By the time that Silent Night Deadly Night came to cinemas in 1984 it seemed that audience appetite for slashers was waning.
Once filming was completed in late 1984 the Catholic Conference met in New York to discuss pre-Christmas movies, with films such as ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ which was given an ‘O’ rating for offensive.
Silent Night Deadly Night went to a whole new level being described as an abomination of the slash and bash genre.
There were mistakes too as adverts were shown for the film during such shows as Little House on the Prairie, which only added fuel to the fire of the hate mob.
Ratings boards had by this point already made up their minds with the film pulled from cinemas two weeks beforehand, with protests from parents outside some cinemas because of the depiction of a killer in a Santa Claus costume.
In Elyria the Mayor even encouraged parents to protest outside the local cinemas to condemn the films release, even dressing up as Santa himself to hand in a petition signed by 2000 locals to close the screenings down.
In the UK the ratings board had managed to keep Italian and some American ‘video nasties’ off the big screen but now films like Silent Night Deadly Night were doing the rounds as pirated tapes which became hardcore horror fans’ holy grail.
Although there had already been films that deadly with a deadly side of the festive season including the superb Black Christmas and Silent Night Bloody Night it seemed that SNDN was the one that pushed things a little too far.
Grossing just $2.4 million in its first weekend run the film saw a 45% drop off in audiences the next week before being pulled. After it was perceived that the protests had died down it was given a second cinematic run in May 1985 with the ‘killer Santa’ omitted from all promotional items.
What did you think the first time you saw Silent Night Deadly Night, did it deserved the hate it received?