So, first of all, can we talk a second about this cover? Talk about having me at hello, right? I may get a poster of it and hang it in my office.
I present to you, A Christmas Horror Story, starring George Buza and Rob Archer as Santa and Krampus respectively, Zoe de Grand Maison, Alex Ozerov, Shannon Kook, Amy Forsyth, Adrian Holmes, Orion John and Olunike Adeliyi. I have to admit, I could hardly contain my excitement for this movie.
I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas horror movies. I love the dichotomy of sacred and profane, at the same time, I’m starved for a good movie among them. There aren’t many, I have to tell you. Most of the them are pretty bad and in the realm of bad horror movies, that’s some kind of feat.
So, how delighted am I to come across A Christmas Horror Story. Now, to be sure, it doesn’t quite take the title from my all-time favorite Christmas horror movie (Gremlins, duh! So, what? I like it anyway! You wanna fight me bro?), but it’s a strong second.
But first thing’s first. Guess who’s got a cameo in this movie. OMG, you’ll never frickin’ guess!
That’s right. William M-F’n Shatner! The Trekkie in me rejoices.
Shatner plays Dangerous Dan, an alcoholic DJ who’s sort of a narrator between stories. Oh, yeah, by the way, A Christmas Horror Story is actually more of an anthology. Four tales of fractured Christmas stories set in the little town of Bailey Downs. Side note: If Bailey Downs sounds familiar to you, then congratulations! You might be as big of a horror fan as I am! Apparently on the off season, Bailey Downs as a little problem with teenager werewolves (See Ginger Snaps for reference). I’ve also heard it has a little problem with clones (Psst, that’s an Orphan Black reference).
Because this is an anthology, I’m going to treat it as such in this review. In no particular order, here goes:
Virgin Mary’s Found Footage
So, Molly (De La Maison), Dylan (Kook) and Ben (Ozerov) are three teenagers looking to complete a documentary on a terrible murder that occurred in their school some years before. They base their research on a police video tape following the police officer who discovered the bodies (more on him later). They break into the school with the help of their friend, and Dylan’s girlfriend, Caprice (Forsyth). Caprice is supposed to accompany them, but gets roped into a family vacation. She provides the keys to the school that she has conveniently stolen and goes on her way to hang with the fam, leaving her three friends to break into the school.
The three friends manage to break in without a problem, but upon completing what we have to assume is the opening segment, the Principal suddenly appears. As he descends the stairs, the three teens disappear into a restricted area.
The restricted area leads them to the scene of the previous murder of two teens. It’s also the location of where the school used to keep pregnant teens back in the olden days when the school was a convent. The teens continue their documentary in the basement, only to find strange and creepy things starting to happen around them. When they decide to leave, they find the door leading out is locked and their keys don’t seem to work in the lock anymore.
Trapped, they find themselves getting a little too close for comfort with the things that go bump in the night. Soon, they figure out that they are being haunted by the spirit of a young girl who had been sent there years ago for being pregnant. The girl had insisted on being a virgin, yet no one believed her and therefore, she was forced to have an abortion.
The three friends soon find themselves in deep shit when the ghost girl decides to possess Molly and, well, bad things happen. Bad things like cryptic messages written in blood on the walls, crucifixion, death by giant wooden cross, pretty standard Exorcist type stuff. All I can say is that it’s a good thing Caprice didn’t hang out with her friends
Krampus Not (Get it? Krampus Nacht? Heh.)
Which leads me to the next story. The aforementioned Caprice is hanging with the fam. Her father has decided that the four of them (Mom, Dad, sister and brother) should go visit their Aunt Etta, you know, for family time. I mean, it is Christmas, right?
So even though the family spent most of their family time on the drive up bickering, they arrive at Aunt Etta’s mansion like one big happy…except their not. Caprice spends most of the time in her phone, her mom starts drinking immediately after arriving, dad is taking a moment to pitch his business idea to his rich aunt and little brother is messing around with Aunt Etta’s Christmas figurines of Santa and, you guessed it, Krampus…you know, ‘cause Aunt Etta is German.
Aunt Etta’s house boy tells him not to play with the figurines and, presumably out of spite, little brother drops the figurine, breaking it. Upon seeing it broken, Aunt Etta tells everybody to get the F out of her house…you know, basically.
They drive home and of course, argue, turning it into a whole “It’s your fault” vibe. The argument reaches a head just as something very Krampus-like runs across the road. They swerve to miss it and end up stuck in a ditch. Then the fun begins!
As they try walking back to civilization by way of the woods, they notice that something is stalking them. Pretty soon, they find themselves fighting for their lives and running from a very large, very scary, very beefy Krampus monster.
Said Krampus attacks and picks off the family members one by one until all that’s left is poor little Caprice. She manages to make it all the way back to Aunt Etta’s house where, in true slasher-movie-last-virgin-left-alive style, battles and defeats the evil Krampus monster, complete with an action movie catchphrase. It was something like "Sayonara, Mothersucker!" Don't quote me on it, but yeah.
There’s more to the story, of course, but I’ll let you find that out for yourself. Next!
An Argument for Kid Leashes
So, the police officer(Holmes) that discovered the bodies of the teenagers in the first story is tromping through the woods with his wife, Kim (Adeliyi) and small child, Will (John) looking for the perfect Christmas Tree. After little success, they find the perfect tree in a gated off area.
As they are dragging the tree through the woods with little Will following behind them. Mom and dad are so caught up in their own conversation that they lose track of their kid. They search the woods only to find him hiding in a hole in a tree. They take little Will home and soon discover that their sweet little boy is acting really frickin’ weird…and scary….but mostly weird.
After police officer Scott loses his mind and spanks little Will out of frustration, Kim banishes him from the boy’s room, citing his behavior on his trauma from that case of the dead teenagers so many years ago. Soon after, she gets a phone call from the man who’s yard they stole the tree from. He promptly tells her that what she has in her house is not her son, but rather, a changeling and she needed to get it back to the wood ASAP.
She doesn’t believe him, of course, until she finds her husband dead. After consulting with the mystery man on the phone, she decides to try to capture the little dickens herself.
Does she? Doesn’t she? No spoilers here. You’ll have to see for yourself. Neeeext!
The Night Santa Went Crazy
Okay, so there are some things you just have to see for yourself. Let’s just say there’s rampant elf decapitation and a boss level Santa v. Krampus battle involved. Trust me. You will not be disappointed.
So, yeah, totally dropping a jewel for this one. I think the main rule of any horror movie is simple, if you can’t scare me, then in the very least you better be able to entertain me. A Christmas Horror Story is just a whole lot of fun. A Plus-plus!