‘The mansion. The madness. The maniac. No escape.’
Silent Night, Bloody Night is a 1972 American horror film about people being stalked and killed by an escaped maniac in an isolated mansion.
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 in 1972. It was re-released in 1974 as Silent Night, Bloody Night (the title by which it is best known) and again during the 1981 horror boom as Deathouse (Death House on most advertising).
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The film stars Patrick O’Neal (The Stuff; Chamber of Horrors; The Mad Magician) 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.
Silent Night, Bloody Night: The Homecoming (James Plumb, UK, 2013) is a British remake/reboot.
Silent Night Bloody Night is a real treat, an atmospheric thriller that has a wonderfully complicated plot that will keep you guessing.
On Christmas Eve, Jeff Butler (James Patterson) comes to an isolated town to arrange the sale of his grandfather’s home. As we discover through some wonderfully dream-like flashbacks, Jeff’s grandfather died nearly forty years ago when he was set on fire in his own home. With the help of local lady Diane (Mary Woronov), Jeff investigates his grandfather’s death and discovers that the town is full of secrets and people who are willing to kill to maintain them.
Director Theodore Gershuny uses the low budget to his advantage and the sepia-toned flashbacks are truly disturbing and haunting. Ultimately, Silent Night Bloody Night feels like a dream itself and the mystery’s solution is less important than the journey taken to reach it.
Lisa Marie Bowman, guest reviewer via Through the Shattered Lens
“As far as 70’s drive-in cheapies go, Silent Night, Bloody Night has a lot of unexpected suspense, directorial skill, and style. Obviously, it’s not without its issues, there’s some stiff performances and the long-winded, freeze-framed expository parts aren’t exactly filmic but nitpicking a film like SNBN seems feeble when the foundation is so strong.” Another Night In
“Despite including acting heavyweights such as John Carradine in Silent Night, Bloody Night what we are given is ultimately a cast of forgettable characters remiss of emotional depth or conviction. Notwithstanding a genuinely artistic final act, after its weapon-wielding kills and yarn of plot there is little left to enjoy, although some might find that this is enough to keep them watching for 85 minutes, as it did indeed me on this occasion.” Attack from Planet B
“The fitfully interesting film contains some nicely atmospheric moments and some fairly shocking gore.” The Horror Film
“A gory and gripping exploiter that looks a lot better than it’s obviously low-budget, thanks to atmospheric direction and very effective cinematography.” Alan Frank, The Horror Film Handbook
“It bears all those reassuring tell-tale signs of a bad movie […] amateur editing and filming, bad sound, bad film stock, atrocious dialogue, and the rest. Still, at least you know where you stand with a movie like Silent Night, Bloody Night. It doesn’t take long to realise that you’re trapped in bad movie hell.” John Kenneth Muir, Horror Films of the 1970s, McFarland
“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
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
“Surreal and sometimes confusing film…” Brian Albright, Regional Horror Films, 1958 – 1990
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