It’s that time of year…again. I’m not a huge fan of the holiday season. I have worked way too many holidays in retail to enjoy it anymore. Color me jaded. For those of you like me, you can numb the jolly old pain with some Yule-tide horror movies. There are two in particular that I’m talking about today: Krampus (2015) and A Christmas Horror Story (2015).
Krampus (the mythical monster, not the movie) has been growing in popularity over the years.
There are Krampus festivals, clothing, and now movies where there really wasn’t any a few years ago. Krampus is the anti-Santa. He’s the devil on Santa’s shoulder, there to punish the wicked and carry them off in a basket, be beaten or disappear altogether. Makes getting coal seem a little better, doesn’t it?
Being a fan of the creepy, kooky, mysterious and sometimes even the ooky, I had to check these movies out myself. Comparing the two side by side, one works and one…well, doesn’t. Krampus (directed by Michael Dougherty) is about a family getting together for the holidays.
This family is unhappy and dysfunctional, so there’s a lot of arguing and bad feelings among them. Max (Emjay Anthony) is so distraught that he tears up his letter to Santa and it blows into the sky, thereby unleashing the Kringle-demon into his neighborhood. Up until this point this movie is pretty good.
The dialogue is alright, the characters are unlikable, but I think they are supposed to be, and the effects are pretty cool. The place where this movie lost me is the way Krampus works. As I said before, he is there to punish the wicked, but the first person he takes is Beth (Stefania LaVie Owen) Max’s sister.
Besides a baby, she’s one of the most kind and innocent in the bunch. The family gets picked off one-by-one, leading to an ending that may hold an option for a sequel but leaves the audience feeling ripped off. While the actual figure of Krampus leads to a beautifully ominous silhouette, the behavior of the beast leaves me feeling like this was my lump of coal for Christmas.
With quite the comedy star line-up of Adam Scott (Piranha 3D), Toni Collette (The Sixth Sense), and David Koechner (A Haunted House), you’d think this would be a knee-slapping good time. However, despite a few snickers here and there, the movie seemed empty with unlikeable characters and a villain that just didn’t fit the legend.
On the opposite coin is a hidden gem called A Christmas Horror Story (2015). An anthology of four Christmas stories “narrated” by William Shatner as Dangerous Dan.
These four very different stories bring you a haunted holiday from the four corners of the paranormal. I was stupid excited for this one. The stories range from a haunted school, a changeling, Krampus and zombie elves. While I hate to gloss over three of the stories (and they were amazing, each and every one with a twist ending), I really want to focus on the representation of Krampus.
While Krampus from its namesake movie is scary and shadow-y, it’s almost woodland creature-like. Let us not forget, it just punishes everyone, including babies. Krampus from A Christmas Horror Story is tall, big and white as snow.
It’s face is more recognizable as a representation of evil and he only takes the guilty. To summon Krampus, one must be filled with the opposite of Christmas spirit, an anger or lust for revenge. It’s a very clever way to represent Krampus. The fight scenes are gorgeous and Krampus carries his signature weapon, a hooked chain. The weapon alone is enough to make you soil your holiday britches.
All in all, I think that A Christmas Horror Story takes home the gold medal of holiday horror, and I’m including Santa’s Slay with Bill Goldberg. It has gorgeous effects, great acting, awesome writing and an insanely intimidating Christmas Devil. Therefore, in the case of Krampus v. Krampus, I rule in favor of A Christmas Horror Story. You are free to go.
Before you go, if you’re a holiday horror fan, check out why your elf on the shelf should be replaced.
Creepy Holidays everyone!