Kelly M. Hudson
Bugs, Christmas, and Icky Treats!
A woman bursts into flames on the roof of an apartment building and plummets to her death. A budding reporter finds herself drawn to the story, hoping to use it as a way to break into a news business that is dominated by males and reluctant to let a woman into their midst. While investigating, she meets a group of women that live in the apartment building, alternately drawn to them and yet put off. It turns out, they’re witches of a sort and they want her to join. Their last initiate was the woman who caught fire and died and in order to be a part of this group, our intrepid reporter will have to undergo several ceremonies involving the ingestion of insects and the participation of big, ugly, alien-like bugs. If she fails, she will burn to death. And now she has to make a decision: embrace her inner feminine powers by murdering an innocent young male, or give it all up and perhaps die like the woman in the beginning. What will she do?
Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation, has nothing to do with the movies before it. No slasher Santa, no crazy Ricky, just a group of witches, Clint Howard playing their servant, and a bunch of weird, icky, sticky and gross FX from the twisted mind of Brian Yuzna. This one starts out with a paranormal mystery and slowly unfolds into a tale of feminism and empowerment, with a whole heaping helping of the aforementioned bugs and weirdo occult rituals. This one doesn’t get as strange as Society (how could it?) but it skirts along the same lines, exposing the ills and sicknesses of society (in this case, misogyny and discrimination) and decorating that terror with quite a bit of Body Horror to make it all go down odd yet smooth. As soon as Howard pulls this big, alien bug out of a exhaust duct and lovingly admires it, you know you’re not in Kansas anymore; you’re in Yuzna Land, and Yuzna don’t play games. From that point forward it gets weirder and weirder, with dashes of humor to keep things from getting too bizarre. You already know if you’re in, and if you’re a fan of oddball movies, welcome home to your newest Christmas flick.
And yeah, it hardly has anything to do with Christmas. The holiday is in the background, mostly, though it does come up here and there. Add to it all a healthy dollop of sex and bits of nudity, and you have yourself a winner. This one is a relic of its time but in a good way, when filmmakers had big imaginations and small budgets and they made it all work somehow. And boy howdy, does this one work.