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Santa thrillers explore the Nightmare before Christmas


As Christmas nears so does the now common spate of seasonal films about cute talking dogs and midnight miracles. None of that is on offer, however, in the upcoming horror releases of Silent Night (out through Monster Pictures) and Christmas Evil (out through Glass Doll Films). Both films will be available on Blu-ray December 9.

It's in these incarnations made over 30 years apart Santa Claus is a homicidal maniac on the loose determining which citizens of a small community have been naughty and which have been nice.

In Silent Night a small Midwestern town prepares for its annual Christmas Eve parade. But a series of gruesome discoveries suggest to Sheriff Cooper (Malcolm McDowell) that a madman is on loose. What's worse dressed in a Santa suit. He slays those he deems guilty of sinful behaviour - adultery, pornography and greed. Now the whole town is on alert. The problem is it will be an ordeal to track him down with the streets full of Santas. Directed with style by Steven C. Millar, Silent Night also stars Jamie King as Cooper's police deputy and Donal Logue.

The New York Times notes "This brisk reimagining of the 1984 slasher Silent Night, Deadly Night delivers the seasonal goods with admirable efficiency and not a little wit."

Back in 1980 an ambitious film made by little known Lewis Jackson explored a similar theme. That film Christmas Evil looks at lonely and eccentric toy factory supervisor Harry Stadling (Brandon Maggart) who is obsessed with Christmas values that he sees as disappearing in the corporatisation of Christmas. He even keeps records of the local kids and judges if they have been good or bad. Often the butt of pranks and cruel jokes by his colleagues he works alongside on the nightshift until one night he snaps
"[T]his is a haunting, surprisingly poignant drama with sprinklings of effective Horror shocks throughout to punctuate the focused character study," notes the Cult Movie Guide.

Extras include commentaries with director, actor and cultist John Waters, interviews, storyboards