Movie Review – Silent Night, Bloody Night (1973)

Silent Night, Bloody Night
Directed by Theodore Gershuny
Courtesy of Film Chest Media
Original Release Date: 1973
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: December 10, 2013

silent night

SILENT NIGHT, BLOODY NIGHT is one of those films that I had heard about for a long, long time and had even seen in video stores…but for some reason, I never picked it up. I’m not sure why because it has a big cult following, which means it’s right up my alley. The fine folks at Film Chest Media sent me a copy to review, so I eagerly threw it into my player. While not perfect, it’s a great horror film that any genre enthusiast will no doubt enjoy.

If you are not familiar with SILENT NIGHT, BLOODY NIGHT, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Film Chest Media:

A young man inherits a house in which his grandfather died in a fire, that was once used as an insane asylum. When he puts it up for sale, an axe wielding madman is hiding there and threatening anyone who comes near the house. Who is this deranged murderer and why do the local townspeople act so strange? In the 70s, Silent Night, Bloody Night was primarily a drive-in theater B movie before disappearing into obscurity. However, in the mid-1980s the film was featured on Elvira’s Movie Macabre where its exposure would begin a cult following.

Before you sit down to watch this film, you have to remind yourself the era in which it was made. Back in 1973, Hammer horror was on the decline and many American studios were trying to skirt past the dark, Gothic undertones that had made the style so popular. As a result, these studios looked to push the envelope in areas previously made famous by hammer. You might say this is ultimately what led to the slasher-flick craze.

Which is basically what SILENT NIGHT, BLOODY NIGHT is…a stylized slasher-flick. But keep in mind: this was one of the first. Up to this point, the formula for horror was a mish-mash of nuclear-test scares and overdone ‘legendary monster’ tropes. This film sorta broke the mold for that and introduced an almost Hitchcock-like style to the modern horror film.

The cinematography in the film is ok, but pretty basic. The same can be said for the acting. But again, we’re talking about the early 70s here, so a bit of forgiveness should be allowed. I am impressed by the gore, however. When the killer enters the bedroom and starts wailing on two people with an axe, the blood goes flying…and it looks great. Even their death throes are believable.

SILENT NIGHT, BLOODY NIGHT is an obscure title, but I suggest checking it out if you’re looking for some nostalgic horror. It won’t be for everyone, but if you can look past the grainy picture and the static-filled sound, you’re in for a treat. This remastered Film Chest Media version will be available next week, so make a note.

MSB

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