Eschewing the “Killer Santa” angle from the first 3 installments, Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation veers into a completely new direction (think Halloween 3: Season of the Witch). Clint Howard (ugly and great as always) witnesses a woman on fire plunge to her death from the top of a tall building. Although this garners little press, a stubborn reporter, Kim, decides to take it upon herself to explore this story further despite being told by her J. Jonah Jamison boss not to bother (why is every reporter’s boss always an asshole?).
Kim’s investigation leads her to a local bookstore where she befriends Fima, an expert on mythology. After giving Kim a book about a virgin goddess she invites her to a picnic with some of her (creepy) friends. During the picnic Kim is slipped a mickey and she begins to hallucinate. Slowly she realizes that Fima is part of a coven and she has set her sights set on her to be the newest member. Fima reveals that the woman who died at the beginning of the film was her daughter and she wants Kim to take her place. Escaping the coven is not easy when you have Clint Howard on your tail and weird bugs start showing up in your apartment.
Having absolutely nothing to do with Christmas SNDN4 is nonetheless the best installment in the entire series. Clint Howard is at his very best as Fima’s pussy-whipped (I hate that expression) servant. He has the uncanny ability to viciously murder someone and yet seconds later become totally sympathetic in an “Aw, gee, shucks” kind of way. The film plays like a fever dream where it is unclear whether Kim is witnessing reality or simply having the greatest trip ever. At one point a large worm is inserted into a woman’s abdomen only to immediately emerge out of her mouth as a much larger worm, eeeeeeew! There are many gross out sequences like this including some killer pasta – yes, killer pasta. The Silent Night, Deadly Night films are generally awful but SNDN4 is worth checking out and I have a feeling that it will become a regular part of my horror rotation.