Event Report: “SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT” on 35mm at Alamo Drafthouse Yonkers!Movies/TV,News Ken W. Hanley
As any fervent filmgoer can tell you, there’s nothing quite like seeing a film at the Alamo Drafthouse, a theater chain and company devoted to bringing fans the most fun cinematic experience conceivable. From their full food and drink selection to their preservation of 35mm screenings to their strict “no talking” policy, it’s a well-deserved theatrical treat to check out a film, new or old, at a Drafthouse location. So when this writer was offered the chance to host their Yonkers screening of Charles E. Selliers, Jr.’s SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT, I leapt at the opportunity to help usher in this nasty holiday horror to fright fans.
As per usual, the screening started off with the custom-made Alamo pre-show as fans poured in for this sinister Christmas cult classic, which featured clips highlighting the film’s controversial initial release, it’s many (and increasingly bizarre) sequels and general Xmas oddities. Some fans even brought their holiday cheer to the party, adorning Santa hats, holiday sweaters and demented Christmas tees. And with seconds before the film started, I took to the screen for an introduction as well as to send off one lucky fan with a FANGORIA/Death Waltz Records prize pack!
After welcoming the audience to the screening, I emphasized just how important SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT is to see on 35mm film. Having previously only seen the film on it’s less-than-stellar Blu-ray and FANGORIA’s digitally remastered rerelease last year, I’ve lamented this fact since SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT is such a sweaty, mean gem of ’80s seasonal slashers that practically begs to be seen on grimy, era-appropriate film. And with seconds before the screening, we began a “sudden death” round of trivia, where the winner would receive: the Daryl Dixon-adorning FANGORIA #338, a sampler bag of Deadly Grounds Coffee, our custom TOO MANY COOKS print from artist Todd Spence (@Todd_Spence on Twitter) and a TWILIGHT ZONE audio drama, hosted by Stacy Keach. The winner would also receive a holiday prize pack from the inimitable Death Waltz Records, featuring the vinyl soundtracks of both CHRISTMAS EVIL and SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT.
After the trivia was sorted out and the winner was chosen, the lights went down and the presentation began, offering a double dose of vintage horror trailers (including one for the Linda Blair flick HELL NIGHT). Then the film began, and much to the delight of the audience, the 35mm copy of the film was nearly pristine in quality, while still containing the grain and natural elements that so welcome the format. The audience cheered and laughed alongside the film, celebrating SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT in all of its gory, seasonally appropriate glory. Luckily, the Alamo was on the ball for this screening as well, with the food and service being among the best I’ve received from the company.
Overall, between the beautiful print, the excellent service and the wonderful crowd, SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT was truly a terrifying treat for Yonkers-bound lovers of Christmas horror. The perverse, chaotic glee of the film is even more infectious on film, especially among those who embrace the holiday tradition of naughty fright fare. It was an experience that transcends the content of the film and reminds you that, even with something as sinister as SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT, the power of a great holiday horror film lies in not only evoking our inner gorehound, but also the child in us all that forgets how much we miss the holidays until they roll around once more.
Yet for those who unfortunately missed SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT on the big screen, fear not, as Alamo Drafthouse Yonkers has many more horrific tricks up their sleeve this month, including one more week of fright favorite THE BABADOOK and the “FANGORIA Presents” screening of THE BLOB (1988), hosted by Fango’s Michael Gingold, this Friday.