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Wilfred Butler is the tragic villain of the 1974 film Silent Night, Bloody Night. He is a deranged lunatic whose crimes span over a period of several decades. Although he is a serial killer and rapist, the film presents him in a very sympathetic manner, and portrays him of being remorseful for his actions.
Before the incidents of the film
Wilfred Butler was a wealthy family man who had a wife named Catherine, and a daughter named Mary Anne. He decided to build a large house for his family in a town in Massachusetts. After the house was built, his wife died after she contracted tuberculosis, which was the starting point of Wilfred's plummet into psychosis. His daughter was the only thing left he had in the world, and he loved her very much. Unfortunately, his love for his daughter turned into an extreme and perverted obsession, which led to him raping her and Mary Anne becoming pregnant.
After Mary Anne had the baby and put it up for adoption, she became emotionally unstable herself. Wilfred decided to allow psychiatrists to come into his home and attempt to treat his daughter. In return for their help, he also allowed his entire estate to be turned into a mental hospital and other patients were admitted into his home.
However, Wilfred soon discovered that the doctors had little desire to help or treat their patients. They often abused them, and kept them locked up without any contact with them. They used the money provided for the care of the patients to endulge themselves in various luxuries. On Christmas Eve, Wilfred became overwhelmed with guilt. While the doctors had gotten drunk at a party in the dining room. He decided to go and free Mary Anne, planning on taking her away from the asylum. He also let the other inmates of the hospital out as well. The inmates went on a killing spree and killed all the doctors. In their violent rage, however, they murdered Mary Anne as well. Wilfred became grief stickened and went completely insane.
In 1950, he staged his own death by burning a nameless person alive and passing the corpse off as his own. In his will, he left the house to his grandson/son Jeffery. He then went to be institutionalized himself under an alias.
Silent Night, Bloody Night
Jeffery, now a grown man, decides to sell the Butler estate for money. He hands over all the responsibilities to his realtor and allows the realtor to stay in the house until it is sold. The town offers to buy the historic house, but Jefferey refuses.
A now institutionalized Wilfred Butler finds out about this and becomes infuriated. He escapes from the mental hospital and makes his way to his old home. He then murders the realtor and his girlfriend there.
Wilfred Butler now filled with sorrow, anger, and hate decides to take revenge on the entire town, he calls different old acquaintances of his on the phone and invites them to come over to his home, claiming that he is his daughter, Mary Anne. Everytime someone goes out to investigate, they are brutally murdered by Butler.
The mayor's daughter, Diane, meets Jeffery and decides to go to the Butler house to investigate for themselves. After they get there, Diane's father shows up. Jeffery thinks he is the killer, and Diane's father thinks Jeffery is the killer. They both shoot and kill each other.
Seconds later, Wilfred comes down the stairs. He mistakenly believes that Diane is his daughter, and tries to embrace her. She fights back, and Wilfred begs her to stop, saying he won't hurt her. Diane picks up Jefferey's gun and kills Wilfred.