I am taking part in The Chicago Creepout’s Twelve Days of Axe-mas holiday viewing event. This is my day two.
Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 is such a stunningly horrible movie; I can only believe its existence can be blamed on a bet or a dare. More likely, it simply sprang from the brain of the world’s cheapest producer. With that idea in mind, in lieu of any sort of formal review which the movie does not deserve, I now present to you how I think the development of the project went down.
NOTE: THE FOLLOWING IS A PIECE OF SATIRE USING THE NAMES OF REAL PEOPLE IN AN ENTIRELY FICTIONAL SITUATION.
The office of Lawrence Applebaum is the type of space that throws visitors into a state of being that exists somewhere between existential despair and nausea. Water stains cover most of the ceiling, setting off the gray-green cinder block walls that make the room look like a prison. In an effort to cover the walls and give the space the aura of a true film producer, framed posters of Applebaum’s productions are hung. Titles like Hot Pants Holiday, Penitentiary II, The Alchemist, and Thunder Run proudly represent just a few of the projects that Applebaum has shepherded to the screen.
Applebaum sits behind a metal frame desk with a fake wood grain top. He is busy snorting a line of cocaine from a hand mirror on the desk when his secretary walks in. A dyed-blonde, would be actress who once worked as a “special assistant” to Lou Ferrigno on the set of The Incredible Hulk TV show as a way of breaking into the business, the secretary now finds her show-business dreams on hold as she runs interference between Applebaum and various investors wondering when they will see a return on the money they have given the producer. Watching Applebaum stash the mirror in the top drawer of his desk and stare impatiently at her with his bloodshot eyes and red, inflamed nostrils flaring, she wonders if giving Ferrigno handjobs in his trailer between takes was really such a terrible gig—other than having to wash off the green paint.
“What is it?” Applebaum barked. “Can’t you see I’m busy?”
“I’m sorry, Larry—“
“That’s Mr. Applebaum to you, sweet cheeks. Now, what’s the problem?”
“Mr. Earle and Mr. Gage are here to see you.”
“Fucking writers. Fine, send ‘em in.”
She opens the door, allowing Joseph Earle and Eric Gage to enter the room. As Applebaum fake smiles at them and heartily shakes their hands, she leaves the room, certain she can feel a small piece of her soul crumbling away, leaving a blank void.
“So, fellas, whaddya got for me?” Applebaum says.
“We got a winner for you!” Earle says.
“A crackerjack idea!” Gage follows up.
“A surefire hit!”
“I like sexy,” Applebaum says.
“You’re gonna love it!”
“Well Jesus, boys, don’t keep me in suspense.”
“Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde!” Earle and Gage say in unison.
Applebaum slumps back in his chair.
“Now hear us out—“
“We have an angle—“
“Something people will never see coming—“
“Dr. Jekyll is crazier than Mr. Hyde!”
“They’re both deranged killers, but Jekyll is the really sick one—“
“So Hyde has to keep cleaning up the mess that Jekyll leaves behind—“
“Disposing of bodies, getting rid of bloody clothes and murder weapons—“
“But neither is really concerned about getting rid of the other one—“
“Which allows for more murder and rape scenes—“
“More bang for your buck, so to speak—“
“And it’s in the public domain, so we don’t have to buy the rights!”
Applebaum looks between the two men with disdain.
“It’s a fucking period piece!” Applebaum spits out. “Do you know how expensive that would be, you fucking morons? I tell you to bring me something cheap, something with some blood and tits in it and you want me to adapt a fucking hundred year old novel?”
“It could be done inexpensively—“
“Yeah, we put together a budget estimate and came up with just a hair under five million—“
“Boys,” Applebaum says “I got about a hundred grand to put together something, anything to throw on a few theater screens and move some units on video. I don’t have the money or time to be fucking around with an old Bram Stoker book.”
“Actually, Jekyll and Hyde was written by Robert Louis Stevenson—“
“I don’t give a fuck if it was Adlai Stevenson, I ain’t interested!”
“A hundred thousand isn’t a lot to work with,” Earle says.
“What about…nah,” Gage says.
“Spit it out,” Applebaum says.
“Don’t you have the rights to that killer Santa movie?”
“Well, what about a sequel?”
“The money’d never stretch far enough. Effects cost a lot. Tits cost a lot.”
“I got an idea,” says Earle. “You still use that guy as an editor? What’s his name, Henry?”
“Lee Harry. Yeah, so?”
“Let’s bring him into this.”
“Because we’re gonna need an editor.”
Applebaum makes the call and sits back and listens as Earle lays out his plan. As he talks, Applebaum, getting excited by the idea, passes around the mirror with the cocaine. An hour later, Lee Harry takes a seat next to Gage and listens to the plan.
“Let me get this straight,” Harry says. “You only have enough money to cover the budget for a second and third act?”
All three men nod their heads in coked up excitement.
“So you wanna make a sequel, and have the entire first act comprised of footage from the first movie?”
“It’ll be a flashback—“
“The killer’s little brother can tell the story of what happened—“
“We use all the best bits from the first film—“
“The blood and the tits—“
“We pad the first forty or so minutes with that and then we write a story to frame it as a real movie!”
Harry looks around at the other men in the room.
“But it’s not a real movie,” Harry says. “If we make a sequel and then start it out with nothing but footage from the first movie, the audience is gonna be pissed. They’ll feel cheated.”
“Who gives a shit?” Applebaum says while laughing. “By that point, they’ve already bought their ticket and we got their money.”
“I don’t know about this flashback angle,” says Harry. “Doesn’t having the killer narrate the story through flashback negate any suspense?”
“Negate?” Applebaum says. “Would you listen to this guy’s vocabulary? Negate!”
“I just think if you’re going to make a slasher film, you need that moment of surprise when the killer pops up. Without that, it’s just not gonna be scary.”
“Lee,” Applebaum says, “we asked you to come in here because we need a director who understands how to build a movie from footage. We need an editor. And, correct me if I’m wrong, but haven’t you always wanted to direct?”
Harry leans back in his chair and studies the ugly water stains on the ceiling. He knows it’s a bad idea, but it’s just too tempting. Against his better judgment, he nods his head.
“Terrific,” Applebaum says. “Now we just need the killer. Someone big, scary, a hulk.”
In the outer office, despite the fact that she cannot hear what is being said in the meeting, the secretary feels a chill go down her spine.
The door to the office opens and all the men turn to see Eric the intern walk in.
“Sorry to interrupt,” Eric says, his voice dripping with extreme sarcasm. “I just need to change the garbage bag in the trash can.”
The men watch as Eric, his bulging muscles barely contained by his shirt, goes about his task. Applebaum looks at the men and nods toward Eric. One by one, they nod their heads and give the thumbs up sign.
“Son,” says Applebaum, “what’s your name?”
Eric’s lip curls up in a sneer and he shoots a glare in Applebaum’s direction.
“Eric, you didn’t come to Hollywood to empty garbage cans, did you?”
“Of course I did. Isn’t that everyone’s dream?”
Eric’s sneer widens, threatening to engulf his entire face. Applebaum laughs.
“How would you like to be the star of my next picture?”
“If I do that, I won’t have time to empty the garbage.”
Eric rolls his eyes as Applebaum continues laughing.
“This kid’s a natural!” Applebaum says as he looks at Earle. “Make sure you write to that sarcastic attitude. People will never get sick of that over the course of a movie.”
Applebaum looks back at Eric.
“Now, kid. You understand this is a tremendous opportunity for you. You’re gonna be a star. You got that something that just can’t be…what’s it called?”
“Quantified?’ Harry says.
“That’s it! Quantified. You got it, kid. We’re gonna make you a star. But you understand, I can’t pay you much.”
I’m sure the actual story behind what led to this still-birth of a movie is a lot more mundane and less sleazy, but the fact remains the producers put together one of the absolute worst movies I’ve ever seen. Do yourself a favor. I you ever choose to watch it, make sure you have plenty of booze on hand and lots of friends with which to mock it. This is the rare movie that deserves that kind of treatment.
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