Silent Night, Bloody Night (1972, Theodore Gershuny)

Silent Night, Bloody Night is notable for three things. First, but sadly not foremost, is Adam Giffard’s daytime photography. Not much of the film takes place during the day, but when it does, Giffard makes it look fantastic. Even though he’s shooting questionable settings… which contributes to the second notable item.

Director Gershuny is not asking his audience for the willful suspension of disbelief. He’s asking the viewer to be pretend dumb things are not dumb. For example, those nicely shot daytime scenes? Patrick O’Neal is walking around, telling his dimwit Swedish squeeze (Astrid Heeren), about the beautiful town. It’s a dump. They’re parked next to a wrecking yard. It’s a dump.

But Gershuny also asks the viewer to ignore the stupidity of the script. The whole film–which is basically Eight Little Indians (I did count characters, but had guessed eight before I counted)–centers around this horrifying incident in the past. Except the incident is really outrageous and nonsensical as to how it plays into future events.

Finally, the film was dubbed–apparently entirely–in post-production. Tom Kennedy’s editing is bad enough, but he and Gershuny did a terrible job cutting in the audio. Especially when it sounds like O’Neal is in an echo chamber.

As for the acting, Mary Woronov is easily best. She’s not very good, but she’s all right. Fran Stevens and Walter Klavun–oh, and Heeren–they’re all awful. James Patterson isn’t bad in one of the sillier roles.

It’s a bad Night.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Theodore Gershuny; screenplay by Gershuny, Jeffrey Konvitz and Ira Teller, based on a story by Konvitz and Teller; director of photography, Adam Giffard; edited by Tom Kennedy; music by Gershon Kingsley; produced by Ami Artzi and Konvitz; released by Cannon Releasing Corp.

Starring Patrick O’Neal (John Carter), James Patterson (Jeffrey Butler), Mary Woronov (Diane Adams), Astrid Heeren (Ingrid), Fran Stevens (Tess Howard), Walter Klavun (Sheriff Bill Mason), John Carradine (Charlie Towman) and Walter Abel (Mayor Adams).


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