Thursday, January 21, 2010

Silent Night Deadly Night III: Better Watch Out!

You know what? I’m going to go ahead and give Part II its due: It took a dangling thread left over from Part I and yanked it, hard.

It asked, and answered, the questions: So, will Ricky go completely nuts now? And will Mother Superior ever get what’s coming to her?

The answer to both questions was, of course, a resounding yes.

But what’s the motivation for Part III? Ricky most likely isn’t dead, since he was all smirky at the part of Part II, but do we really care what happens to the guy? Of course not. He’s going to prison, or he’s going to die, and either way, the dude’s story is complete in and of itself.

Let’s consider the better-liked and more well-remembered slasher movies.

“Halloween” – Michael Myers is trying to wipe out his family members. Because he keeps getting thwarted, he keeps coming back. It makes sense.

“Friday the 13th” – Jason keeps returning to avenge his mom. People come to Crystal Lake, he kills them. Really, if people left him alone, he’d probably be pretty easy to avoid. So there’s a spark of logic there. (Sometimes, anyway.)

“Nightmare on Elm Street” – Again, Freddy keeps coming back because there are people living and dreaming on Elm Street. Wipe out either of those two factors, and you’re good to go. Logic!

But after “Silent Night, Deadly Night Part II?” There are no lingering questions. There are no living victims. The story is over.

Except that it isn’t. Because here we go again.

You want a tip-off that your movie isn’t going to be very good? When they arrange the text like so:

Silent Night
Deadly Night
Better Watch Out III

Really. That’s the title card. So I guess the title is “Silent Night Deadly Night Better Watch Out III.”

Good work, clowns. Good work.

As the credits roll, the screen fades up on a lovely girl wearing a cross around her neck, dressed in some kind of dark color while lying on an all-white background. She’s breathing. She hears some kind of voice whispering to her, so she wakes up.

Her all-white bed is in an all-white room. She gets up off the bed slowly and looks around. Slowly. While this one note just keeps on playing on a keyboard somewhere.

She turns around, and there’ s a sleeping dude lying in a hospital bed. He’s got a glass helmet over the top of his head, so you can see his brain. Yes, Virginia, there is a brain-hat.

For some reason, this doesn’t bother her.

Then the guy holds up a scalpel, the girl screams, and runs away. She finds a white door in the white room, and tries to open it. No luck. She tries another door. No luck. She tries a third. That one opens.

She runs down a white hallway while brain-hat runs after her. Did I mention his face is kind of messed up, too? No? It kind of is.

The girl turns a corner, and brain-hat is there. He grabs her arm and slices down her wrist.

She pulls away and runs again. For some reason, her arm does not appear to be bleeding. Continuity guy must have had a sick day. Or maybe they just didn’t care.

The girl comes to another door. Locked. Yet another door. She goes through that one, and there’s brain-hat guy again. He seems to be whispering, “Laura,” so I’ll go ahead and start calling her that.

At any rate, now brain-hat guy is covered in blood. And so is his room.

Laura runs out the door again, and looks down a long hallway. And there’s Santa Claus. Laura yells out, “Help me!” But Santa scampers away. So she follows him.

She turns yet another corner, and there’s Santa, sitting in his Santa-chair. Surrounded by various Christmas-y things.

Laura sits in his lap, and tells him she wants a Barbie doll. And a bicycle. And roller skates. And ballet shoes. And a Mickey Mouse watch.

Santa brandishes a knife, and Laura wakes up, screaming.

A doctor runs up, hugs her, and starts to comfort her. He tells her she was just dreaming. And to lie down. I can’t tell is Laura if traumatized or just kind of a dope.

Laura says she dreamed she could see. And she dreamed about Christmas, noting that it is obviously because, “Tonight is Christmas Eve.” Oh, and she dreamed about Santa Claus.

Doctor Newberry presses for more details, but she wants to stick with her, “I dreamed about Santa Claus” story. The doctor asks if she’ll try again, and she says, “Anything for you, Doctor Newberry.”

The movie then shows us a little brainwave machine with the names “Laura” and “Ricky” written on pieces of tape next to the screen. Oh, boy! Ricky is the guy in the brain-hat! For real!

You know what this means, don’t know? The studio worked with a bunch of writers – three are credited – and the best they could come up with was a brain-hat, and a psychic blind girl.

Doctor Newberry talks to his tape recorder, and tells it that he thinks Laura “made contact.”

And so help me, they pull out footage from Part I again. Billy is seven, he’s in the car, he wakes up, he sees Santa in the road. Santa comes to talk to his dad.

The nurse calls for the doctor. Laura just woke up. She asks if she can go to the bathroom. The nurse is directed to take her.

Newberry talks to the tape recorder some more. He ponders whether or not Laura is messing with him. Or if perhaps Laura doesn’t realize that she’s making contact with “the coma victim.” That would be Ricky, I guess.

He goes on to say that he can’t help feel she’s holding something back.

They put Laura back on the bed for just one more try. This time, the doctor says, he wants her to really relax and empty her mind of everything. All the thoughts and all the clutter.

He keeps on encouraging her. Why? Because dialogue is cheap and easy to shoot, that’s why.

And there’s that footage again! Santa shoots at the car, the car crashes, mom gets dragged out of the car, mom’s shirt gets torn off and her throat gets cut.

Oh, did I mention that the “memories” cut between mom and Billy, over in the ditch? Man, that Ricky sure has an amazing memory.

Laura wakes up screaming.

The doctor looks over at Ricky. And his chart. Which reads, no kidding: Diagnosis: Coma.

And Ricky? That little brain-hat thing he had in Laura’s dream? He’s REALLY GOT A BRAIN-HAT. It wasn’t just a dream.

Which I guess I’m going to have to describe better, so you can grasp how absurd it is. Picture a clear glass bowl. Now, stick a brain into it. Upside down. Now, turn it over and strap it to your head. And put some brain juice in there, so it can slosh around a bit.

That’s what Ricky is wearing.

The doctor interrogates Laura a bit about her “dream.” The only thing she can tell him is that it involved a Scary Santa. How does she know it’s Santa? No idea. She’s BLIND. As far as we know, she’s never seen Santa. So how would she know what he looks like?

Laura wants to know what time it is, since her brother is picking her up. Then there’s a bunch of exposition, so that Laura can say out loud that she’s going to visit her Grandmother’s house for Christmas, and where that house is, and how her grandmother has a lot of oranges.

You know, so Ricky will have no trouble finding her after he wakes up.

Laura tells the doctor that she doesn’t think she wants to do this any more.

The doctor tries to use reverse psychology on Laura. I’d go into detail, but since all these movies end on Christmas, I don’t think it’s going to be relevant.

Laura leaves. The doctor and the nurse converse about whether or not Laura will come back. The doctor is convinced that she will. The doctor is probably going to die of a sucking chest wound.

The doctor walks over to Ricky, doing a whole long monologue. He looks closely at Ricky, but is so distracted by the brain-hat that he doesn’t notice a tear coming out of Ricky’s eye.

Laura goes to the front desk of the hospital and asks the nurse to tell her when a red jeep appears outside. The nurse says she’s very busy. I guess she just hates blind people.

Laura goes and sits down. Some nice people with a baby help her.

Eventually, the baby people leave. Laura takes this opportunity to break down her cane. And also to brood a bit. Because brooding doesn’t really cost that much money. It’s kind of a one-take thing. As is the long shot of the nurse talking on the phone while no sound plays.

Eventually, Laura decides to get back up and go talk to the nurse again. The nurse doesn’t answer. Also, the waiting room appears to be empty now.

Dream sequence?

Laura walks around the back of the desk, and then we see a shot of the nurse with her throat cut. Followed by a shot of Laura rubbing blood on her face and screaming.

Yeah, it’s a dream sequence.

Laura is awakened by her brother. He walks her outside, while telling her that he’s bringing a date for the weekend. A stewardess. Laura doesn’t think this is a wise move, but she gets into her brother’s car anyway.

They share a dirty joke and drive away.

In the hospital, a dude dressed up as Santa wanders about, delivering gifts. He goes to Ricky’s room, and offers Ricky a drink in jest. Ricky and his brain-hat twitches. Then we get a fuzzy-cam shot of Santa.

And then, stalker-cam. Santa is going to get it.

Laura talks to her therapist. We learn that her parents died in a plane crash. And that sometimes she “sees” things. They give an explanation, and I may as well put it down her: Laura’s grandmother thinks that all thoughts are just part of one big thought. And that sometimes, two people think about the same little thought, that’s part of the big thought.

The therapist thinks this is true, citing how his dog whines when he’s going to go away, even before he starts packing.

At any rate, the doctor thinks that Laura has a pool of anger inside her that she has to let go.

Laura, in turn, says she doesn’t want to see the future, or the past, or anything. She just wants to be normal.

Her doctor turns around and says that no one is normal. Of course, when he turns around, he’s Ricky.

Back at the hospital, “Santa” is dead, and Ricky is walking away.

The mean nurse sees someone, says, “Can I help you?” and then Ricky picks up a scalpel and we see blood fly across the desk.

Back with Laura, her brother is picking up his girlfriend, Jerri. Her brother is named Chris, by the way. Laura is mean to Jerri. Jerri, in turn, isn’t all that nice to Laura. But Laura started it.

Back at the hospital, Ricky wanders out of the hospital. With his brain-hat. And no one stops him, or even says, “Hey! What’s up with that dude’s head? Is that a brain-hat?”

In Chris’s car, Laura tells Chris how to get to Grandma’s house. Ricky can “hear” Laura, so he starts wandering in the direction Laura and company are going.

Laura appears to fall asleep, and… flashback to movie one! “Santa” approaches the orphanage, the cop shoots Santa, Santa dies.

Laura wakes up and yells, “Ricky!”

Later that night, Ricky, still in a hospital down and brain-hat, thumbs a ride from a dude in a very beat-up van.

Ricky gets into the van, and the driver shows Ricky his RED sweater.

A couple of shots later, the driver is dead by the side of the road, and stripped to his underthings, and Ricky is driving away in the guy’s van.

Laura “wakes up,” and Jerri gives her some carbonated water to drink.

As a gas station, the gas station dude is watching a movie, and getting a phone call. He wants his lady-friend to talk dirty to him.

Outside, the bell sounds. Customer! The pump-jockey puts on a Santa hat and goes out to pump some gas.

Inside, the chick on the phone figures that the pump-jockey is listening, even if he’s not saying anything, and starts talking dirty anyway.

And then we’re at Grandma’s house, and Grandma seems to be a very alert and alive older lady. She’s cooking up a serious feast. She bastes the turkey, eating up more screen time.

Chris, Laura, and Jerri stop at a gas station. Laura and Jerri go across the street to get snacks. Or something. I’m not really sure what they’re doing there.

Chris goes to make a phone call. Good thing they don’t need gas, because the pump-jockey probably isn’t coming out.

Grandma says, “Phone’s going to ring.” And then the phone rings.

Chris is on the phone. They’re going to be there in an hour. Chris is directed to pick up a couple of sticks of butter.

Inside the gas station, the pump-jockey’s head is sitting on his desk.

There’s someone at the door at Grandma’s house. It’s Ricky. He’s wearing a knit hat to cover his brain-hat.

At the hospital, cops and reporters do what they do. The head cop talks to doctor Newberry about Ricky, the “Santa Killer,” who has been in a coma for six years.

As they walk and talk, the nurse says, “She sees what he sees!” In case the audience missed that.

The head cop says that he was at the shootout where they put a bunch of holes in Ricky. Newberry says that Ricky’s brain was reconstructed. They brought back some of his basic motor functions so his heart and lungs could keep working.

The doctor also jump-started Ricky’s memory.

At Grandma’s house, Grandma feeds Ricky a plate of food. Ricky looks at Grandma. Grandma says, “There, there. You don’t have to thank me.”

Back with Newberry and cop, the doctor says they’re trying to figure out a way to talk to people in comas.

The cop stops Newberry and shows him the footage the security camera caught. It shows Ricky walking up to the nurse at the front desk, and saying, “Laaauraaaa.” The cop rewinds and shows it again.

Newberry tells the cop about Laura. Newberry thinks Laura touched Ricky’s soul.

The nurse asks the pertinent question: If Laura sees what Ricky sees, does Ricky see what Laura sees?

Uh, nurse? Laura doesn’t SEE anything. She’s blind.

The cop wants information about Laura now. The doctor says he doesn’t know where Laura is, which means he wasn’t paying attention AT ALL when Laura was talking earlier. At the very least, you’d think he could put together, “Brother, Grandma.” Maybe give the cop a lead. But no.

At Grandma’s house, Ricky gets up from his chair and goes to look at a picture of Laura.

Grandma goes to the Christmas tree and says she’s going to see if Santa left a gift for Ricky. Turns out, Santa did. And it’s RED.

Outside the house, we get to hear Grandma scream.

In Chris’s car, Jerri and Chris sing, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

You know, I’m kind of pining for “Warm Side of the Door.”

The group arrives at Grandma’s house, and Laura walks in while Jerri and Chris get the bags. Inside the house, Laura calls to Grandma, who doesn’t answer. She wanders around the house, looking for Grandma.

Chris and Jerri come inside the house. Laura tells them Grandma isn’t here. Chris remembers that he was supposed to get some butter.

He speculates that maybe Grandma went to the neighbor’s house. Unless (hee, hee, hee) the boogeyman got Grandma. Jerri says Chris will take care of them.

Laura notes that a chair is out of place.

Jerri and Chris go to take stuff upstairs.

Laura, sitting by herself in the chair, says, “Granny?” She “sees” Grandma, and reaches out to Grandma. In her mind. Or something. I have no idea what’s going on with that, really.

Chris and Jerri come downstairs. Chris says he’s going to check out the food situation, and tells Jerri to go check out the bath.

Chris goes to look at all the food on the stove.

Jerri goes upstairs and runs a bath.

Laura says, “Happy hour.” And she gets down some glasses and pours some booze.

In the bathroom, Jerri puts up her hair, removes some clothing, and looks out the window.

Outside, stalker-cam looks at Grandma’s house.

Chris and Jerri take a bath together, which is kind of a bizarre thing to do in your Grandma’s house. There’s fooling around. Punish!

The Cop and Newberry drive somewhere-or-other. Ah. Newberry finally remembered about Christmas and Grandma. The Cop calls the station and asks about people with oranges.

Back at Grandma’s house, Chris and Jerri go for a walk. While Laura watches a movie where some dude’s eyes get plucked out. And then the guy falls to his death.

Outside, Jerri and Chris walk. Chris sneaks away, then tries to scare Jerri. It’s pretty lame.

Chris and Jerri start knocking on doors at different nearby houses, where the seasonal orange pickers live.

Laura keeps on watching her movie.

Chris and Jerri continue looking around for Grandma, but they’re having no luck. Everyone appears to be gone.

The Cop and the Newberry talk car phones. There’s some other banter as well. This movie loves itself some time-killers.

Back at the house, Laura changes her shirt while her brother sits in her room. Ick. They talk about how Laura needs to be nicer to Jerri. And how Laura is all jumpy.

Laura is really starting to wonder about Granny. Chris says to give Granny another 15 minutes. Granny won’t mind if they warm up dinner.

Jerri comes in from outside and says that Chris’s car is missing.

Jerri and Chris go outside and start calling out to Granny.

Laura stays inside the house and walks around, looking apprehensive.

She walks to the window, and there’s Ricky! On the other side of the window! Laura screams, and goes to lock the door, only the door opens and Chris and Jerri walk in.

Chris and Jerri found the car in the orange grove, completely trashed. Laura wants to leave. Chris doesn’t want to go, because Granny might need help. Jerri says they should call the cops.

Laura goes to the phone and dials 0. She says it’s dead. Chris goes to try it. It doesn’t work.
Jerri checks the phone cord, which is severed.

Laura goes to the mantle and discovers that her picture is missing. Which is a bizarre thing to check when you’re afraid for your life, but okay.

Newberry and The Cop arrive at the gas station, where they examine the dead pump-jockey. The Cop’s phone rings, and he answers it.

While the cop talks on the phone, Newberry talks to himself. “Can you hear me, Ricky? Did you find her yet? Is your soul still searching? I should have left you alone. I’m sorry. I should have let you sleep.”

The Cop tells Newberry that “fifteen minutes up the road there’s a farm.”

Which is great, except Chris told Grandma they were an HOUR away before. Continuity-man’s sick day strikes again.

Laura, at Grandma’s house says, “It’s him.” She goes on the say that he was a little boy, and then “something happened.” I’m not even going to attempt to break that down into its tiny illogical components.

Meanwhile, Jerri is standing by the door. A hand punches through and grabs her.

Chris runs over to Jerri, and tries to pull the arm off Jerri. He can’t do it. So he gets a knife and jams it through Ricky’s arm.

Ricky lets go. Of course, now he has a knife, which makes the gang winners and losers.

Jerri falls to the floor, clutching her neck.

Laura remains REALLY calm, and says, “If we stay here, he’ll kill us all.”

In the cop car, Newberry asks what they’re going to do when they find Ricky.

The Cop says it’s “difficult to tell.” He admits there’s a possibility that they’ll kill Ricky.

This is a really, really calm discussion. Also, the cop isn’t wearing a seat belt. And the doctor doesn’t even qualify as a crackpot, thanks to little conversational nuggets about how, “Ricky isn’t a killer. He’s a way to stop people from killing. Like snake venom is a way to cure the bite.”

The Cop decides to take the snake conversation to its logical conclusion and pull the car over to take a widdle. He wanders over to the woods to wee, and Newberry steals his car and drives away.

This displeases The Cop.

At Granny’s house, Laura and Jerri are waiting downstairs for Chris. He takes forever to do so, because dialogue between scared girls is considered a good time-filler. Finally, Chris appears, carrying Grandpa’s old gun. Chris says that the shells are “a hundred years old,” and hopes they’re still good.

Laura, Jerri and Chris troop out of the house. Chris is in front, carrying the gun. Ricky drops out of a tree and grabs Chris. Ricky wrestles the gun away from Chris and starts choking him. Then he moves to stabbing.

Chris tells the girls to run back to the house. They do, despite the fact that the gun is pretty close and they could probably grab it and shoot Ricky much faster than they could get a blind girl back to Grandma’s former dwelling place.

Amusingly, Ricky’s knit cap has fallen off, so you can see his brain-hat again.

Newberry pulls up in the cop car. Ricky is still sitting on Chris’s chest, bloody knife in hand.

Newberry gets out of the car and says, “Hello, Ricky.” Ricky stands up. Newberry introduces himself, and plays his tape of Laura’s scream. Which is followed by Newberry’s conversation with Laura.

Ricky walks slowly towards Newberry, reaching for the tape recorder. Then Ricky stabs Newberry to death with pretty much no warning.

It’s official. Newberry is too stupid to live.

Ricky turns back to the house and says, “Laaaauuuurrraaaa.”

Jerri and Laura shove the piano up against the door with Ricky’s fist-holes in it. Laura is sad: Chris was all she had.

Jerri says they can’t just wait around for Ricky to come and get them.

And that’s when Ricky jumps through one of the other doors, which is made up of about 80% glass, 10% balsa wood. 10% actual wood. Maybe.

Laura and Jerri run upstairs. Laura tells Jerri that her grandmother has another gun. An army pistol. It’s under one of the beds. Jerri goes to look for it. Alone.

She looks under one of the beds, and someone pulls her under it.

And there you have it. Proof that Ricky is insane. Instead of just finding Jerri and stabbing her a lot, he hid under a bed. To, like, have the element of surprise in his favor.

Laura hears Jerri cry out and goes wandering through the house. Calling out Jerri’s name. Never mind that the house isn’t all the big, and Ricky can easily hear her.

Laura sits down on a bed. Jerri is also on the bed, covered in her own blood.

Laura says, “I can feel you here.” And finds Jerri’s dead body.

Ricky, who is standing in the room, says, “Laaaaaauuuuura.”

Laura walks over to him (why?) and touches his face (why!?) and seems okay with the whole thing until she touches his brain-hat. Which, I must admit, is sort of freaky.

Laura screams, runs away, and locks herself in the bathroom.

Ricky sort of wanders over to the bathroom and starts pounding on the door. Laura sneaks out the other door in the bathroom and heads downstairs.

Ricky breaks down door number one, and walks out bathroom door number two.

(Insert your own number 1 and number 2 jokes here.)

Laura gets downstairs, and heads into the basement. Even though she’s blind, she turns on the lights to the basement stairs.

In the basement, she sneaks around, quietly, until she puts her hand on a rat. Then she screams, totally blowing her cover. I swear, the girl isn’t even trying.

Upstairs, Ricky hears Laura’s scream.

Back in the basement, Laura’s dead Granny’s voice starts speaking to her. Granny tells Laura that Laura has a power – a gift – and that Laura must learn how to use it.

Granny tells Laura to use her power to do good for people. And also to use her mind like a lens to gather the light.

Laura thinks she can sense her Granny in the basement, and goes looking for her. And calling her name. She finds her. Granny appears to be hanging from a rafter, but it’s tough to tell.

Laura freaks and falls over backwards, landing in a pile of boxes. She finds what I guess is a dowel rod, and uses it to smash a light bulb.

Ricky is coming down the stairs. Laura says, “Now we’re even.” Sure, except she can’t see all the smashed glass that’s on the floor. Plus, there’s light pouring through the doorway. Visibility will not be an issue.

Perhaps to prove that Laura is not much of an enemy, Ricky jams his knife into a wooden post before attacking her with his bare hands.

Then he slowly walks over to Laura, and they grapple. She tries to hit him with the dowel, only there’s an old bed frame in the way that she can’t see, so she hits that instead.

Ricky grabs her, takes the dowel away, and snaps it over his knee. To prove a point, I guess.

Ricky knocks Laura to the ground and is just about to get his strangle on when Chris appears at the door. He yells out, “Hey, Bubblehead! Is it live, or is it Memorex?”

Despite the fact that Chris is holding the ancient gun, Ricky doesn’t bother to use Laura as a human shield. Instead, he just gets up and starts shuffling towards Chris.

Laura, on the floor, discovers that her dowel rod has now been turned into a sharp, stabby-type object.

Chris shoots Ricky in the chest, and Ricky falls to the ground.

Man, I wanna see Chris shoot the brain-hat so bad. Did I ever mention the brain-hat has, like, a little box with blinking lights on it. And what looks like an antenna?

Ricky walks up the Chris and chokes Chris with the shotgun. Chris falls over.

Laura, still on the floor, says, “I’m over here Ricky. Come and play.” Then she points the stake in a vaguely upwards direction.

Despite the fact that there’s a whole lot of light flooding in from the doorway, which makes the stake pretty danged visible, Ricky decides to make it easy on Laura. He leans down to attack her, and falls on the stake, impaling himself.

The cops arrive at the ranch, having picked up The Cop on the way.

Laura crawls across the basement floor, looking for Chris.

The Cop finds Newberry, lying on the ground dying. He says, “Give me a call sometime, Doc.” Newberry says, “Lieutenant. Don’t be stupid.”

Then Newberry dies. Huzzah!

Laura finds Chris, who appears to be dead. But we’ve seen that trick before.

The Cop finds Laura and Chris in the basement.

A short while later, an ambulance worker wheels an almost-dead guy out to the ambulance. He says that, “With a little luck we can save this guy.”

Laura is sitting in The Cop’s car. He asks Laura if she’s all right, and she says she’ll be fine.

The Cop gets into the car, and says, “I don’t know how you did it. But I guess there’s a lot of things I don’t know.” No, really. He says that.

Laura smiles to herself, and says, “Merry Christmas.”

The Cop and Laura drive away.

The movie cross-fades to a shot of Ricky, standing there with his brain-hat. Wearing a tux. He says, “And a Happy New Year.”

Granted, this brings an element of closure to the “Silent Night” trilogy, since all three movies have ended with a shot of Ricky being freaky. But at the same time, it’s really, really, really ridiculous.

And while I’m at it, Ricky never once said, “Naughty!” or “Punish!” I feel let down.

1 comment: