” ‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was left living…”
Is there anything better than a good horror film around the holidays? Back in the 70s, director Theodore Gershuny couldn’t agree with me more. His dark, twisted vision of family bonds, Silent Night, Bloody Night is forever a living testament to the old addage, “There’s no place like home for the holidays”.
Set in rural Massachusetts, Silent Night, Bloody Night is the story of a man, Jeff (James Patterson) who inherits the small mansion once owned by his late grandfather. Completely uninterested in taking ownership, Jeff decides to sell the house. Thanks to its history, however, this proves a little stickier than he had hoped. You see, back in the day, the estate was once an asylum. Made so by his grandfather following, what he refers to as, a brutal assault perpetrated on his 15-year old daughter which left her pregnant. Destroyed by the change in his daughter, he converted the estate into a mental hospital, bringing renown doctors to help make her well again.
Flash forward to Christmas Eve. A dangerous patient escapes from a local asylum. Phone calls begin originating from within the house. Jeff sets out to investigate with Diane (Mary Woronov) but things just get weirder and weirder especially when they hit an old man with their car (John Carradine) and then leave him for dead in a ditch on the side of the road. Oh, yeah … did I mention it’s Christmas Eve? Merry Christmas, old man!
The overall atmosphere of Silent Night, Bloody Night is everything you want when you’re sitting down to watch an old horror flick. It’s dark and ambient with a touch of the Gothic. It predates another perennial holiday horror favorite, Black Christmas (starring Margot Kidder), and has been called a “minor gem” by Allmovie because of its atmosphere. The final reveal is original for the time and worthy of wading through the sometimes (lazy) feel of a typical 70s film.
While the film is in dire need of restoration and its pacing is sure to bore many young filmgoers to tears, Silent Night, Bloody Night still has much to offer.
Wiki facts: Silent Night, Bloody Night
Remake? Maybe: UK Company Might Remake Silent Night, Bloody Night
Rotten or Fresh? 39%