‘Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the blog
Not a reader was stirring, not even a…what the hell rhymes with blog? Slog? Log? BOG!
I’ve always found it ironic that SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT (1984) drew the ire of the American public when it was first released. The positively terrifying origins of Santa Claus aside, this wasn’t even the first film to depict a killer dressed as Santa Claus as the Joan Collins segment “And All Through the House” in TALES FROM THE CRYPT (1972) beat it by over a decade. In between these two films was the delightfully deranged CHRISTMAS EVIL (1980; aka YOU BETTER WATCH OUT) and the substandard slasher TO ALL A GOODNIGHT. Hitting right at the peak of the stalk-and-slash boom, this film appears to have never actually gotten to theaters in the U.S. and debuted on video by Media Home Entertainment. This is understandable when you realize this film is the movie equivalent of a stocking full of coal.
|Mrs. Voorhees...uh, sorry...Mrs. Jensen|
Leia: “Jesus, you scared the hell out of me.”
Ralph: “Mrs. Samantha asked me to look in on the plants.”
Leia: “Uh huh.”
Ralph: “That’s our duty to take care of the plants.”
Ralph: “God put ‘em here to give us pleasure.”
Leia: “Yeah, yeah. Excuse me. Oh, by the way, Mrs. Jensen cooked up some cherry pie and stew. Better hurry on down before it is all gone.”
Ralph: “I like cherry pie.”
Leia: “Yeah, you and Nancy both.”
Ralph: “I like Nancy too.”
Before the “send Mrs. Jensen to slumber land” plan can even go into effect, Cynthia (Lisa Labowskie) and her boyfriend Paul (poor dude doesn’t even get a credit) are both knifed by a killer in a Santa Claus suit as she tries to sneak out to see him. Oddly, no one seems to hear the screams. Back inside, the girls think Mrs. Jensen is out for the night and head to the airfield to meet up with T.J. and his crew of hunks. T.J. flexes his jerk skills by forcing the pilot to stay with the plane (huh?). No PAR-THAY for you!
|"Hmmm, what was the tenth digit of Pi again?"|
|And they said Ralph had no brains|
To be fair, there is actually a twist at the end in that the kids were stalked by two killers dressed as Santa (Mrs. Jensen and her husband Polansky). Regardless, to reveal one of them so lazily (I can’t believe it was misdirection) is insane. It is too bad as Hess has the exploitation factor down and does work in some interesting bits when he wants to (like one of the final girls not being killed but instead dancing around the house like a ballerina after her encounter with the killer).
|"Looks like someone axed the wrong question."|
(to be said in David Caruso voice)
Truth be told, TO ALL A GOODNIGHT is really only for slasher completists or folks looking for 80s milieu. It is about as standard for the genre as one can get, although there is a certain charm to it thanks to the low budget trappings. However, it never fully takes advantage of its one special gimmick - having a killer Santa Claus outfit. I’d actually like to see a nicer version of it hit DVD though as the darker scenes on the VHS are hard to make out.