Silent Night, Bloody Night (1972, aka Night of the Dark Full Moon)

Silent Night, Bloody Night (1972)Synopsis:

In 1950, a wealthy man dies under mysterious circumstances. He leaves his house to a grandson (James Patterson, In the Heat of the Night). Twenty years later, the young heir, who never lived in the house, hires a real estate agent to sell the property. Meanwhile, on Christmas Eve, a man escapes from a mental institution and gets busy chopping up people.

Reaction & Thoughts:

Silent Night, Bloody Night (aka Night of the Dark Full Moon), written by Ira Teller and Jeffrey Konvitz, directed by Theodore Gershuny, has its flaws, including an overly complicated narrative, but it is spooky and entertaining in equal measure.

Although not entirely successful, this horror film has achieved long-lasting notoriety because it is one of the very first holiday themed slashers produced in USA. It predates Black Christmas (1974), Halloween (1978), and Christmas Evil (1980). That alone makes it stand out among other horror films.

By now, of course, it’s an old hat, but a few interesting ideas make it watchable. The movie is told entirely through flashbacks (Mary Woronov, Mrs. Theodore Gershuny, narrates the film). We know exactly who is going to survive the carnage. It’s also easy to guess the identity of the killer. The lack of any real surprises make it more disturbing than anything else. The murder sequences are few, but some of them are truly gruesome.

In contrast with the teen-oriented slashers of the ’70s and ’80s, the movie has no qualms about casting old pros in key roles. Character actors Patrick O’Neal (The Stepford Wives) plays a real estate agent and Walter Abel (Mr. Skeffington) plays the town’s Mayor. John Carradine (Stagecoach) has a small role as an elder statesman. They all add an air of credibility to the proceedings. The cast also includes John Randolph Jones, Candy Darling, Astrid Heeren, and Fran Stevens. Nice music score by Gershon Kingsley.

Conclusions & Final Thoughts:

Silent Night, Bloody Night is pretty good that would interest horror fans hunting for an entertaining fright flick. It would make a great double feature with Christmas Evil, Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984), or Silent Night (2012). Remade in 2013. Color, 85 minutes, Rated R.

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