7. Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
Director: Charles E. Sellier Jr.
Stars: Robert Brian Wilson, Lilyan Chauvin, Gilmer McCormick, Toni Nero, Linnea Quigley
Playing on themes of naughty and nice, Silent Night, Deadly Night tells the story of Billy Chapman, a confused young man who witnessed the slaying of his parents on Christmas Eve of 1971. More than a decade later, Billy's sadistic associations with the season play out in a murderous rampage where bad girls are impaled on a mounted set of antlers and good girls receive blood-soaked box cutters as gifts.
Originally released in November of 1984, the film made a victim of Kris Kringle when it dared to feature not one but two Santa suit-clad serial killers in its less than 90-minute running time. The reaction was swift—and appalled. "What's next," Leonard Maltin asked, "the Easter Bunny as a child molester?"
The public outcry was even harsher: Angry crowds protested outside the cinemas in which the film was playing and the distributor pulled all of its advertising less than a week after its debut. The film itself was yanked from theaters as a result of all the controversy shortly thereafter. Lesson learned: Don't mess with Santa.