21 June 2024
Night of Bloody Horror (1969)
89 min.
Directed by Joy N. Houck, Jr.
With Gerald McRaney, Evelyn Hendricks, Gaye Yellen, Herbert Nelson, Lisa Dameron, Charlotte White, Nicholous Krieger, and Michael Anthony.
Jose Cruz

A skeezy slasher with a little pep in its step.

Young Wesley Stuart (McRaney) has more than his share of troubles: he is the son of a seemingly sweet but decidedly off-kilter mother (Hendricks), he suffers from agonizing attacks that induce visions of whirligigs, and all of his lady friends are being systematically murdered in messy fashion by a shadowy killer.

What’s a frail-minded lad to do?

Could Wesley’s trippy episodes be leading him to commit unspeakable crimes? Is his psychosis rooted in a traumatic childhood incident that claimed the life of his brother? How many must die before the terrible family secrets come skittering out of the closet?

The answers: maybe, yes, and at least a handful.

Night of Bloody Horror is a perfectly rote vehicle that would be nearly undistinguishable from the rest of the Z-grade grindhouse fare if it were not for some face-saving murder set pieces and a grimy atmosphere that serves the film’s overall ickiness well.

Be on the lookout for a particularly giallo-esque eye gouging in a church confessional and one poor victim’s farewell to hands when they try to poke their nose where it doesn’t belong.

Sadly the rest of the film can’t quite stack up as its humble origins are belied most notably by some rather lazy plot holes i.e. if Wesley’s brother died when he was a child, what’s with the adult-sized skeleton we see later in the film? Not to mention the fact that in addition to the wasted and nicotine-fueled look that Wesley has going for him, his intense jitteriness seems to attract women in droves!

Hendricks is quietly creepy as Mrs. Stuart, and there’s an unsettlingly Freudian dream sequence that has Wesley discovering his bedroom partner has transformed into his mother.

The course of the narrative and the screechy finale won’t necessarily take anyone by surprise, but the inherent grunginess and cheap aesthetics of Night of Bloody Horror will be enough for some to pass the time with.

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