Silent Night, Deadly Night is a 1984 slasher film directed by Charles E. Sellier Jr. and starring Robert Brian Wilson, Lilyan Chauvin, Gilmer McCormick, Toni Nero, Britt Leach and Leo Geter. It focuses on a young boy who, after witnessing his parents' murder at the hands of a man clad in a Santa suit on Christmas, grows up tumultuously in a Catholic orphanage and slowly emerges into a spree killer himself. The film caused an uproar when released in 1984 during the holiday season, and has since developed a devoted cult following.
It was followed by a sequel, Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2.
On December 1971, a little boy named Billy Chapman goes with his parents and younger brother Ricky to see their grandfather at a mental hospital. Billy's grandfather is sitting there in a catatonic state, when the parents go off to review Grandpa's records with the doctor, leaving him alone with Billy. Grandpa starts talking to Billy, and tells him the frightening truth about Santa Claus: Santa Claus not only gives presents to the good boys and girls, but punishes the naughty ones. As soon as the parents return, Grandpa goes back into his catatonic state. Afterwards, the family leave the mental hospital.
Not far away, a man in a Santa Claus suit goes to a convenience store and robs the place at gun point. He kills the clerk and runs out of the store. Later that night, the Chapman family are on their way home and they see the same man in the Santa suit, pulled over at the side of the road. They ask him if he needs help, but he pulls out a gun. Billy's dad puts the car in reverse and tries to get away, but the man still manages to shoot him. Billy gets out of the car and hides. When he sees the killer try to rape his mother, he brings down his look. The mother resists and he slits her throat. When Billy looks up, the killer is gone.
Three years pass, and Billy and his brother are living at St. Mary's Orphanage. Billy is in class, and the kids have been assigned to draw Christmas pictures. When Billy shows his drawing of a bloody Santa Claus and a decapitated reindeer, the teacher sends Billy to Mother Superior. She sees the drawing and sends Billy to his room as punishment. Sister Margaret, a sympathetic nun, can see that Billy still is haunted by his parents' deaths. Mother Superior does not care what Sister Margaret thinks, and tells Margaret that she will take care of Billy personally. Later on, Sister Margaret lets Billy come outside to play. As Billy leaves his room, he hears the noise of a couple making love. Mother Superior sees it and beats them with a belt. She comes out and is mad at Billy for leaving his room. She tells Billy that "Punishment is necessary, punishment is good," then sends Billy to his room and beats him with a belt. Later on that night, Billy has nightmares and runs out of his room, only to be caught by Mother Superior, who then ties him to his bed. In the morning, when the kids line up to sit on Santa Claus's lap, Billy is forced to join in, but he wiggles away and punches the fake Santa and runs to his room, scared as Mother Superior comes in.
It is now 1984. Billy is now 18 years old and Sister Margaret is trying to help him get a job at Ira's Toy Store. He meets Mr. Simms, the store owner, who hires Billy. Things go well until Christmas comes around. Billy's co-worker named Andy, starts yelling at him for no apparent reason and he claims Billy was an alright kid at first, but now he is giving him attitude, snapping at him and staring off into space. Billy has a crush on his female co-worker named Pamela, and has a dream about making love to her, but being stabbed for his acts. Billy gets scared when he sees the store Santa after he had gotten yelled at again by Andy. The next day, Billy is asked to play Santa Claus because one of his fellow employees was injured. A little girl gets scared on Billy's lap as he is Santa, but Billy says stop it, she is being naughty, he does not bring presents to naughty children and he punishes them severely. Sister Margarent calls the store and asks how Billy is doing and when she is told about him being the Santa, she hangs the phone up and has a scared look. Later that night, when the employees are celebrating, Andy takes Pamela back to the stock room. When Billy goes back to the room a few minutes later and sees Andy attempt to rape Pamela, he has flashbacks of his parents. Billy snaps, realizes that he has the power to punish, since he is now Santa Claus, then says "Naughty!" and hangs Andy by the Christmas lights. Pamela becomes upset and starts yelling at Billy, who gets the box cutter on the shelf and stabs Pamela saying "Punishment is necessary Pamela, Punishment is good." Mr. Simms hears the noise in back and checks it out, thinking he is hallucinating in his intoxication. When he turns around, he is hit in the head with a hammer. The assistant manager, Mrs. Randall, sees the lights turned off and goes to look for Mr. Simms in the stock room. When she sees his corpse, she becomes hysterical and tries to call the police, but someone cuts the phone line. She sees Billy with an axe in his hand and tries to hide. When Billy comes closer, she knocks him down and tries to escape by breaking the window glass with the axe. Billy picks up a bow and arrow and kills her. Having killed everyone in the store, Billy leaves to go punish the "naughty people". When Sister Margaret comes to pick up Billy, she sees Mrs. Randall's corpse and screams.
Later, Billy sees two teenagers making love. The girl, Denise, hears something upstairs. Thinking the cat wants to come in, she opens the door. The cat comes in, but she sees that Billy is there as well. He shouts "Punish!", then impales her on the antlers of an antelope head hanging on the wall. Denise's boyfriend, Tommy, goes to look for her and sees her hanging on the wall, bleeding. Tommy tries to call the police, but Billy stops him and throws him out the window. Cindy, Denise's sister, sees Billy on the street in his Santa Claus outfit. He asks Cindy if she has been naughty or nice. When Cindy says that she has been good, Billy kindly gives her the box cutter he used to kill Pamela as a Christmas present, then leaves. The police are on the look out for Santa and nearly shoot a dad dressed as Santa going in his daughter's window. Billy goes through the forest as he hears police sirens.
Later on, two kids going sledding are attacked by Bob and Mac the bullies. Mac slides down the hill, telling Bob to join him, when Billy chops the his head off. Mac watches as his friend's head and body roll down the hill separately and then screams when they stop. On Christmas morning, Sister Margaret is at the police station. Captain Richards, tells her there have been three more murders. Margaret tells the captain that there is an order to the killings, and then realizes that Billy is the killer. Sister Margaret understands there is a connection after what he has been through during his childhood and the officer thinks Billy is insane, but not stupid. She quickly deduces that his next attack will be at the orphanage.
At the orphanage, the children are waiting to see Santa Claus. Mother Superior is in a wheelchair now due to an unknown illness and is now less threatening then before. Mother Superior asks the children to write thank you notes to Santa. The police are looking for Santa and are ordered to shoot and kill if necessary. A man in a Santa suit walks up to the orphanage. Officer Barnes arrives just in time to tell the man to stop. He ignores Barnes and keeps walking toward the orphanage, when the cop shoots him, the kids panic and Ricky becomes shocked when the man's blood spatters over his face. The Captain and Sister Margaret think it is over till the dispatcher tells them the report is all wrong. Sister Margaret realizes too late that the police shot Father O'Brien. He did not stop because he was deaf, not because he was the killer. Officer Barnes, who shot the priest, unsuccessfully attempts to explain what happened to Mother Superior. She becomes angry at what happened and leaves. Barnes walks off to search the grounds.
When he sees an open door that leads to the basement, he goes down to look and finds nothing. However, when he gets back to the door, he hears "Punish!", Billy steps around the corner and slams his axe into Barnes' stomach. Billy starts walking toward the orphanage, and one of the kids sees him and lets him in against Mother Superior's orders to keep him out, since she knows Billy will kill her as revenge for abusing him. Billy is about to kill Mother Superior, when she tries to reason with Billy by telling him "There is no Santa Claus!" Billy frowns, shouts, "Naughty!", and begins to swing his axe to kill Mother Superior, but Captain Richards shoots him in the back twice just in time to save the old nun. Although he killed many people, Sister Margaret is sad to see Billy die. Before he passes, Billy says, "You're safe now. Santa Claus... is gone." Ricky, who watched Billy die, looks down at his dead brother's body, then slowly looks up with a cold stare towards Mother Superior and bitterly says, "Naughty!", indicating that he now wants revenge on the nun for killing his brother.
- Lilyan Chauvin as Mother Superior
- Gilmer McCormick as Sister Margaret
- Toni Nero as Pamela
- Robert Brian Wilson as Billy Chapman
- Britt Leach as Mr. Sims
- Nancy Borgenicht as Mrs. Randall
- H.E.D. Redford as Captain Richards
- Danny Wagner as Billy Chapman (age 8)
- Linnea Quigley as Denise
- Leo Geter as Tommy
- Randy Stumpf as Andy
- Will Hare as Grandpa Chapman
- Tara Buckman as Ellie Chapman
- Geoff Hansen as Jim Chapman (as Jeff Hansen)
- Charles Dierkop as Killer Santa
- Eric Hart as Mr. Levitt
- Jonathan Best as Billy Chapman (age 5)
- A. Madeline Smith as Sister Ellen
- Amy Stuyvesant as Cindy (as Amy Stuyvesant)
- Max Robinson as Officer Barnes
- Mr. Levitt:Shot in chest/stomach/forehead with pistol
- Jim Chapman:Shot twice through windshield with pistol
- Ellie Chapman:Throat slit with knife
- Andy:Lifted/strangled with Christmas lights
- Pamela:Box cutter in stomach/sliced up
- Ira Sims:Hammer claw driven in head
- Mrs. Randall:Shot through back with arrow
- Denise:Impaled through back on deer antlers on wall
- Tommy: Thrown through 2nd floor window
- Bob:Decapitated with axe while riding sled
- Santa at Orphanage:Shot repeatedly in the back
- Officer Barnes:Axed in stomach, falls down stairs
- Billy Chapman:Shot twice in back with pistol