It’s Christmas Eve in a small American town. It’s 1974, and this is a low, low-budget movie, so the film stock is pretty terrible and the decades of degradation have left it grainy, dark and mottled. This actually improves the film.
The plot of Silent Night, Bloody Night seems simple at first. As Jeffrey Butler comes home to claim his inheritance — a former asylum for the criminally insane, now a decrepit mansion — a killer escapes from another nearby institution. Blood turns the snow red as old secrets are revealed in classic Cannon Films style.
Cliched? Yes. Trite? No. Crappy print quality aside (this is one of those public domain films that turns up on those 30-movies-for-ten-bucks sets), this is a strong film, an hour and 20 minutes of suspense and remarkably effective cinematography. The flashback scenes to the days when the asylum was operating are particularly frightening, with a nightmarish gloom about them that slows your heartbeat, then starts it speeding again.
- I’m watching one of my horror movies each day in October. There’s a lot of crap but a lot of good stuff, too.