The man who made unrepentant sociopath Alex spring to life in A Clockwork Orange did concede that he likes them when they “work” and that ideally they should “leave people smiling.”
However, there’s nothing funny about this film’s source material, a loose remake of the infamous Silent Night, Deadly Night, about which Mickey Rooney said: “The scum who made that movie should be run out of town,” surprising, as The Mick later appeared in one of its countless sequels.
No word on what the nine-decade legend of stage and screen might’ve said about Silent Night before he passed, but we can hazard a guess as the bad taste ante was upped considerably.
Silent Night includes plot details lifted from the real-life “Covina Massacre,” in which a gunman decked out in Santa Claus regalia shot nine people at a Christmas Eve party. He’d carried four handguns into the residence, discharged all of them, and came equipped with two tanks, one which contained oxygen, the other racing fuel, and a makeshift flamethrower was used to burn the home to the ground. The grisly Los Angeles-area horror happened in 2008 and Silent Night was released in November of 2012.
In the film, a psychotic Santa terrorizes the small, Midwestern town of Crier, Wisconsin (in actuality, Winnipeg and Selkirk Manitoba), blending into the crowd amongst all the other Santas.
Malcolm McDowell is Sheriff Cooper, who “is dogged in his determination to find the serial killer,” according to the actor, who “brought lightness and humor to the role.” Malcolm McD is having hammy fun as he spouts off hilarious non sequiturs such as “Don’t put avocado on a burger” and “My Aunt is my Uncle.”
The charismatic Donal Logue (Sons of Anarchy/Gotham) is embittered Kris Kringle “Santa Jim.”
Like Silent Night, Deadly Night, the kills are as brutal as they are superabundant. Santa uses an ax, fists and yes, the aforementioned flamethrower. There’s also a scene in which Santa visits a no-tell motel where a nude photoshoot is taking place. He castrates the photographer with a scythe, hacks off the model’s leg and then shoves her into a wood chipper.
Not exactly Miracle on 34th Street to say the least, but worth a look.
*** (out of 5)