Deadly Night was a horror movie released in 1984, and
has since garnered a bit of a cult following.
Considering the Santa Claus slasher subject matter of
this film, it had its staunch opponents back in 1984.
It did not do well at all with critics, many of which
essentially hated it (like Siskel, Ebert, Leonard
Maltin, and many others). Still, the negative press
probably helped it, considering that it did end up being
a profitable movie. There were two more sequels
released in the 1980ís, and two more in the 1990ís.
In the original
movie, 5 year old Billy Chapman witnesses the murder of
his parents by a man dressed in a Santa Claus outfit.
As Billy grows up in an orphanage, his scary thoughts
about Santa Claus begin to fester, and he begins
equating punishment with Santa Claus. Years later, when
he gets a job at a toy store, and he is asked to play
Santa Claus at Christmas time, things get very bad for
Billy. After he finds the girl he likes being raped by
a co-worker, Billy snaps. He starts by killing the
rapist, then the girl, then others he deems deserve to
be punished by Santa.
In the end, Billy
makes his way to the orphanage to punish the people
there. Although the police are waiting for Billy, they
end up killing another man dressed up as Santa Claus by
accident, and Billy easily makes his way into the
orphanage. Just before he can kill the Sister that had
punished him all those years, the police shoot and kill
Billy. However, the movie ends with Billyís little
brother seemingly taking up the future reigns of the
Santa Claus killer.