- Rot 2019
Silent Night, Bloody Night
Ami Artzi, Jeffrey Konvitz, Lloyd Kaufman (associate), Frank Vitale (associate) for Armor Films, Zora Investments Associate, Cannon
directed by Theodore Gershuny
starring Patrick O'Neal, James Patterson, Mary Woronov, Astrid Heeren, John Carradine, Walter Abel, Fran Stevens, Walter Klavun, Philip Bruns, Staats Cotsworth (voice), Ondine, Tally Brown, Lewis Love, Candy Darling, Harvey Cohen, Hetty MacListe, Jay Garner, Donelda Dunne, Charlotte Fairchild, Michael Pendry, Alex Stevens, Barbara Sand, Lisa Blake Richards, John Randolph Jones, George Strus, Grant Cole, Debbie Parness
story by Jeffrey Konvitz, Ira Teller, screenplay by Jeffrey Konvitz, Ira Teller, Theodore Gershuny, music by Gershon Kingsley
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20 years ago, Wilfred Butler burned to death, however, much of this
death was shrouded in mystery. Now, Butler's grandson Jeffrey (James
Patterson) wants to sell his father's house because he needs some money.
But the lawyer (Patrick O'Neal) he sends to finalize the sale - to the
town, actually - is soon slaughtered along with his girlfriend (Astrid
Heeren) when he spends a night at the house.
After that, several people are called to the house by someone who
claims to be Maryanne, Wilfred Butler's thought dead daughter, including
the local sheriff (Walter Klavun), the local switchboard operator (Fran
Stevens) and the owner of the local newspaper (John Carradine, in a mute
role) - and they are slaughtered as well.
Eventually, Jeffrey Butler hits town and soon becomes friendly with the
mayor's (Walter Abel) daughter Diane (Mary Woronov), and they try to
figure out what's going on. They find out that Wilfred Butler's house had
been turned into an asylum many years ago when he realized that his
daughter Maryanne has gone off the hook after she had been raped and
subsequently given birth to Jeff - who was soon after sent away and told
his mother had died at childbirth. However, what happened to the asylum
and its inmates seems to be erased from all the town records. To find out
that, Jeff and Diane have to actually go to the Butler house and find
Wilfred Butler's diary - which tells Jeff that his mother was actually
raped by none other than her own father who then turned his house into an
asylum for her sake, but when he found out the doctors at the asylum were
mere charlatans, he released all the asylum's inmates from their cells and
they slaughtered the doctors ... and Maryanne as well. The inmates in
question were of course the dead sheriff, the dead switchboard operator
and the dead newspaper-owner ... and the mayor. Above all that, Jeff also
finds out that Wilfred Butler has only staged his own death and must be
waiting somewhere in the wings to make his next killing ... by that time
though, the mayor has entered the house, and when he startles jeff, both
men pull their guns and shoot each other dead. It's only then that the
killer - Wilfred Butler of course - attacks Diane, but she is packing a
gun as well and shoots him before he can even as much as touch her. But
still, in one go she has lost her boyfriend and her father ...
Quite obviously, this is a cheaply produced independent film, but that
doesn't make the film bad, actually not bad at all: Silent Night,
Bloody Night is actually a moody blend of all-out horror, murder
mystery and serialkiller flick in the slasher tradition (a genre that did
not even hit it bigtime until a few years later) that features an
intelligent plot that features enough unusual twists and turns to keep one
interested. Unfortunately, the film does occasionally fall short of its
promises: At tiems the script is rather inconsistent and uneven and does
not do its interesting basic plot justice, some scenes simply lack the
power they should have had (due most probably to budgetary restrictions)
and in some scenes the film is simply lacking the necessary suspense - but
all of this is not enough to really destroy the film.
Probably not for everyone, but if you're into 1970's independent
shockers, especially of the weird variety, then you should probably watch
review © by Mike Haberfelner
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