December 19, 2013

Movie Review: Silent Night, Deadly Night III - Better Watch Out (1989)

Way back in 1984 a little movie arrived in theaters that caused such an uproar that it got itself yanked out of theaters. It was condemned by Siskel and Ebert, denounced by Leonard Maltin, and picketed at theaters by concerned parents. Despite all odds, it has survived and garnered itself not only a cult following, but a handful of sequels (including one that features Mickey Rooney!). The movie in question is Silent Night, Deadly Night, a movie about a little boy scared by his grandfather and warped by holiday happenstance into a killer out to punish the naughty. I am not here to discuss the original, although it is an absolute blast, but Part III, subtitled Better Watch Out. And I haven't even seen part 2!

The first movie centers on Billy Caldwell, the warped young man who took to the streets in a Santa suit to punish the naughty. It did not end well for him and the sequel sees his younger brother, Ricky, take up the twisted mantle. The second film left Ricky presumed dead, but as we all know in slasher series, it does not matter, they will find a way to make you relevant.

As this second sequel gets under way we see a young girl get out of bed in a pure white room and approach a man on a hospital bed wearing a glass dome over his exposed brain (yes, you read that right). He wakes up and begins chasing her around. Santa Claus shows up and appears to help her escape. She then sits on his lap and begins to ask for Christmas gifts before he tries to stab her. She then awakens screaming in a medical facility. The girl is named Laura (Samantha Scully) and she is a blind psychic. The doctor thinks he can use her abilities to connect with, you guessed it, Ricky Caldwell (Bill Moseley). He is in a coma with a reconstructed brain held in by a glass dome (yup, the guy from the dream).

It turns out this particular attempt is on Christmas Eve and Laura is meeting her brother, Chris (Eric Da Re), and his girlfriend, Jerri (Laura Harring). They head off to Grandma's house. Meanwhile, Ricky wakes up! He then kills some people in the hospital before heading off after Laura. It seems the psychic girl did make a connection and he can see what she sees (but I thought she was blind?). Well, the doctor and a policeman (Robert Culp) head off after the domed killer.

There is nothing special about this movie. It is not controversial like the original, it is not graphic, and it is not exciting. Still, I found myself somewhat enjoying this oddball movie. It is very stream of consciousness and does not make a whole lot of sense. The acting is subpar, the brain dome is downright silly, and it is not that involving. So, why did I enjoy it?

Do not get me wrong, I do not love it, I doubt it will ever be a go to movie, but I can think of a lot of worse movies. I think it is the utter bizarreness that held my attention. There is some silly dialogue, and Bill Moseley as the killer is quite strange. It is an early role for him, but seems to be the polar opposite of his batshit crazy Choptop from Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2. I guess it doesn't help that the original screenplay was thrown out shortly before filming and was completely rewritten.

It is interesting to note that Monte Hellman directed the film. He is probably best known for directing the road movie Two Lane Blacktop. It also explains why characters are watching The Terror in the movie, as he was among the directors to work on that Corman production.

I don't know. This is a movie about doing things slowly or ineptly and never explaining anything. How did Ricky wake up? What was with the cop saying he blew Ricky's head off? I mean it's not hard to go find out what happened at the end of that movie. How about our killer seeing what a blind girl sees? And what is with the color red? What happened to Santa?

Slow, no suspense, no interesting kills, poor acting, bad dialogue, a character who looks ready to audition for Whitesnake, and a killer with an unfortunate clear dome... and for some reason I kind of enjoyed it. I guess there is no accounting for taste and some things that will never be able to be explained.

Not Recommended. (unless you want to PUNISH yourself) (get it?)

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Dell said...

Somehow I've never seen any of the Silent Night, Deadly Night flicks. I wanted to watch the first, for sure, but never got around to it. I will eventually, just not so sure I'll bother with the sequels.

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