Poor Billy. Not only does he have a frankly terrifying visit with his grandfather in a mental institution, he then sees his parents slaughtered by a psychopath dressed as Santa who flags them down whilst on their way home.
He is then sent to a Catholic run orphanage where the Mother Superior loves to run proceedings with an iron fist. ‘Spare the rod and spoil the child’.
We then see Billy all grown up and working in a toyshop. But Christmas is on it’s way and Billy has major issues with anyone dressed as Mr Claus and with the holiday season in general after what hes been through.
Billy then goes on a murderous rampage after being made to dress as Santa.
When this film was released in 1984 it outperformed A Nightmare on Elm Street which was released on the same day. However, after a TV spot was shown during a football game, the spaghetti hit the fan. Busybody morality groups aimed to take this ‘blasphemous’ film out of American cinemas. And it worked.
Yes, the film is a sleazy, extreme slice of holiday-based exploitation. But its also very tongue in cheek and possesses a sly humour that any person with an IQ over 25 will pick up on and enjoy. Halloween was never picketed for being a tasteless and corrupting movie that is based on an American holiday.
In fact, the film feels polished and accomplished but still brutal and seems to foreshadow later movies made a couple of years later like Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer and The Stepfather. Slick, well-made movies that are still not adverse to being extremely graphic when needs be. A hybrid between Hollywood and low-budget grittier filmmaking.
I love the fact that the murders stick to the Christmas motif with seasonal motifs like fairy lights and antlers being used to bump people off.
I watch this every December. But this celluloid delight can be enjoyed at any time of the year. Be thankful that common sense prevailed and this film is still available to the general public.
Filmmakers 1, Self-righteous Soccer Moms 0
4 out of 5 stars