So, it’s day 47 in my run of Christmas films. Today was meant to be the return of Nic Cage to the Countdown with The Family Man, but instead I think it’s time for something a bit scary to shake some of the cobwebs out.
And today it’s…
16th December, Day 47
A Christmas Horror Story (Grant Harvey, Steven Holban, Brett Sullivan, 2015)
The horror anthology has been around for a long time (Dr Terror’s House Of Horror with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing is one of the great late night films), but have had a slight resurgence in recent years. The rise of VOD and demand and streaming means that low budget films and films that don’t get widespread cinematic releases can still reach larger audiences, so films like Trick ‘r Treat and V/H/S (and even the more gimmicky, less successful attempts like The ABCs Of Death) have made a serious impression.
A Christmas Horror Story is a series of four stories framed by “Dangerous Dan” (the great William Shatner) a small town DJ stuck doing the graveyard shift on Christmas Eve. He is determined to have a good time, and as the liqueur flows, he becomes more sentimental about what Christmas means, and implores his listeners to share the season of goodwill with their family.
As his show goes on however, there are reports of a hostage situation at a local mall. And this isn’t the only strange occurrence in the town. A group of high school students are making a documentary about two murders that happened the year before. They break into the school to film where the murders took place, since no one at the school will talk about it, but strange things happen when they get locked in and are forced to spend the night there.
At the same time, one of their friends goes on a trip with their family to see an elderly aunt. She tells them a story from her Germanic childhood, the story of Krampus, the counterpart of Santa who punishes wicked children. After one of the kids misbehaves the parents decide to head home, but after an “accident” on the way home, they find themselves being chased by someone. Or something… could it be Krampus?
There are other supernatural elements going on in the town. A policeman goes to cut down a tree for his wife and son, and goes deep into the woods owned by “Big Earl”. His son wanders off briefly, but when he comes back he seems different. Is the tree cursed? Or did something happen to them out in the woods? And just who is Big Earl?
Finally, we have the story that makes the cover of the DVD. At the North Pole, Santa is planning for Christmas when his elves start getting sick. They turn into rage filled zombies, and Santa is forced to kill them. What is causing the infection? Can Santa stop it in time? Or will Krampus be able to defeat the weakened and distracted Santa?
A familiar set of stories (especially with Krampus being released the same year!), but I really enjoyed this. Shatner is an absolute joy, and I really admired the different tone of each section. A couple of the stories are a little bit flat, but they redeem themselves by sticking with it and committing to their ending. The minor characters are fun (the aunt’s caretaker especially), and the stories play-0ut concurrently, so there is very little downtime in setting up the stories.
Overall, I give this
A really enjoyable horror film!
And that’s it. Tomorrow I think I’ll stick with The Family Man, with slightly less elf-beheading.
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
7th December, Day 38: Christmas With The Kranks
8th December, Day 39: White Christmas
9th December, Day 40: A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas
10th December, Day 41: Christmas With The Coopers
11th December, Day 42: Fred Claus
12th December, Day 43: Santa’s Little Helper
13th December, Day 44: Santa With Muscles
14th December, Day 45: Santa’s Slay
15th December, Day 46: Four Christmases
16th December, Day 47: A Christmas Horror Story