For many people, Christmas is a time of year that brings many feelings of horror. Come December, shopping malls become a life-threatening environment akin to the one in Dawn of the Dead, where ordinary consumers transform into flesh-thirsty monsters that ravage everything in order to get what they want (i.e., Hatchimals).
Neighbourhoods transform with garish lighting displays, blow-up characters from the movie Trolls and any combination of hellish decorations acquired from the local Home Depot. Children transform into toy-hungry, sullen demon beasts. And then, of course, there is the never-ending supply of "ugly" and "ironic" Christmas sweaters, which have really just become an inadvertent way of making Drake super uncool. Everywhere you turn is a reminder that you cannot escape the clutches of Santa Claus and his commercial stranglehold on the season.
One way to fight all of the Christmas horror is to kick back and watch some homicidal maniac spoil the holiday by slaughtering everyone with an axe. For horror fans, it's the most wonderful time of the year. In amongst all of the low-budget, harebrained turkeys, there is a decent selection of Christmas horror flicks to soothe you after the hours of visiting loved ones.
And while there is no end to all of the shitty Christmas-affiliated horror schlock out there, here is a spot-on guide to viewing horror flicks this holiday season. And most importantly, remember: there is only one good film titled Krampus.
12 Days of Christmas Horror Flicks:
Day 1: Jack Frost (1997)
Tagline: He's chillin' and killin'.
Notable celebrity appearance: Shannon Elizabeth
You can only imagine the number of times parents have believed they were putting on the Michael Keaton comedy of the same name, only to watch the scene where a man melts and then proceeds to genetically mutate with some snow and turn away in disgust. But this Jack Frost is the original, predating the family comedy by one whole year.
The premise is simple: convicted serial killer is about to be executed, is saved by an accident, but then becomes "the world's most pissed off snow cone" after he's struck by liquid from a truck carrying specialized genetic materials. He then seeks revenge on the cop who put him away, snuffing out everyone in his way using a variety of creative methods (i.e., shooting icicles from his hands). The writers room clearly spent all their time cooking up one-liners instead of any real plot, but that shouldn't be much of a surprise.
Day 2: Santa's Slay (2005)
Tagline: He's making a list... pray you're not on it.
Notable celebrity appearances: Fran Drescher, James Caan, Robert Culp, Chris Kattan, Dave Thomas, Saul Rubinek, Emilie de Ravin
Whoever said professional wrestlers can't act were right. In the case of Santa's Slay, it's ripped baldie Bill Goldberg. But the colourfully aggressive one-liners the screenwriter fed him hardly called for a Shakesperean-trained veteran of the stage. Nope, Goldberg is perfect as Santa Claus, the evil demon who for 1,000 years was forced to bring the Day of Joy to children after losing a bet to an angel in a curling match.
Basically, this film is simply a vehicle for a musclehead to exude his brawn and put a murderous, merciless and child-hating spin on a beloved character such as Saint Nick. Again, it's chock full of one-liners, relentlessly so, but coming from every single character, it's a device that helps the script achieve its comedic effect. And yes, it's actually quite funny, especially the opening scene, which must have cost half the film's budget to stage.
Day 3: Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)
Tagline: You thought you didn't believe in Santa Claus anymore...
Notable celebrity appearance: None whatsoever
One popular theme in these films is portraying Santa Claus as a force far unlike the rosy-cheeked plumpo that we see at the mall. This Finnish-Norwegian-Swedish-French production plays with the Santa folklore and imagines a scenario of capturing Kris Kringle up at the North Pole (a.k.a. Finland) and selling him for profit. Of course, it's not that simple, and about a thousand or so things hinder the plan.
Rare Exports isn't a straight horror flick. It's also part fantasy, thriller and black comedy, but it's pretty dark in places and puts a real old-school twist on the man we assume exists just to bring children toys one night every year.