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Friday, December 23, 2016

Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: The Initiation



Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: The Initiation
Brian Yuzna
1990

A woman, while on fire, leaps to her death from atop a building. Kim (Neith Hunter) is an up and coming newspaper reporter who takes it up on herself to investigate the strange occurrence. The victim looks to have some connection to a bookstore. Kim stops in to find a book on spontaneous human an combustion. The owner of the book store, Fima (Maud Adams) practically forces a book on her called, ‘The Initiation of the Virgin Goddess.' Kim begins to see more and more insects and creatures intruding on her apartment, and before long, it becomes evident that the cult of Lilith would very much like Kim to join its ranks.

Silent Night, Deadly Night 4 is far better than its three predecessors, it’s unsettling, strange, and downright gross when it wants to be. The story plays out its paranoia like a cut-rate Rosemary’s Baby (1968) smashed together with the body horror of Videodrome (1983).  It abandons the slasher subgenre and any tangible connection to the previous films. There are few small nods to the series, Clint Howard’s character is referred to as Ricky, and Ricky enjoys at least a few minutes of watching Silent Night, Deadly Night III on television. It also foregoes any overt holiday themes, instead just using the holidays as a set dressing and little else.

Taco Bell claims another victim.
The biggest strength Silent Night, Deadly Night 4 has are its special effects: giant roaches and slugs, twisting limbs, and ambient spaghetti just to name a few highlights. The movie keeps piling on the gross-outs to the point where they start to lose a their effectiveness, and by the time Clint Howard is tearing giant slugs in half and dripping the slime all over Neith Hunter’s face, it starts to feel a little gratuitous.

It becomes evident the story doesn’t have much to offer beyond bugs and worms, the central plot of what the Lilith cult hopes to accomplish with Kim is thin. The evil people are as plainly evil as advertised and their intentions revealed almost immediately. The viewer is invited to watch Kim’s descent into madness at the clutches of the cult, but she makes so little effort to push back there isn’t much in the way of drama. The real star of the movie is Clint Howard, who makes Ricky into a buffoon, a creepy stalker, and a legitimate threat, all the while making sure the character is fun to watch. It’s a great performance, and one my new favorite Clint Howard characters.

Filed Under: Things I never need to see again.
Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: The Initiation is a decent low budget horror film, it suppresses the three films in the series that came before it, but a) There wasn’t much competition, and b) It cheats, by barely incorporating the holidays at all. Still if you are in the mood of for some slimy cult horror, this is a decent way to spend your Xmas vacation.

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