You know what! I don’t care if it is October! Horror is horror and Halloween means jack shit for real fans! Today I’m doing a Christmas movie! So light up the lights and put up that blasted tree! Get festive with me as we discuss day twenty two with Krampus!
Krampus is a 2015 comedy/horror film directed by Trick r’ Treats Michael Dougherty. There, that’s enough right there to make you love this movie! The movie stars Tony Collette from The Sixth Sense, Step Brothers very own Adam Scott, Anchorman’s Davis Koechner and Emjay Anthony. The film received moderately positive reviews and only an asshole doesn’t love this movie.
As the Christmas season is in full swing, young Max is doing his best to encourage the holiday cheer. But it seems everyone around him isn’t as partaking in the festivities as he is. With a dysfunctional family killing the mood of the holiday, poor Max is so downtrodden and broken that he unintentionally calls upon a demonic entity known as Krampus to surface and pass his horrific judgement on the entire family. This Christmas everyone is on the bad list.
Christmas and Horror
What is it about Christmas that creates a perfect setting for a horror film? The festive glittering lights and inviting decorations. The joyous music. ideas of peace and goodwill to all, seem to be perfect simple themes that conjure the worst scenarios in what should be a rather happy time of the year. To take something as warm and inviting as Christmas and use our own securities against us is just one of many successful methods in creating successful horror.
Then again maybe like all horror films, they reveal the very things that are so bad about this happy holiday. I think of movies like Hellraiser and Nightmare on Elm Street that introduced a dysfunctional family system and uses our securities with the theme of family against us. To take something that is usually warm and inviting and turn it dark and evil puts us on edge. The larger the blanket of comfort, the better the delivery of horror.
Movies have done this through the ages. Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyl and Mr Hyde are doctors that bring us fear because doctors are supposed to help people. Not create monsters that kill people! The entire silver age of horror is using our securities of a reigned in government with a controlled military and shooting that shit right out the door! Movies like Psycho and Silence of The Lambs puts dread and fear on people we are not sure of. Think about what 1975’s Jaws did to a once beach going culture! We all thought aliens were supposed to be higher intelligent creatures that could possibly deliver us into a more prosperous world. But instead we were given a monster that wants to puncture our skulls out with its mouth and then use our bodies to harvest its young!
So Krampus and Christmas horror in general is the same principal… but done like champs because to mess with Christmas takes massive balls! It’s too easy to make a movie about a scary house or run down mental hospital. It’s already scary so you know what you’re getting. There is no beautiful contrast to shift or take your expectations by surprise. People aren’t supposed to die on Christmas and to have a demon that does the opposite of Santa Claus is certainly playing with fire. This movie takes all that is warm and inviting about this time of the year and says “up your ass with broken glass!” You like Santa Claus, here is a demon that dresses like him but wears a dead old mans skin for a face. He’ll delight in your pain and use cute and fuzzy play toys to do his bidding.
If you are a lover of horror then you’re also probably a lover of chaos. You can’t tell me you watch Friday the 13th because of the character development. You love it for the chaos and creative body count. It’s why monsters like Dracula, Pennywise, Chucky and Michael Myers are so appealing. They’re bringers of pain and chaos! If this doesn’t in some way ring a bell in your heart or get your horror dick going then guess what, you’re not a real horror fan. You’re just some hack that gets a little festive during the month of October. You see a movie like Krampus and don’t get it because you don’t get the genre.
Ok, so I need to calm down. I think I’ve made myself perfectly clear as to how Christmas horror works. Which is why I absolutely love this movie. It is a light hearted film that seems more campy when it comes to the horror. There isn’t a great deal of gore and even in the midst of the violence, it’s so awesome and fun that it makes it pure entertaining cinema.
Oh yea, let’s talk about the tone of the film which is probably its best aspect. I love tone and when a movie can deliver a believable feeling then you have me hooked. Everything about this movie is presented with such richness and depth. I love the lighting and the Christmas atmosphere. But when things start going bad there is this easy going motion into the chaos that pushes the tone of the film deeper and deeper. It doesn’t go ten to one hundred real quick. There is actual character development which makes us feel sorry for whats happening. It’s not an overly scary film, most horror fans will probably smile more than wince. But that is also what makes Evil Dead 2 and Dead Alive such amazing movies as well.
What I love most is the practical effects done by Weta Workshop. Most movies would have gone the route of overused computer graphics. But if you’ve seen and love Trick r’ Treat then you know director Michael Dougherty has more vision than that. He and Weta worked hard at delivering us real monsters. The movements and interactions with the actors and the killer toys are believable because the effects are in fact real. It wasn’t done with a load of green screen and point and act style scenes. When a kid is being eaten by a demon jack in the box, she’s really going down some intricate prop that moves. Krampus is an actual giant sized costume that dominates the scenery. He’s so badass when he makes his big reveal and your eyes know its actually a part of the scenery! Something computers fail to do. It’s a redeeming quality about this movie that makes you fall in love with it.
At first I was a little reluctant to pick this movie for this years marathon. But only a fool would ignore it. It’s a fun movie that is for any fan of Raimi or Jackson. The story of a little boy struggling to maintain a little sense of magic and family warmth in his life is a good plot device that gets everything in motion. Max’s story may seem overshadowed when Krampus does finally appear but all-in-all we get a good internal struggle that we all relate to. I love the build up and can’t help but laugh over the horror elements of the film. This is why 2015’s Krampus is chosen for day twenty two of Horror Movie Marathon 2019!