Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Silent Night, Bloody Night (1972)

Like a lot of low budget horror flicks, this film is "blessed" with multiple titles, so you might find it as Night of the Dark Full Moon or Death House.  Unlike many of them, though, it is also endowed with a remake (Silent Night, Bloody Night: the Homecoming), while a sequel is reputed to be in production.

So does this film have something that others of its ilk do not, to explain why it generated enough interest for a remake and sequel?  Well honestly, I suspect that the main reason for its endurance is its Christmas Eve setting.  About five years after its release it became a regular part of the late night film rotation during November and December, which doubtless means it was seen by a lot of teenagers in the late 70s and early 80s.

Despite my rather prosaic suspicions about the cause of its success, I must give the film some credit.  While the script is errant nonsense - and creepy for all the wrong reasons - the central performances are all solid, and there's some fine giallo-style direction, right down to murders from the killer's and/or victim's point of view.  The writer/director was definitely better at the latter than the former.

So what's the less-than-stellar story about?  Well, a man dies and leaves his estate to his young grandson.  As part of the bequest, he stipulates in his Will that his house must be preserved unchanged.

Twenty years later, the grandson wants to sell the home.  But when he and his lawyer arrive in town to arrange a sale to a group of notable locals (the mayor, the sheriff, and so on), someone starts murdering everyone involved in the transaction.  Who?  Why?  Well honestly the answers to those questions are not worth your time, even if the journey to get to them is significantly better than the destination.

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