Directed by Joy N. Houck Jr. [Other horror films: Women and Bloody Terror (1970), The Night of the Strangler (1972), Creature from Black Lake (1976)]
This proto-slasher isn’t without potential, but unfortunately, the quality of the widely-available print leaves a hell of a lot to be desired, so despite some decent scenes in the film, along with a solid finale, much of the film is almost intolerably mediocre.
Gerald McRaney, an actor I don’t know (though this is his first of many roles) did decent as a young man potentially breaking down. Playing his long-time doctor, Herbert Nelson does well also. We don’t particularly see a lot of Evelyn Hendricks, but she had some okay time in the limelight. Pretty much no other characters really mattered, as they appeared for just a few minutes before getting killed.
My problems with Night of Bloody Horror notwithstanding, the kill scenes are all decent. There’s an individual getting stabbed in the eye with a needle, someone taking an ax to the chest, and another getting their hand chopped off. I wanted more build-up to these scenes, you know, with some actual tension, but the scenes themselves are good.
I get the sense that this was partially inspired by Psycho, one of the most well-known proto-slashers, but despite the fact Night of Bloody Horror managed to get made in color, it doesn’t come close to outshining it’s spiritual predecessor. A lot of this, in my view, has to do with both how muddy the color can sometimes be, along with the rather muffled sound of much of the audio.
There was a movie that came out a few years after this, on a side-note, titled Three on a Meathook; also, Scream Bloody Murder (Fred Holbert starring), and both of these films, along with being proto-slashers, share a lot in common with Night of Bloody Horror. Of the three, though it came first, Night of Bloody Horror is probably my least favorite. Even when I first saw it, I wasn’t overly impressed, and now, while I see that it has potential, it just doesn’t really work that well.