Plot: Ricky (Eric Freeman) is now imprisoned for his crimes, but his violent rampage racked up a series of brutal kills and an excited celebration an unofficial holiday, known as Garbage Day. In order to try to understand what drove Ricky to kill, he is being interviewed by Dr. Henry Bloom (James L. Newman), who intended to explore the mind of the sadistic murderer. As it turns out, Ricky’s story begins with a look inside another string of grisly deaths, but not with Ricky as the killer, instead he was scarred by the crimes of his older brother, Billy. As he watched his brother unravel under the pressure of a twisted, cruel nun, he too carries a grudge toward the brides of Christ, not to mention a host of others. But will Dr. Bloom gain any real insights or will he discover Ricky’s mind is even darker than he expected?
Entertainment Value: A lot of sequels stick close to the originals, but few are bold enough to recycle nearly half of their run time from the previous movies, though Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 does just that. Most of the film’s first half is a flashback to the original movie, before moving into the second half, where some new scenes splice in to at least make it feel somewhat like an actual sequel. Of course, this approach is bound to irritate and even bore some viewers, as you are sitting through half of the original movie, more or less, so I can appreciate why this sequel is often dismissed, but there is also some solid fun tucked in here. The infamous “Garbage day!” is present and that’s reason enough to visit this picture at least once, but Eric Freeman’s performance overall is also a considerable lure. Yes, it can be a drawn out road to reach the fun parts, which is a roadblock to be sure, but I think genre film fans are equipped to handle it and to me, Freeman’s Ricky is worth that trek. I do think it is a shame he wasn’t brought back for the sequels that followed, as I would have loved to have seen Freeman in a full fledged new installment. In the end, I can understand why some might skip this sequel, but I think the new footage is fun and Freeman’s wild performance alone makes Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 worth a look.
The sleaze is limited to a few scenes with bare breasts, but one of those involves topless billiards, so there’s that. A little blood is shed here as well, including a humorous highlight where a corpse takes a headless sled ride, always a crowd pleaser. There’s also some suburban gun slinging, which leads to some bullet wounds, as Ricky fully careens off the deep end. You can also see some outrageous jumper cable trauma and some festive ax tossing, both welcome additions. Not a lot of direct, kinetic gore to be had, but a few nice touches to spice up the violence. The dialogue is always fun when Eric Freeman is on screen, as he dials up all of his lines to stratospheric levels and leaves quite an impression. I still wish we could have had him back as the franchise player, I think it would have been immense fun. But celebration of garbage day is immortal and in addition to his wild line deliveries, he also comes through with outlandish facial reactions and of course, maniacal laughter as a bonus. The boldness of reusing so much footage is kind of crazy in and of itself, but there’s some other assorted wackiness that moves the needle too. Freeman’s hilarious performance, fornicators being whipped by a nun, the glorious holiday celebration of Garbage Day, the abuse of a crippled nun, there’s some stuff to be had here.
Overall Insanity: 5/10
The Disc: Scream Factory’s Blu-ray starts off with a new 2k scan of an archival theatrical print, which yields a solid, if not all that remarkable visual presence, though it does mark a considerable improvement over previous versions. The print is in good shape and the colors hold up well, while detail is passable, but not that strong. Even so, it is a welcome enhancement and makes some notable improvements over the old discs, so fans should be more than pleased here. A new commentary features director Lee Harry and stars Daniel Newman and Eric Freeman, so I have to think fans will be ecstatic that Freeman is present in the supplemental material. An archival commentary track returns as well, with Harry, Newman, and co-writer Joseph H. Earle. Sleigh Bells Ring is a feature length retrospective look into how the movie was made, complete with extensive cast & crew interviews and an absolute wealth of production details. You can also watch an interview with “Ricky Caldwell,” a featurette on the movie’s locations, an extended interview with makeup artist Christopher Biggs, and the film’s trailer.