Sunday, December 23, 2018

Movie Review: "Silent Night, Bloody Night" (1972)

Director: Theodore Gershuny
Year: 1972
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 21 minutes

When a wealthy but reclusive man dies, his grandson, who is his last living relative, inherits the home but is unable to sell it because it was his grandfather's dying wish to leave it standing. After the house sits empty for 20 years, the grandson is in need of some quick cash and decides to sell the mansion, but those involved in the sale start to get murdered one by one.

Silent Night, Bloody Night 1972 horror movie still
"You mean how many years have I lived?" (Image Source)
Not to be confused with the much more well known 1984 Santa slasher "Silent Night, Deadly Night," "Silent Night, Bloody Night" is a lesser known super low budget horror from 1972. It comes to us from director Theodore Gershuny, who also helped write the film along with Jeffery Konvitz and Ira Teller. The story revolves around an old mansion known as the Butler house. It was once owned by a wealthy man named Wilfred Butler (Philip Burns) and was even used as a mental hospital many years prior. When Wilfred meets an untimely end, he leaves his home to his only living relative, his grandson Jeffery Butler (James Patterson). Wilfred, however, put in his will that he wanted the house to be left as is and remain empty as a monument to the horror that happened there. Jeffery followed his grandfather's wishes for 20 years, but now in need of some quick cash, he decides to sell it dirt cheap. As the deal is being made, an escaped lunatic starts murdering everyone involved in the transaction.
Silent Night, Bloody Night 1972 horror movie still
"Would you like to see my maniac card from the asylum?" (Image Source)
Most Christmas horror movies strongly tie the themes and characters of the holiday to its narrative, whether it be a killer Saint Nick, a demon elf, possessed gingerbread men, or even Krampus itself. That is not the case for "Silent Night, Bloody Night." The majority of the film is set on Christmas Eve, the soundtrack has Christmas carols playing in the background, and there is one scene where a Christmas gift is given but never opened, and that is about it. So despite its name, this flick is more of a circumstantial Christmas movie than a genuine holiday horror. This is essentially a grindhouse-style movie shot on 16mm film, which causes it to have a grainy look to the final product and is actually a little charming. The narrative is a bit choppy at times, and the mystery is only modestly compelling given the limited number of characters. There are some really messed up themes that run through the movie, themes that will be enough to appall even the most seasoned horror viewers. It is a slasher and has a few bloody deaths, but most of the kills are relatively tame. If massive amounts of gore float your boat, you may want to look elsewhere. If you're willing to see past the low budget quality of the production, there are some admirable qualities to be had in "Silent Night, Bloody Night." Though messy at times, the story is interesting, even though the most compelling parts are delivered through expository flashbacks.
Silent Night, Bloody Night 1972 horror movie still
"Don't be afraid. I'm going to help you." (Image Source)
In the end, "Silent Night, Bloody Night" may be one to watch for fans of 70's grindhouse horror, but others need not apply.

My Rating: 5/10
BigJ's Rating: 6/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.3/10
RT Rating: ---%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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