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The original Silent Night, Deadly Night movie was released in 1984. While it wasn’t the first film about a killer Santa, Silent Night, Deadly Night did become one of the most controversial. Now, the horror flick is getting a reboot in 2022. 

Robert Brian Wilson in 'Silent Night Deadly Night' which is getting a reboot
‘Silent Night, Deadly Night’ | TriStar Pictures

‘Silent Night, Deadly Night’ movie summary 

The original Silent Night, Deadly Night tells the story of a boy who is traumatized after seeing Santa Claus murder his parents. After 10 years in an orphanage, Billy Chapman (Robert Brian Wilson) is tormented by his past. Eventually, Billy can’t help but become the thing he feared most as a child — a revenge-seeking Kris Kringle. 

Killer Santa’s aren’t a new horror villain

Silent Night, Deadly Night wasn’t the first holiday horror slasher. In 1972, Tales From the Crypt featured a crazed killer Santa. Then in 1974, Black Christmas came out. Other holiday-inspired horror movies like Tricks or Treats and My Bloody Valentine didn’t upset audiences as much as Silent Night, Deadly Night. So why did it get such negative feedback? Author Jeffrey Miller said it’s because Silent Night, Deadly Night “took naughty to new levels of not nice.” 

The film’s marketing campaign tried to capitalize on the success of John Carpenter’s 1978 classic Halloween. Filmmakers thought they struck gold by combining a holiday with a murderous maniac. “You’ve made it through Halloween — now try and survive Christmas,” the narrator growls in the trailer. Unfortunately, audiences were appalled by the plot and the marketing Silent Night, Deadly Night capitalized on.

Criticism for the original ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night’ 

Turning a childhood icon into a murderous villain was bad, but the timing of Silent Night, Deadly Night‘s ads was even worse. Despite the movie’s transparent marketing, audiences took issue with when the previews aired on television. According to Variety, the marketing department at TriStar Pictures scheduled the Silent Night, Deadly Night previews to air on the weekend during daytime hours — when families with children were watching. Parents were quick to protest the commercial and later, the film. The day Silent Night, Deadly Night came out, protesters stood outside theaters with signs that read: “Deck the halls with holly, not bodies,” and “Santa’s not a hitman.” 

Despite the negative feedback surrounding the original release, Silent Night, Deadly Night has become a cult classic over the years. The film spawned several sequels. Plus, there was a loose remake of the movie in 2012 starring Malcolm McDowell and Donal Logue. Now, the horror flick is making a return.

The original producers hope the ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night’ reboot will celebrate nostalgia and surprise new fans

On Mar. 2, Deadline announced the reboot of Silent Night, Deadly Night. Orwo Studios and Black Hanger Studios, who brought audiences Jeepers Creepers: Reborn, will work together on the project. Silent Night, Deadly Night‘s original producers Scott Schneid and Dennis Whitehead (Wonderwheel Entertainment) are on board for the film and plan to release the reboot in 2022.


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“The desire for horror content and the ongoing success of the genre [means it is] the perfect time to be able to offer up this chilling revival of the iconic title,” Wonderwheel Entertainment said. Producers are promising to honor the nostalgia of the original while incorporating surprises to captivate new audiences. The cast for the reboot isn’t available yet, but fans can look forward to streaming Silent Night, Deadly Night on the virtual EFM.