Silent Night Bloody Night

Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes of public domain limbo, SNBN is beginning to build quite a reputation amongst horror enthusiasts. Filmed in 1972 and featuring a P.O.V. insane asylum escape and creepily voiced phone terrorism, this holiday horror predates slasher boom catalysts HALLOWEEN and BLACK CHRISTMAS. Many are beginning to perceive it as the missing link between 70’s sleaze and 80’s assembly line gore mongering. Cursed with one of it’s main star’s death (JAMES PATTERSON), a 2 year stint on the shelf and famously poor quality transfer issues, this film’s biggest break thus far has been a memorable presentation on ELVIRA’S MOVIE MACABRE in the mid eighties. (actually it double featured with my ultimate trauma inducer SATAN’S TRIANGLE) B-movie goddess MARY WARONOV stars as Diane Adams, the mayor’s daughter in the town of East Willard who gets wrapped up in a chain of events involving a foreboding mansion’s ownership. The house has a grim history that involves much of the town and the impending sale of the property has irked a shadowy black-gloved killer who could be anyone. What fascinates most here is the film’s unique tone and visual style. Somber, barely decipherable images float along side Woronov’s ice cold narration and an offbeat soundtrack to produce a nearly trance like effect. Fans of the eerie non-logic and ambiguous finale of LET’S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH will feel right at home here. Those who prefer a clean get away after viewing should stand warned, recalling the film’s plot as the credits roll is akin to trying to remember an elusive childhood nightmare.


  • The abrupt PSYCHO-esque axe murder cuts through the foggy atmosphere like…well, like an axe!
  • The sepia soaked flashback that plays like THE BROTHERS QUAY animating the shroud of Turin
  • Woronov’s factory cohorts CANDY DARLING and ONDINE appear
  • Wine glass shoved in eye
  • The shocking, befuddling conclusion

*KINDERFLASH!!!: For more on SNBN check out this recent review at MMMMmovies. The always alert and versed Vicar of VHS also unearthed this intriguing SNBN fansite. Thanks Vicar!

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11 years ago

Wait, I am NOT the only commenter on this world class gem of 70’s horror!?! I recently got a copy on DVD, & was absolutely dismayed to find they had attempted to “correct” those “famously poor quality transfer issues”, which are so incredibly beautiful on my original VHS copy. I can’t recommend a VHS viewing of this film highly enough, & truly hope that the lack of comments here are due to the fact that y’all are too busy watching SNBN to be commenting on it 🙂