Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation (1990)

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Overall Rating 40%
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Ranked #5,657
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A reporter investigating the bizarre death of a woman who leaped from a building in flames finds herself mixed up in a cult of witches who are making her part of their sacrificial ceremony during the Christmas season. --IMDb
Clint Howard
Clint Howard
Neith Hunter
Neith Hunter
Tommy Hinkley
Tommy Hinkley
Hugh Fink
Hugh Fink
Richard N. Gladstein
Richard N. Gladstein
Review by Chad
Added: December 21, 2010
Well, at least they tried something new. Unfortunately, it didn't turn the series around, and in fact, it led to one hell of a bad case of "what the fuck" in my eyes. The boys responsible for Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation attempted to pull a Halloween III by creating a movie that was entirely unrelated to the franchise and slapping on the title to get some extra exposure, and as was the case with Halloween III, you can look at it in one of two ways. You can say that it has nothing in common with the previous films, the killer has been reduced to nothing more than a lackey for the real villains, and it doesn't even play up the Christmas theme of the previous films, and therefore, it's garbage. Fair enough. One could also look at it in the way that I personally looked at Halloween III: it may have nothing to do with the previous films, but it was pretty entertaining as a stand-alone product. Unfortunately, Initiation doesn't even get that right.

We kick things off by watching a flaming woman jump off of a roof to her death on the sidewalk below. The aftermath of this is seen on the evening news by Kim (Neith Hunter) and Hank (Tommy Hinkley), a pair of newspaper reporters who also happen to be a "pair" in their personal lives. Kim feels a strong connection to the case and wants to cover the story, but unfortunately for her, the boss (Reggie Bannister) decides to give the story to Hank who goes off on some wacky spontaneous combustion theory for the article. Kim is not happy with the decision, and she decides to do some investigating of her own.

Her hunt for the truth leads her to Fima (Maud Adams), the owner of a local book store that happens to be nestled right under the roof that the dead woman jumped from. A homeless bum named Ricky (Clint Howard) also happens to hang around in this shop, but hey, we'll get to that later. Anyway, Fima takes a keen interest in Kim, and from there, the movie dives straight into bizarro-world with a tale of drugs, Pagan rituals, ancient goddesses, fears, and cockroaches. Plenty of cockroaches.

Again, I'm going to give the filmmakers credit for one thing: at least they tried something new. The previous sequels, regardless of how bad they were, stuck to the slasher genre and turned out to be steaming piles of shit - not necessarily because of the genre, but because of the ineptitude of the filmmakers. Brian Yuzna, a man who needs no introduction to horror geeks, apparently decided that the reason for their failures was because of the tired old slasher genre, and thus, he went in a completely different direction with this film. While not a horrible film in its own right, I can't honestly say that it's a particularly good one either.

The problem is that getting involved with the plot requires an intoxicated viewer. Maybe I missed something because I'm not a seasoned Wiccan, but as a simple movie-lover, the storyline went straight over my head. Basically, Fima killed her daughter and wants Kim to become her new daughter by drugging her, having a disgusting bum rape her, putting a worm in her belly, making her spit up cockroaches, and then having her kill a kid before she catches on fire? Maybe there's some deeper meaning there that I missed, but these are the plot points as they are presented... excuse me, that is the entire movie as it is presented.

As a Lynch-like tale of madness and horror, I could almost see the film getting an audience. The only caveat there is that it takes way too long to get going, and by the time we get past the detective film and get cracking on the bizarre shit, most fans will have probably fallen asleep. The acting isn't too bad, but when the actors are telling a tale that we really don't care about, it doesn't amount to a whole lot. By the time it gets to "the good stuff", we just don't care anymore.

The one real selling point of the film is the creature effects, and for that, I have to give the filmmakers major credit. The disgusting little worm things, the giant cockroaches, and all of the other creepy-crawlies looked damned good and were incredibly life-like. They managed to keep me interested even when all else failed, so again, I can't say a negative thing about the effects. It's just a crying shame that they weren't used to spice up a more interesting film.

Overall, I once again can't recommend a film from the Silent Night, Deadly Night series. We're down to just one film left, and I'm really hoping that it delivers in a way that the other sequels haven't. 5/10.
Nirrad #1: Nirrad - added 12/22/2010, 06:38 PM
Rented this when I was younger hoping to see insects kill people. After a long time of nothing I turned it off. Seriously. I remember watching like an hour and not one thing happened so I turned it off and popped in The Society. Man that was a terrible night.
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