I love SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT PART 2. A whole lot.
Look – Christmas in general is a pretty loony time. Whereas the first SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT is a pretty mean-spirited horror film and the follow up sequels are, for the most part, unrelated, I’ve always considered the 2nd one the party pleaser. And I stand by that! I even did a “fan commentary” for the movie with actor AJ Bowen over on Icons Of Fright a couple of years ago. And I owe it all to one character. The bad-ass known as Ricky Caldwell, as played by the great Eric Freeman. He’s so darned awesome that, earlier this week, when I saw a theatrical revival screening of the first SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT, I immediately called out “Woo hoo! Ricky!” when he appeared in the opening as a baby.
It got me thinking. There’s a whole lot of people that portrayed Ricky in the sequel. Of course there’s Eric Freeman who plays him for the majority of the movie as “adult Ricky.” But then there are flashback sequences to him when he’s approximately 14-ish. Then again at 16. And then again at 18! Not to mention the footage from part 1 where we see Ricky as a baby. And then another child actor playing Ricky at 4, as well as another kid playing 10-ish Ricky. So added up, there are freakin’ 6 Rickys in all in SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT PART 2. And they’re all going to have to duke it out for who’s the best in this week’s “Character Showdown!” Let’s go in order!
OK, as we all know by now, the original 1984 SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT would’ve been a huge hit, if parents groups hadn’t immediately boycotted and picketed the theaters showing the film, forcing them to pull it after only the first week! In an attempt to get the most out of the movie, Lee Harry was brought in to re-edit the original so they could release it again as the sequel. Instead, as he retweaked it, he managed to convince the producers to pool together a bit of money and let him shoot the new sequences with adult Ricky which make up a good 2/3rds of the final film. There’s still a ton of reused footage. So the first time we meet Ricky, he’s actually an infant played by Melissa Best! That’s right. Baby Ricky isn’t even a he! He’s a she!
And since little Billy at age 8 is played by Jonathan Best, I’m going to take a guess that this was all a family affair. Cutting ahead, the next time we see Ricky again, he’s now 4 years old and played by Max Broadhead. It’s a flashback scene once again from the original where he asks, “Billy, what’s wrong?” And the little boy he’s playing with retorts, “Your brother’s a nutcase, that’s what’s wrong.” Son of a gun!
The next time we see Ricky, he’s approximately 14 years old and played by Alex Burton. It’s the moment when he’s reaching out for good ol’ Santa Claus who then violently gets gunned down in front of Ricky and all the other children from the orphanage. It turns out to actually be Father O’Brien, the 50-something deaf priest!
Now here’s the weird shift. There are more scenes with 14 year old Ricky in SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT PART 2, so at the very end when he’s staring at Mother Superior and says “naughty,” there’s a clever edit right on the kid’s sweater and he’s swapped out by actor Brian Michael Henley, listed in the credits as Billy age 10.
Ricky has a fairly happy childhood with the Rosenbergs for quite a while until his adoptive father passes. This happens a few short years later when he’s 16. That’s when Darrel Guilbeau takes over the role of Ricky and sports blonde streaks in the front of his bangs ala Jon Cryer circa late 80’s.
We learn that at 16, Ricky makes his first kill. He runs over an attempted date rapist in the park, repeatedly. The girlfriend thanks him for the good deed, and the incident goes unreported until Ricky confesses it to Dr. Henry Bloom! Now here’s my favorite jump of all. He’s 16 above. At 18, his adoptive mother apparently couldn’t afford to send him to college, so the next time we see Ricky is at 18 years old, where he’s working at a restaurant. In the course of 2 years, Ricky hibernated into a little cocoon and emerged as a big and beautiful Eric Freeman.
From this point on, this is the definitive and epic version of Ricky. He takes out a mafia thug with an umbrella. He takes care of some annoying, noisy theater goers during a movie. And once he fries his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend Chip with a car battery, he’s unleashed and goes on a murdering spree! He’s locked up until the conclusion of SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT PART 2 where he finally realizes his destiny. He must kill Mother Superior!
Now before we move on to the poll to judge our favorite Ricky from SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT PART 2, I just want to show more appreciation for the many versions of Ricky as portrayed by Eric Freeman. There’s biker Ricky:
Blue sweater rampage Ricky:
And last but certainly not least Killer Santa Ricky!
We’ve broken them all down. All 6 people to play Ricky in the sequel. Now who of the bunch is your favorite? It’s no contest, right?