Bonus Reviews: Silent Night Deadly Night Part 4 and 5
Horror Bulletin Bonus for Week 148
For this week’s bonus films, we’ll look at a couple of, honestly, pretty awful ones: First up, “Silent Night Deadly Night 4: Initiation” from 1990 and then the last part of the original series, “Silent Night Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker!” From 1991. Wind up your clockwork kids and get ready for Garbage Day, because here we go!
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Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation (1990)
• Directed by Brian Yuzna
• Written by Zeph E. Daniel, Richard N. Gladstein, Arthur Gorson
• Stars Clint Howard, Neith Hunter, Tommy Hinkley
• Run Time: 1 Hour, 27 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
This film has absolutely nothing to do with the previous three films. It’s a whole new horror film that just happens to take place at Christmas season. It’s got witches and magic and lots of maggots. It’s pretty good on its own, but be advised that there are no killer Santas here.
A homeless-looking guy pushes his shopping car along the street and eats garbage. He sees a woman on the roof struggling with someone. She catches on fire and falls to her death right in front of the guy. Credits roll.
A couple has sex in a motel room as the news program talks about the death on TV. They’re both reporters at the local newspaper. Kim wants to do a story about the burning woman. They think it was “spontaneous human combustion.” Their boss, Eli, assigns the story to someone else. Kim decides to investigate the story on her own.
Kim goes to the site of the death and goes inside a bookshop there. She bumps into the homeless guy, whose name is Ricky. The owner of the bookstore, Fima, sends Ricky upstairs and mentions that he should have been institutionalized. Fima gives Kim a creepy date with a pit to eat. Fima also gives her a book called “The Initiation of the Virgin Goddess,” which Kim says has nothing to do with the case. Fina gives her the book anyway and a kiss; she’s very strange.
She goes up to the roof and finds Ricky there again. Ricky finds a huge worm in one of the air vents. Anyway, Kim goes to Hank’s parents’ house to meet them; it’s awkward, and the couple has a fight afterward.
When Kin returns home, she starts seeing insects and a strange creature in her house. She hides in the bathroom until morning. The next morning, Janice from the newspaper comes over and sees all the mess from the previous night.
Kim goes to the picnic in the park with Fima. She meets Katherine and Jane. The women say they didn’t know the victim, but that she wasn’t strong enough. They talk about Lilith, the “spirit of all that crawls.” After the meeting, Eli assigns her to work the story with Hank, which is exactly what she wanted.
Kim goes back to see Fima again, and this time she drinks some weird tea. Fima talks about how much Kim looks like Fima’s lost daughter. The tea makes Kim nauseous and sleepy. She soon passes out and is forced to eat another date, or maybe it’s a big bug; she isn’t sure. She fades in and out of consciousness as the others do some kind of ritual on her. They call in Ricky to put his big worm on Kim’s stomach, and it goes inside her. Kim then pukes up a three-foot long cockroach.
Kim wakes up, clean and fully dressed, but the others don’t want her to leave. Fima says she wants her daughter back. Kim opens the door and runs away.
When she gets home, she finds Hank there, and she takes his key and throws him out. She freaks out, but then decides to jump on top of him and make out. It’s like she’s suddenly possessed. While they’re in the middle of that, Ricky comes in and turns on the TV (which is showing the previous film). There’s a bloody struggle, and Ricky and Hank fight. Hank loses, fatally.
Janice arrives to help, and she scolds Ricky. She’s involved with all this. Janice tells Kim that she has to go back and finish the ritual. Ricky takes her back and locks her in a meat locker. The other women return and continue the ritual. She and Ricky end up having some very strange sex as the group watches.
Kim wakes up alone, her body mutating into a giant bug. The next morning, the butcher comes in and says, “you have been initiated. Now go!” and lets her out.
She goes into the bookstore, and Fima calls her “Lilly.” She was the woman who jumped off the building. Fima and Katherine explain to Kim that they need to sacrifice Hank’s younger brother to complete the ritual; if she doesn’t she’ll burn up too.
Kim starts to burn and then decides to go along with the plan to stay alive. She abducts Lonnie from Hank’s parents’ house. Ricky goes inside and kills both the parents.
All the women converge on the roof of the bookstore building to complete the ritual. Fima hands Kim a knife to stab Lonnie. They struggle, and Fima ends up getting stabbed. Fima then takes the knife and stabs Ricky, who is eaten by giant maggots. Kim still refuses to submit, and Fima bursts into flame and falls off the roof.
This was intended to be the script for part three of the series, but it was rejected in favor of the guy with the glass dome over his head. It’s an oddball, since there’s no killer Santa or even a reference to the previous films. It’s like they were trying to go for the same thing that “Halloween III” (1982) failed at. Clint Howard gets top billing, but he doesn’t even speak until fifty minutes into the film, and although his name is Ricky, he doesn’t seem to be the same character from the other films.
Early on, in Kim’s book, we see that the spiral is a symbol of women’s power, and there are spirals all over the film. On clothes, on the floor, walls, and lots of places.
There are some leanings toward feminism as in the beginning, the men lord it over the women at the office; Janice says, “boys will be boys.” This reverses briefly as Kim starts getting what she wants, but later, we see that the strong women, Fima and her friends, are just as bad. They all use Kim.
The gore effects here are pretty good. I especially like the bendy, twisting fingers on Kim’s hands. Those were well done. Much like Halloween III, this isn’t a bad film, it just has nothing to do with the previous films in the series.
Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker (1991)
• Directed by Martin Kitrosser
• Written by Martin Kitrosser, Brian Yuzna
• Stars William Thorne, Jane Higginson, Van Quattro
• Run Time: 1 Hour, 30 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
Once again, we have a film in the series that has nothing whatsoever to do with its predecessors. It’s a weird one, and it all makes sense, more or less, but as the final film in the original run, it’s kind of a mess.
Derek sneaks downstairs a few days before Christmas and finds a present with his name on it outside the front door. He takes it inside but leaves the front door open. He opens the box, but his father comes downstairs and yells at him. Derek heads upstairs as his father finishes opening the box. Inside is a big red ball with a button on top. When the button is pressed, the toy shoots out cords that strangle Derek’s father to death, at least until he falls on a chimney poker and impales himself. Derek witnesses the whole incident. Credits roll.
Two weeks later, Derek’s mother, Sarah, still has nightmares. Kim and Lonnie come over. Sarah says she’s going to Petto’s (pronounced “pedo”) toy store to buy something new for Derek. Derek sees an ad for the toy that killed his father on TV.
Joe Petto and his grandson Pino are there, and they’re both weird. Pino tries to give Derek a toy caterpillar (“Larry the larvae”), and scares them off. We see that Petto has a mean streak. A guy named Noah comes in and buys some toys; he’s been buying a lot of them from Petto already. Noah drops a newspaper article about Tom Quinn, who died in the pre-credit sequence.
The owner of the motel Noah is staying at bangs on the door; Noah’s check has bounced. Noah offers to give him a toy if he can wait until tomorrow. “It’s to die for,” he jokes. It’s the larvae toy from earlier. On the drive home, the box opens, the worm crawls out, and it kills the man.
Meanwhile, Noah breaks into Petto’s store and goes into the back room. He finds a picture of Pino dated 1970. Petto looks much younger, but Pino looks exactly the same. He opens a trap door on the floor, and something grabs him. He gets away, but Pino, who was down there, knows Noah was there.
Derek and Sarah find another gift on their doorstep, and they bring it inside; they go to see Santa at the department store. While they are out, Pino sneaks into their house. Back at the store, Noah, dressed as Santa, looks at Derek and is obviously afraid. When the mother and son return home, they catch Pino hiding in the closet.
Sarah confronts Petto about Pino being in their house. He denies it, but she knows it was him. Petto claims that they lived in Sarah’s house, but the bank foreclosed on them. He thinks that Pino misses the house, and he may have been visiting. Petto promises it won’t happen again. Pino and Petto fight, and Pino rolls down the stairs, apparently dying.
Sarah gives Derek another gift she found on the front steps; she thinks it’s from Kim. As she and Kim talk, Derek carries the gift out to the garbage, where another kid opens it. It’s roller skates!
The stolen roller skates ignite jet engines, and at the same time, Derek attacks the red ball toy that killed his father. Finally, the roller skate kid is pulled out in front of a car. The kid turns out to be Kim’s son Lonnie. Kim shows Sarah the rigged roller skates.
Noah talks to Derek to offer him a gift, but the babysitter intervenes. The babysitter then reads “Pinocchio” to Derek. The babysitter’s boyfriend comes over, and the two get busy. Suddenly, someone in a Santa Claus suit sneaks into the house– it’s Petto! He drops toys in their doorway. Derek comes in just in time to watch the toys kill the boyfriend. Petto stuffs Derek in his sack and leaves.
Meanwhile, Noah tracks down Sarah, and they kiss. They know each other pretty well. He offers her a ride home. Noah knows that Derek is his son, and wants to be a part of their lives. Noah explains that Petto had once been arrested for maiming innocent children. It seems he went crazy after his wife and baby died in a car accident.
They get home and find the babysitter, who says that it was Petto all along. Noah and Sarah head right over to the toy shop. She sneaks in the back door and finds all kinds of twisted toy-things in there. Noah goes into the trap door and finds Petto wielding a mace-filled squirt gun.
Sarah goes down there too, and she finds Petto’s dead body. But wait– there’s Petto in the Santa suit, who starts talking in Pino’s voice. He takes off his Petto face, revealing robot innards, then snaps on his Pino face. It wasn’t Petto, it was Pino(cchio)! He takes off his clothes, revealing that he is just a big doll underneath.
Petto made Pino after his real son died since he wanted a replacement. It was Pino who wanted Derek dead. There’s a fight scene with the two of them battling it out with the super-strong, super-crazy Pino who takes a lot of punishment before the humans finally win. Or do they?
Before the opening credits even began, Kevin commented, “Silent Night Deadly Night meets Puppet Master?” Yup, but only because “Demonic Toys” didn’t come out until the following year. Not only that, but right after the first scene with Petto and Pino, Kevin speculated, “He’s a robot, isn’t he?” This was not a subtle film. Lots of clues give that away as the movie progresses. Though it was a cool surprise that the robot could swap its face and voice to change identities.
It’s got three actors from the previous film, all with the same character names, Kim, Lonnie, and Ricky, but they’re entirely unrelated characters otherwise. Strange.
With the exception of one scene where Petto/Pino wore a Santa suit, there’s nothing at all here that connects this with any of the previous films. Besides, who would ever go to a toy store with “Petto” right there on the front door?
It’s pretty dumb, but it’s not completely terrible.
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