Silent Night, Bloody Night – USA, 1972 – reviews

‘The mansion. The madness. The maniac. No escape.’

Silent Night, Bloody Night is a 1972 American psychological horror film directed by Theodore Gershuny (Sugar Cookies) from a screenplay co-written with Jeffrey Konvitz (The Sentinel) and Ira Teller. Future Troma head honcho, Lloyd Kaufman was an associate producer.

The movie was filmed with the working title Zora, before being titled Night of the Dark Full Moon and released very sporadically. It was released in 1974 as Silent Night, Bloody Night (the title by which it is best known) and again during the 1981 horror boom as DeathHouse (Death House on some advertising). 

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The film stars Patrick O’Neal and Mary Woronov in leading roles, with John Carradine in a supporting performance. Many of the cast and crew members were former Andy Warhol collaborators: Mary Woronov, Ondine, Candy Darling, Kristen Steen, Tally Brown, Lewis Love, filmmaker Jack Smith and artist Susan Rothenberg.

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People trying to sell an isolated mansion with a dark history in Massachusetts are being stalked and killed by an escaped maniac. But who is this deranged murderer and why do the local townspeople act so strange?

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Reviews [click links to read more]:

“Silent Night, Bloody Night is a painfully slow affair, plotted for maximum irritation, with a deferred mystery structure that will have you screaming with impatience after the first hour. Gershuny shows some visual style, as seen in isolated arty shots here and there, but he directs in ponderous mood, patching over events he can’t properly elaborate with snippets of tiresome voiceover (and the post-synch recording is poor for an American film…” Stephen Thrower, Nightmare USA: The Untold Story of the Exploitation Independents

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This movie has it all–it’s ambitious, gothic, disturbing, atmospheric, scary, twisty, a whole lot of fun to watch–oh, and well acted, written, and directed…If Night of the Living Dead set the standard for zombie flicks to come, Silent Night, Bloody Night set the standard for approximately every slasher flick that followed. Nearly every scene (and plot device and technique) is ripped off by later films, even by classics of the genre…’ Hysteria Lives

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“Surreal and sometimes confusing film…” Brian Albright, Regional Horror Films, 1958 – 1990

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Cast and characters:

  • Patrick O’Neal as John Carter
  • James Patterson as Jeffrey Butler
  • Mary Woronov as Diane Adams
  • Astrid Heeren as Ingrid
  • John Carradine as Charlie Towman
  • Walter Abel as Mayor Adams
  • Fran Stevens as Tess Howard
  • Walter Klavun as Sheriff Bill Mason
  • Philip Bruns as Wilfred Butler (1929) (as Phillip Bruns)
  • Staats Cotsworth as Wilfred Butler (voice)
  • Jay Garner as Doctor Robinson
  • Donelda Dunne as Marianne Butler (age 15)
  • Michael Pendry as Doctor
  • Lisa Blake Richards as Maggie Daly
  • Grant Code as Wilfred Butler (age 80)
  • Debbie Parness as Marianne Butler (age 8)
  • Charlotte Fairchild as Guest
  • Barbara Sand as Guest
  • Candy Darling as Guest
  • Ondine as Inmate
  • Tally Brown as Inmate
  • Lewis Love as Inmate
  • Harvey Cohen as Inmate
  • Hetty MacLise as Inmate
  • George Trakas as Inmate
  • Susan Rothenberg as Inmate
  • Cleo Young as Inmate
  • Kristeen Steen as Inmate
  • Jack Smith as Inmate
  • Leroy Lessane as Inmate
  • Bob Darchi as Inmate

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Filming locations:

Shooting began on 30 November 1970, Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York, USA

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