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Spontaneous human combustion, slime, giant roaches, witches, nudity, giant larvae, and Christmas… what do you get when you put it all together? You get the 4th entry in the Silent Night, Deadly Night franchise!

The fact that the movie bears no resemblance to the previous holiday slasher flicks, there is something actually fresh and brilliant about Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation.

After a woman bursts into flames and takes a swan dive off the top of a building into the concrete below, we know we are in for something MUCH different.

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The movie follows Kim, who hears about the incident on the news while banging her co-worker in a seedy motel, and wants to investigate. Kim is a news reporter that is relegated to small time news, while her male counterparts get the big scoops.

Deciding this is her big break, she sets out to uncover the truth about the burning woman. During her investigation she discovers a cult of women who worship a witch-like god, and are looking to initiate their newest member. Guess who’s next in line?

Silent Night, Deadly Night 4 is a fun, albeit weird change of pace for the franchise. Giant bugs, trippy acid like visuals, and nudity all feel like they would be right at home in a David Cronenberg film.

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Despite a low budget, the practical effects by Screaming Mad George (A Nightmare on Elm Street 4, Bride of ReAnimator, The Guyver) are ridiculously top notch, taking it right into The Fly and The Thing territory.

The acting from all involved is what you’d expect from a low budget, 4th entry in a straight to video horror franchise, but nothing too cringeworthy. Neith Hunter, who plays our leading lady, is a fun heroine who is fun to watch, and not just because of her assets… but that is a plus.

Cult actor Clint Howard turns up in the film as Ricky, a homeless vagrant/cult servant; and his performance is just as brilliantly odd as you’d expect. Also, I’m not sure if his name being Ricky is supposed to be tied to the Ricky from part 2 & 3, but I like to think so.

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Oh, and before I forget, Phantasm mainstay Reggie Bannister also appears in the film as Kim’s snotty, male chauvinist boss; and even though it’s not a huge part, he’s always great.

I mentioned in my last review how Silent Night, Deadly Night 5 feels like a prequel to this one, and it’s due to Kim and Ricky’s characters appearing in both.

All-in-all Silent Night, Deadly Night 4 is a whacked out, acid trip of a horror movie, and that’s why I think it’s worth a watch.

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If you’re a die-hard fan of the first film, this one may be a turn-off for you; but if you like you horror sequels to dabble in new territory, then I think this one is right up your chimney… er, I mean alley.

GORE meter: ★★★☆☆
T&A meter: ★☆

BONUS – Slime and Bug meter: ★★★★★

– Matt Cloude

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