December 6, 2013

DVD Review: Silent Night, Bloody Night (1974)


http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070694/
When people talk about this movie, they always seem to point out that it pre-dated Black Christmas by two years, and that it somehow did so many of the things that Black Christmas did, first.

I can see that to a point, but let's be clear here; Bob Clark didn't lift anything from SNBN for his own film. Aside from the some creepy phone calls and the POV shots of the killers moving around, the two films aren't very similar at all.

Silent Night, Bloody Night doesn't even have much to do with Christmas, truth be told, aside from a very vague Christmastime "setting."

SNBN is the story of Wilfred Butler, and the famous (in the movie) "Butler House." Wilfred and his family live a happy life in Butler House, until some shady and creepy shit goes down, which ends with Wilfred disappearing, then reappearing years later, only to set himself on fire or something. I don't know. I got confused.

What happened in that house, Maryanne?
Wilfred leaves Butler House to his grandson Jeffrey, with the caveat that it must always remain "as it is" for all of eternity.

A few decades later, Jeffrey returns to Butler House, eager to sell the sprawling mansion for the whopping sum of $50k (gotta love those 70's real estate prices.) When he arrives, he meets a hot chick with a bunch of guns, and they become fast friends in about three minutes, despite the fact that he looks and acts like a serial rapist with secrets.

Long story short, people start dying. Wilfred's long-dead daughter, Maryanne, begins making creepy phone calls to the town's residents, urging them all to come out to the house for a visit, which no one does, because they're all terrified of the place and its history.

Confusion and creepiness ensue.

The only good kill scene in the movie.
Silent Night, Bloody Night is an alright movie, but it's kinda slow, and mostly uneventful. There's hardly any connection to Christmas to be found in the film, which is a bit of a letdown considering its title. The print we watched was in poor shape, and it was really hard to tell what was going on at times. The good news, for those who want to watch the movie, is that a newly remastered DVD version of the film is being released next Tuesday, December 10th. That's a good thing.

It's also not very bloody, for a movie wit the word bloody in the title.

For all of its faults, SNBN does a decent job at being creepy. The phone calls from "Maryanne" are chilling, the atmosphere is quiet and eerie throughout, and the odd flashbacks are truly unsettling in an realistic way. Once the story unfolds, and you find out what "happened" in the Butler House so long ago, it all ends up feeling a bit more twisted and dirty.

That bitch crazy.
If you're looking for a Christmas-themed Horror movie to enjoy, this one isn't really going to do much for you. It's definitely worth a watch, but just be aware that it's a slow-moving affair. It's a "Slasher" flick, but then again, it really isn't one at all. We're glad we watched it, but it's just not going to end up being one of our favorites or anything.

It's streaming now on Amazon Instant, but if you really want to see it, I'd honestly grab the DVD when it hits shelves next week. The video quality of the Amazon stream was really poor. Like "the first and the third screenshots above" poor. *That new, way-better DVD is linked below, so enjoy!

C

Silent Night, Bloody Night is available now on DVD and VOD.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GH6U6J6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00GH6U6J6&linkCode=as2&tag=thehorclu0a-20&linkId=AQETH2O2SAOPUXR3

Long-time Genre veteran Mary Woronov is in this. She's a classic.

4 comments :

  1. Nice review! Thanks for the heads up on the quality of the Amazon instant version, that seems to happen with them from time to time.

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  2. Yeah, I don't watch a lot on Amazon Instant, but sometimes they have little movies like this that are worth it. I just wish that it hadn't looked like an old, worn out VHS tape lol

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  3. jervaise brooke hamsterDecember 17, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    I want to bugger Mary Woronov (as the bird was in 1961 when the bird was 18, not as the bird is now obviously).

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  4. Jervaise you crazy bloke, I admire your style.

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