that makes Carpenter’s Halloween such a classic, and the kid chopping people with an axe and mumbling “Punishment,” is, again, more funny than scary. The gore effects are mediocre, although the kid who gets decapitated while sledding was pretty good. If not for the mildly controversial juxtaposition of Christmas and murder, this one would probably be all but forgotten.

Willow Creek

Found footage about a couple searching for Bigfoot, directed by Bobcat Goldthwaite. Sorry friends, this movie is awful. It’s 45 minutes of an annoying couple driving around talking to boring people, then 45 minutes of the two of them sitting in a tent. Seriously, there is a static shot of two people sitting in a tent at night whispering to each other or just looking around with vaguely frightened looks on their faces that lasts almost half an hour. Half an hour! I don’t know if anyone could stay awake to the end, but if you do, it somehow manages to make no sense and also be entirely predictable. There isn’t even enough here to hatewatch and make fun of with friends.