By now it's clear that producer Brian Yuzna is treating the SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT franchise the way John Carpenter tried to orient the HALLOWEEN series, making each film an unrelated story, all of them tying in to a particular holiday. After abandoning the killer-Santa motif in part
4, Yuzna and his crew center SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT 5 on killer toys.
After young Derek Quinn (William Thorne) sees his father (Van Quattro) killed by a lethal plaything, he's traumatized to the point of muteness, rendering him unable to tell anyone what has happened. Blame for planting the deadly toy seems to extend to local toymaker Joe Petto (Mickey Rooney),
who's assisted by his strange teenaged son, Pino (Brian Bremer). But a stranger in town, Noah (Tracy Fraim), also appears to be responsible. He's been skulking around the house of Derek and his mother, Sarah (Jane Higginson), and has been fiddling with toys in his motel room; when he gives one to
the motel's manager, it comes to life and kills the man. Shortly thereafter, Sarah catches Pino lurking in her house and chases him out. Going to report the incident to Petto, she learns that he and Pino once lived in the house that the Quinns now own.
Another mysterious present turns up on the Quinn doorstep, addressed to Derek, but he doesn't trust it and puts it out in the garbage. The box is discovered by a local boy, Lonnie (Conan Yuzna), who happily puts on the roller blades he finds inside, but they become rocket-powered and speed him
into a near-fatal collision with an oncoming car. When Sarah goes out the next night, she is confronted by Noah, who turns out to be Derek's real father, concerned for his son's safety. He reveals to her that Petto was once forced to leave another town when several children were injured by his
toys. At the same time, Derek is kidnapped by Petto, who sets a squadron of lethal toys on babysitter Merideth (Amy L. Taylor) while she's making out with her boyfriend. The latter is killed, and Sarah and Noah discover a blood-soaked, hysterical Merideth when they return to the house.
When they find out what's happened, the pair race to Petto's toyshop, where they are attacked by Petto in the basement. But Petto then removes his face before a terrified Sarah, revealing the face of Pino underneath; Pino turns out to be an automaton constructed by Petto, who has been killed by
his deranged "son." Pino wants to kill Derek and replace him as Sarah's son, but before he can kill the boy, Pino is hacked to a pile of mechanical parts by Sarah and Noah.
Aside from being incongruously set in sunny California mall country, SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT 5 is a fairly well conceived bit of Christmas anti-cheer. Certainly it will be of interest to those who'll wonder what the heck Mickey Rooney is doing in a direct-to-video horror sequel, and those who
venture to investigate might be amused to find him as the story's potential villain. From the names "Joe Petto" and "Pino," it's not too difficult to figure out what's up with him and his "son," though the introduction of Noah does provide a serviceable red herring. In any case, the movie's
plotting isn't too deep; mostly, SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT 5 is content to wring considerable giggly chills out of the variety of lethal playthings involved. The sequence in which Merideth and her boyfriend are assaulted by an army of deadly toys is especially memorable.
Under the guidance of Yuzna and director/co-screenwriter Martin Kitrosser, the tone moves inexorably from chilly black humor to pure, gibbering horror. The filmmakers use the current obsession with weird and sick toys to create such malefactors as Larry Larvae, which comes to life and burrows
through the skull of the motel manager. Screaming Mad George, the Japanese creator of the film's "surrealist visual effects and design," once again proves he's got one of the most twisted minds in the special makeup business. Best of all is the climactic revelation of Pino as a kind of life-size,
androgynous G.I. Joe toy.
Moments like this were clearly of the most interest to the filmmakers; despite capable acting, the rest of the movie generally plays like filler between effects outburts. But the plotting is involving enough, on a schlocky level, and the horrors outrageous enough to keep genre fans entertained.
For all its low-budget trappings, SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT 5 is the kind of fun, unpretentious B-movie they don't make too many of these days. (Violence, profanity, sexual situations.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1991
- Rating: R
- Review: By now it's clear that producer Brian Yuzna is treating the SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT franchise the way John Carpenter tried to orient the HALLOWEEN series, making each film an unrelated story, all of them tying in to a particular holiday. After abandonin… (more)