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The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Special Christmas Edition: Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out!

December 26, 2018 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Silent Night, Deadly Night 3

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Special Christmas Edition: Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out!

Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to a special Christmas edition of the internets movie review column that knows it’s impossible to establish a “psychic link” to anything in real life because there’s no such thing as psychics (psychics are bullshit), The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this special Christmas edition, I finally take a look at the second sequel in the Silent Night, Deadly Night franchise, Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out!, which hit the world in November of 1989 (it went straight-to-video).

If you’re interested, my review of the first Silent Night, Deadly Night movie can be seen here, and my review of Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 can be seen here.

Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out!

SilentNightDeadlyNight3Poster

Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out!, directed by Monte Hellman, is actually more bizarre than Part 2, which is insane considering just how bizarre, strange, and batshit Part 2 is, was, and always will be. Better Watch Out! involves a young blind woman with a psychic connection to the notorious killer Ricky Caldwell, Caldwell walking around with an exposed brain under a see through cap thing that’s also filled with some sort of liquid that, I guess, keeps Caldwell’s brain functioning, and dreams/hallucinations/visions that are hard to decipher because you’re never quite sure what the hell is actually going on. There are also flashbacks to the first movie, because why wouldn’t there be? Half the second movie was flashbacks to the first movie, so why not continue doing that? Now, I can’t say that Better Watch Out! is a good movie, but it’s definitely worth checking out in the event you happen to be a horror movie franchise completist, or a Bill Moseley fan. If you’re not either one of those things, well, Better Watch Out! is a hard movie to sit through. A very hard movie to sit through.

The movie stars Samantha Scully as Laura, a blind woman with psychic/clairvoyant capabilities who has volunteered to participate in a very special sleep study for a Dr. Newbury (Richard Beymer). Newbury hopes to somehow have Laura establish a psychic connection with the comatose killer Ricky Caldwell (Bill Moseley) so she can then tell him what the hell is going on inside Ricky’s mind. It’s a bizarre study to be sure, not to mention traumatic as hell for Laura. In fact, when the movie begins, we experience Laura’s most frightening session to date. When Laura wakes up, she tells Newbury what happened when she made a mind connection with him, and then she tells him that she no longer wants to participate in the study at all. The whole thing is freaking Laura the fuck out. Newbury basically ignores her plea and asks her to wait a few days and mull it over, as her psychic abilities are invaluable to his research into Ricky’s mind. Laura sort of agrees to think about it and tells Newbury she’ll have a final decision on whether or not she will continue with the research after Christmas. See, Laura is going to see her grandmother, who lives out in the middle of nowhere, for the holidays, and she would much rather think about that than whatever the hell is going on inside Ricky Caldwell’s sick and twisted mind.

So Laura, along with her brother Chris (Eric Da Rae) and his girlfriend Jerri (Laura Herring), heads off for the country and grandma’s house. As they travel, strange shit starts to happen inside Ricky’s mind. He starts to experience flashbacks to the first Silent Night, Deadly Night movie and the whole “Santa Claus killer” thing. Ricky is then accosted by a drunk asshole who shows up dressed as Santa (director Monte Hellman). These two incidents cause Ricky to “wake up” from his coma, and we all know what happens when wacked out killers “wake up” from their comas, right? The body count begins. Ricky, shuffling around and essentially mute, kills the Santa clad man, then kills a hospital receptionist, and heads out of the hospital in search of Laura.

See, because of the whole “psychic connection” thing, Ricky has developed “feelings” for Laura and wants to find her. In fact, “Laura” is the only word he says for most of the movie. So Ricky leaves the hospital, still in his hospital gown and with his fucking brain exposed under the see-through dome, and starts heading towards Laura’s grandmother’s place out in the country.

Laura’s trip to grandma’s house is generally uneventful, at least on the “there’s a killer coming after you!” front. There’s quite a bit of tension between Laura and Jerri, as Laura has no family besides her grandmother and Chris and doesn’t want to lose any more family (her parents were killed in a plane crash that caused Laura’s blindness). Jerri tries to be a good sport about Laura’s assholish behavior, but Laura just won’t quit. Laura is pretty and going through stuff, yes, but she can also be a real jerk when she wants to be.

And so Laura, Chris, and Jerri arrive at grandma’s house. Ricky follows a few hours behind. And now the cops are trying to figure out what the hell is going on. Lt. Connely (Robert Culp) starts his investigation at the hospital, questioning Dr. Newbury about Ricky, what sort of shape he’s in, and why the hell he wasn’t just killed because he’s too goddamn dangerous to remain alive. Newbury doesn’t believe that Ricky is necessarily that dangerous anymore, and he wants to help him continue to survive. So Newbury teams up with Connely to figure out where Ricky is and how to stop him. Connely has no problem killing Ricky. Newbury wants Ricky to live.

As you would expect, all three of these plots eventually converge, with Ricky attacking Laura, Chris, and Jerri at grandma’s house and the cops eventually figuring out that that’s where Ricky was headed. And it takes seemingly forever for those three plots to come together. Part of that is likely due to having Ricky be a shuffling killer who walks like a goddamn zombie. He isn’t a supernatural killer that can appear and reappear at will. He’s just some guy that walks very, very slowly. Now, you may wonder why no one Ricky walks into/meets on the way to Laura’s grandma’s house questions his appearance or demeanor. I mean, Ricky is wearing a hat to cover his exposed brain, but the hat is so ill fitting that it looks ridiculous. Ricky is also wearing his hospital gown for a good portion of his initial escape, which no one questions. Ricky also manages to steal a car after hitchhiking. Even if you’re a good and decent person who likes to look at the bright side of things and believes in the inherent goodness of humanity there’s no way in fucking hell you’re picking up Ricky on the side of the road. If you have a car phone, you might call 911 or the police, but are you really going to allow him to get into your car? No way. There’s just no way that would ever happen.

When the plots do converge, the movie still moves at a snail’s pace. You’d think that Ricky at grandma’s house would amp up the tension and be scary as hell, but it’s just something that happens. Laura, Chris, and Jerri know that Ricky is there and try to deal with the situation, but they’re not as scared as you’d expect them to be. And when Ricky does kill someone, my God, he either kills that person off screen or the death scene is so boring and devoid of nastiness. I mean, Ricky cuts a guy’s head off, but we don’t see him do it, we just see the aftermath. What kind of shit is that? Why aren’t we seeing him saw that guy’s fucking head off? And why isn’t there more cat and mouse or stalking?

I’d also like to know how Ricky can overpower his victims. He doesn’t appear to be super strong, he can barely move, and his fucking brain is exposed. How the hell is he a killer that people can’t seem to stop? And how can he kill people? How can he overpower them? Better Watch Out! probably would have been more successful if director Hellman had shown more of everything; stalking, killing, everything you expect to see in a slasher movie. And why aren’t there more people for Ricky to kill? Perhaps if there had been more people at grandma’s house, the body count could have been higher. Higher body counts are usually a plus in slasher movies. Usually.

The cast is generally good, at least the two main characters are. Samantha Scully does a great job as Laura, the blind psychic. She’s smart and inquisitive, and she ends up being incredibly resourceful when the shit hits the fan and Ricky shows up. She can’t see a thing, but her lack of sight isn’t going to stop her from trying to survive. She also uses her inherent psychic abilities to figure things out, which is what a person would likely do if he or she had those abilities. Why the heck didn’t Scully have more of an acting career? According to imdb she only appeared in four movies over the course of about eight years. Why wasn’t she a big time horror actress, or at least an actress with like ten slasher movies to her credit?

Bill Moseley does a great job with a truly lame part as Ricky. As I’ve said, he’s a shuffling killer with an exposed brain who seems to be an unstoppable monster, which is insane and ridiculous. Still, Moseley makes the most of it and actually starts to be kind of scary towards the end, when he starts to do more than stare blankly out into space. Moseley also somehow manages to survive one of the worst looking “killer smashes through a door” scenes in movie history. That takes goddamn talent.

Eric Da Rae does an okay job as Chris, Laura’s brother. He doesn’t have much of a part to play but he still makes the most of it and gets a nice shotgun scene towards the end. He doesn’t know how to die, though, but then his death scene sucks anyway so it’s not really his fault. Laura Herring does an interesting job as Jerri, Chris’ girlfriend. She kind of looks like Scully’s Laura, which can get confusing at times, and is sort of creepy when you think about it. Why does Chris have a girlfriend that looks like his sister? Why isn’t Jerri blonde or something? Jerri deserved better than she gets under that bed.

Richard Beymer is a piece of garbage as Dr. Newbury. His research sounds like bullshit, and even when we see the research working it still sounds like bullshit. And how the hell did Newbury establish that psychics are real things in the first place? And when?

And then there’s Robert Culp as Lt. Connely. Why is he in the movie besides the paycheck? He doesn’t shoot anyone, he barely investigates anything, and his best scene is when he decides to stop on the side of the road to piss while in hot pursuit of Ricky the escaped killer. Why the hell would he do that? What sort of grizzled cop stops on the side of the road to piss when it’s of the upmost importance that he gets to where he needs to go to stop a killer from killing again? It makes no sense.

And then there’s the goddamn ending. It sucks. Ricky isn’t dead, Laura doesn’t really triumph, and the story just sort of stops. Did the producers expect to make another sequel with the Ricky character again and that’s why his head doesn’t explode or he isn’t set on fire or something? I mean, the movie just ends with no resolution, no cliffhanger, no anything. It just ends. It doesn’t get much more unsatisfying than that.

In the end, that’s what you’re likely to remember about Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out!. It’s unsatisfying. It doesn’t really work. And despite some decent performances, the main characters can’t save a terrible movie from being a terrible movie. Better Watch Out! is just too crappy for its own good. A movie with a killer that has an exposed brain should be way better than Better Watch Out!. Way goddamn better.

Only see Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out! if you’re a Bill Moseley fan or a horror franchise completist. Otherwise, you should probably avoid it. It’s not going to be worth your time.

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: 8

Explosions: None.

Nudity?: Yes, and it’s not bad.

Doobage: A woman waking up, an exposed brain, a scalpel, arm cutting, a white rom covered in blood, a man in a Santa outfit, a knife wielding Santa, dream hooey, a flashback to the first movie, attempted relaxation, rape, a collapsible blind person stick, serious off screen throat slitting with blood smearing, a drunk Santa Claus, hilariously bad and offensive jokes about a person in a coma being a vegetable, a pool of anger, blood spurts on the phone, a speed bump, truck stealing, booze drinking, a hopefully dirty phone call, an old woman making dinner, talk of chestnut dressing and gooseberry pie, a severed head on the desk, crime scene investigation, attempted gift giving, an impromptu bath with off screen bathtub sex, back scrubbing, a poorly timed jump scare, an apparition, attempted phone call, total door destruction, arm stabbing, pissing on the side of the road, double barrel shotgun hooey, chest stabbing, a bloody mouth, gut stabbing, a piano barricade, glass door smashing, an under the bed off screen death, more door smashing, a mouse, light bulb smashing, pool cue breaking, strangulation, impalement on a sharp wooden stick, exposed intestines (maybe), and a shitty goddamn ending.

Kim Richards?: Attempted in the flashback to the first movie.

Gratuitous:Bill Moseley, a doctor talking into a tape recorder, a leather jacket, psychic bullshit, a weird “she’ll let me go deeper” monologue that’s both sexual and not sexual, a brail wrist watch, Monet Hellman dressed as Santa, talk of extra sensory perception, Bill Moseley hitchhiking, a Texaco gas station, a gas station attendant watching The Terror, blinking Christmas tree lights, turkey basting, Robert Culp, a VCR, a picture of Martin Luther King, Jr. on the mantle for some reason, an attempt to sing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” a car phone, Bill Moseley smashing through a door, Robert Culp stopping to take a piss on the side of the road, and a shitty goddamn ending.

Best lines: “Laura!,” “I dreamed I could see,” “Laura, tell me what you saw in your dream,” “Can I go to the bathroom?,” “There’s nothing to be afraid of. Nothing. Just sleep. And dream,” “You’re going to Peru?,” “Oh, and thank you for the oranges,” “Doctor, I don’t think I want to do this anymore,” “Bitch,” “Merry Christmas! Not for you,” “Lick my candy cane, little girl,” “Hey, vegetable, who’s your favorite singer? Perry Coma?,” “I just want to be normal!,” “Yes? Can I help you?,” “I never shake on the first date,” “Laura will kick your ass on water skis,” “Ricky!,” “Cristo, what happened to you? Did you get a head transplant?,” “I want to talk dirty to you. Greg?,” “She sees what he sees!,” “Even his life has value, lieutenant,” “I’m sorry, doc, but all this New Age stuff goes over my head,” “Shit! I forgot to pick up some butter,” “You’re not blowing smoke up my ass, are ya, doc?,” “Where’s Orion? I don’t see it,” “It’s not funny, Chris!,” “My picture. It’s gone,” “Red reactivates his childhood trauma,” “Can you hear me, Ricky? Did you find her yet? Is your soul still searching?,” “There are no innocent people, lieutenant,” “Well, studying snails is your thing, doc. Stomping on them is mine,” “She woke you up, didn’t she?,” “Jerri. I’m sorry I was mean to you,” “Now we’re even,” “Hey bubblehead! Is it live or is it Memorex?,” “I’m over here, Ricky. Come and play!,” and “I love you, Chris.”

Rating: 4.5/10.0

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Well, I think that’ll be about it for now. Don’t forget to sign up with disqus if you want to comment on this article and any other 411 article. You know you want to, so just go do it.

B-movies rule. Always remember that.

Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays!

Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out!

Samantha Scully– Laura
Bill Moseley– Ricky Caldwell
Richard Beymer– Dr. Newbury
Eric Da Rae– Chris
Laura Herring– Jerri
Robert Culp– Lt. Connely
Elizabeth Hoffman– Granny

Directed by Monet Hellman
Screenplay byCarlos Laszlo, based on a story by Monte Hellman, A.H. Gorson, and Carlos Laszlo

Distributed by Avid Home Video, International Video Entertainment, and Lionsgate Home Entertainment

Rated R for graphic violence, language, rape, and nudity
Runtime– 90 minutes

Buy it here or here


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