So, we’ve had a few cuddly family Christmas films recently, time now for something a bit more sinister.
And today it’s…
6th December, Day 37
Krampus (Michael Dougherty, 2015)
Tom and Sarah Engel (Adam Scott and Toni Collette) are setting up for a family Christmas with their kids Beth (Stefania LaVie Owen) and Max (Emjay Anthony). David Koechner and Allison Tolman play the in-laws Howard and Linda, who bring along their four children to the Engel’s household. Also joining them for Christmas is Sarah and Linda’s aunt Dorothy (Two and a Half Men’s Conchata Ferrell) and Tom’s German mother Omi, played by Krista Stadler. This many people under one roof leads to a fractious Christmas, as petty rivalries lead to unpleasantness and a distinct lack of seasonal cheer.
The Engel’s son Max is unhappy that the family is not getting along properly, and when one of his mischievous cousins steals his letter to Santa and humiliates him by reading it in front of the family, he gives up completely on Christmas. He rips up his letter to Santa… but by doing so, he invokes the wrath of Krampus, the Germanic demon who punishes naughty children at Christmas. The family find themselves under attack – can they survive this particular night before Christmas?
Although Krampus has been rather over saturated in America media recently (America Dad, The Office and The League all did episodes mentioning him), this is a film I am very happy to have included on this list. For me, modern horror films rely too much on jump scares, and although there are plenty of them, it is the maliciousness of the film that really makes this stand out. The Engel’s relatives are not just horrible, they are genuinely and deliberately nasty and mean-spirited, with one line about “store bought cookies” being a particularly snide comment. The punishments Krampus doles out is well deserved!
Also, for a relatively small budget, Krampus looks very good indeed, with a particularly impressive early blizzard (or series of blizzards) that herald Krampus’ arrival, leaping from house to house in imposing fashion. There’s also a proper, satisfying, and slightly heart-wrenching ending to the film, with an impressive final show down. No spoilers but it follows the story line to its proper ending!
Dan reviewed this on its release last year, and praised it a lot. Similarly, I found this to be a very enjoyable film. The things it gets right far outnumber the few missteps, and although it slightly meanders into rather bland, generic horror fare in the middle, I would definitely recommend it for anyone looking for a good Christmas horror.
Plus it ends with Bright Eyes’ version of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”, which is obviously an added bonus!
Overall, I give this
A slightly slow middle is all that lets this film down.
I’ve not watched a classic Christmas film for a while, so tomorrow on the Countdown from Halloween to Christmas it is WHITE CHRISTMAS!
Until next time, stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold. See you soonish.
PS Here’s my list so far
31st October, Day 1: The Nightmare Before Christmas
1st November, Day 2: Rocky IV
2nd November, Day 3: Edward Scissorhands
3rd November, Day 4: Trading Places
4th November, Day 5: Batman Returns
5th November, Day 6: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
6th November, Day 7: Gremlins
7th November, Day 8: Eyes Wide Shut
8th November, Day 9: Love Actually
9th November, Day 10: Lethal Weapon
10th November, Day 11: Die Hard / Die Hard 2
11th November, Day 12: About A Boy
12th November, Day 13: Trapped In Paradise
13th November, Day 14: Reindeer Games
14th November, Day 15: Joyeux Noel
15th November, Day 16: Nativity / Nativity 2 / Nativity 3: Dude, Where’s My Donkey?
16th November, Day 17: Jack Frost
17th November, Day 18: Jack Frost
18th November, Day 19: Arthur Christmas
19th November, Day 20: The Santa Clause / The Santa Clause 2 / The Santa Clause 3
20th November, Day 21: Miracle On 34th Street
21st November, Day 22: Miracle On 34th Street
22nd November, Day 23: Scrooged
23rd November, Day 24: Scrooge
24th November, Day 25: The Muppets Christmas Carol
25th November, Day 26: Elf
26th November, Day 27: Home Alone / Home Alone 2
27th November, Day 28: The Grinch
28th November, Day 29: Black Christmas
29th November, Day 30: Jingle All The Way
30th November, Day 31: Rare Exports
1st December, Day 32: Polar Express
2nd December, Day 33: A Christmas Story
3rd December, Day 34: Bad Santa
4th December, Day 35: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
5th December, Day 36: Santa Claus: The Movie
6th December, Day 37: Krampus