Watching a new holiday themed horror flick in the days leading up to Christmas has become a new tradition in the Malmborg household, though one that only two to three members of the family actually take part in. Normally this movie watching event takes place sometime between the twentieth and twenty-second because on the twenty-third the family watches a special episode of The X-Files. This year the horror movie had to follow the viewing of The X-Files due to it only having arrived that morning. Silent Night, Bloody Night, released in 1973, was the movie of choice. My little brother and I stumbled upon it while browsing websites last week, our realization that we were not going to be able to find a copy of Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984) or Don’t Open Till Christmas (1984) in time having spurred us into a holiday horror movie seeking frenzy (we really want to see those two movies for some reason, but completely struck out this year). From what we read about Silent Night, Bloody Night, it was supposed to be a pretty good little holiday horror flick -- a forgotten horror gem is what many said on the various ‘buy it here’ websites -- one that had a impenetrable mystery and creepy vide throughout. Both terms were pretty accurate, and could honestly have made for a great viewing if it weren’t for the ridiculous plot twist at the end, and the expressionless voicing of the lines by several of the actors.
Silent Night, Bloody Night is the tale of a house that has a dark past, one whose mysterious owner wants to sell to the town officials so they can finally wipe the landscape clear of the horrid structure. The owner’s name is Jeffery Butler. He is the grandson of a man who was burned to death many years earlier after returning to the house after an odd absence that no one fully understood. Having never actually seen the house, and not really wanting anything to do with it it, Jeffery sends a lawyer to sell the place on his behalf, his asking price incredibly low so that the town will hopefully take it without much thought. Even with the low price, however, the town officials hesitate, a strange unspoken concern about the place obviously present within them. Waiting for their reply the lawyer and his girlfriend go stay at the house, their lives quickly cut short by an ax carrying stranger who was already within the house. After that the town officials are lured to the house one by one by a mysterious caller from within, one who seems to want vengeance on these officials, the motive unknown. For some reason Jeffery also decides to head to the house despite his desire to sell it through a lawyer. Hooked up with a girl whose house he pretty much walked into, the two start to investigate the strange events taking place at the house, the reasons behind them quickly coming to light as Jeffery reads the diary of his grandfather. With that everything comes together and the final bit of horror is unleashed.
Ridiculous plot twist and expressionless acting aside, the movie did have a creepy unsettling vibe running throughout it. Sadly this wasn’t enough to make the movie a worthwhile viewing. It was just too slow, and watching the actors go through their lines made it feel like one was viewing a simple read through of the script rather than the final product. Seriously, there was no expression whatsoever when it came to the dialogue between the characters. Everyone just talked at each other while staring straight ahead, which, while creepy, was also annoying. Another creepy, yet annoying feature was what my brother called the ‘wax museum’ scenes. These moments were found throughout the film and featured actors who didn’t move at all, almost as if the audience was looking at a photograph rather than actual film. Now, I’ve heard some reviewers compliment his because it added a level of madness to the people, one that went well with the twist in the story. To me, though, the twist was so ridiculous and unbelievable, that it made those ‘wax museum’ scenes pointless. In the end this is a movie I would only recommend to those who want to see everything that is out there in terms of holiday horror, one that I hope they won’t spend too much money on because it most likely won’t be something that will be watched over and over again.