Saturday, 21 February 2015



Silent Night, Bloody Night was a grotty low-budget slasher film made in 1974 (and not to be confused with the equally grotty but more notorious killer Santa movie Silent Night, Deadly Night) which has slipped into the public domain as a minor cult title thanks to its seediness, its catchy title and the presence of genre favourites Mary Woronov and John Carradine (the latter looking particularly gaunt). Mysteriously, it's now been remade - in places word for word - and without credit or even acknowledgement (although some minor characters are named after principal cast and crew members). Odder still: it's been done in Swansea.

None of which in itself is any reason to hate Silent Night, Bloody Night: The Homecoming, of course. The story is still serviceable slasher pulp: the spooky old Butler house has been abandoned for years after the death of mad old Wilfred Butler; now grandson Jeffrey is keen to sell it below market value for a quick cash profit. But someone is hanging around the place killing trespassers as well as the syndicate of town worthies looking to purchase the property and bulldoze it along with its accursed past... Who could it be? Might it have something to do with the house's history as a mental hospital and scene of a massacre?

The problem is that it's been done so flatly and so uninterestingly to the extent that frankly it's barely professional. With mid-range digital photography that just looks like video (especially in the night scenes), an annoying music score repeatedly referencing the Christmas carol Silent Night and, most damagingly, absolutely dismal performances of the stand-here-and-say-this variety, it's a genuine chore to make it to the end. Heaven knows the original film was hardly a masterpiece but it looks like one in the light of this revisitation. All the murder sequences lack even the slightest impact thanks to rotten acting, poor camerawork and the lack of a halfway decent score (at least the original had a full orchestra): the composer, one James Morrissey, is also the co-editor as well as the cinematographer. I'm currently typing this with the soundtrack to Friday The 13th Part III in the background, and that is an object lesson in how to use music to punch up gory kill scenes. In this instance the Friday connection is even appropriate since The Scary Voice On Phone is apparently Adrienne King from the first two films in that series!

Silent Night, Bloody Night: The Homecoming is absolutely terrible on every level and I'm honestly hard pressed to think of anything in its favour. Even the occasional nods to George Romero's Night Of The Living Dead - it plays on a TV screen and the heroine has purchased it as a Christmas present, apparently for her father - are less homage to a horror classic and more reminders that the same team have also remade it in Carmarthenshire. (It's also in the public domain and the IMDb page doesn't indicate George Romero will be credited on it.) If they can't improve on a shoddy old drive-in quickie like Silent Night, Bloody Night, how on Earth do they think they can improve on that iconic masterpiece?


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