Krampus~ 2015, Michael Dougherty, USA



Oh boy. Everybody is just SO excited for Krampus. Krampus this, Krampus that, for years, this has been going on. I had my reservations with this one, but  Krampus actually starts off on the right track, and that temporarily eased my concerns, and had me thinking, “hey, maybe this is going to be a good movie after all.” What I found, however, was that while all of my initial gripes with the film quietly began to fade into the background, a new list of unexpected, yet equally fatal flaws began to form, and these left Krampus dead on arrival anyway. I swear I have never seen a movie that so expertly lined up the nail, raised the hammer, took aim, and then just all-out refused to drive it home in all my days. Krampus has absolutely no guts, it’s all set up and no execution. This movie is a spineless insult to its Alpine Bogeyman source material, and to movie-goers alike.


Krampus is the newest Holiday themed horror jam from director Michael Dougherty, the same dude who brought us Trick R Treat back in 2007. This time around Doughtery, goes after Christmas, and gives us a film based on America’s new-found love affair with a Centuries old folk custom from Bavaria and Austria, which the Internet culture of 2015 has mangled and debased, so that it could better fit the role that America requires of it, not unlike an impatient child, forcing a puzzle piece into a spot where it doesn’t belong. It completely sucks as hard as anything possibly could, which is neither here for there. At this point, Krampus isn’t even the first of these movies to have been made,  and it won’t be the last. This trend will continue for years. This is my private Hell.

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 22.58.31This kid knows what I’m talkin’ about.

THE PLOT~ As said above, Krampus starts strong, real strong. The first act of the film is centered around exploring just what a despicable, irredeemable race of shit heads human beings really are. Doughtery wisely makes use of the now all too infamous annual Black Friday shopping Massacres, which showcases many of humanity’s worst qualities, and which, ironically, also heralds the start of a Holiday season which is meant to stand forever as a testament to the inherent goodness inside all of us. Let’s give Dougherty credit; this is a fantastic place to open on for a film about a an ancient, Yuletide Demon who punishes the wicked for their crimes. He’s made his point loud and clear, we all deserve a Krampus. So far so good.

From there, though, we lose quite a bit of traction, and the film quickly devolves into a more cookie cutter horror scenario. We’ve got a family full of selfish, hideous troglodytes, who find themselves barricaded inside their home, fighting to survive as a fierce and unexpected blizzard turns their once peaceful neighborhood into an innavigable hell-scape of darkness and frost. Of course, we all know that this blizzard is actually Krampus’ doing, he’s here with his army of Christmas helpers (the hell?) to slowly murder each member of this family, one by one, just like the real Krampus does (no he doesn’t.). From there, it’s all formula. They get picked off one by one, all the while learning to appreciate one another more, which is a major theme of the film: when time gets tough, you understand how important family really is. Which is fine.

The acting is actually really great across the board, and the movie is well made, the practical effects especially. This isn’t a movie that didn’t do anything right, and that’s actually what’s so frustrating about the whole ordeal, It was well within Krampus’ power to be really, really good. There are a lot of Christmas themed horror movies out there, but not all of them are all that great. Krampus could have done it, this could have been one of the best of the batch, even taking into account how foolishly mishandled the source material was, but they just won’t cross the threshold. Krampus makes it all the way to the finish line, stops dead in its tracks, and just stares blankly into space. “This is as far as I go, audience,” the movie says. And it’s not far enough!

MV5BOTY1OTE5NTAxMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjY3Njc3NjE@._V1_SX640_SY720_See how cool that looks? How did this manage to suck!?

The biggest drawback, as I mentioned above, is just how spineless this movie really is. There are moments throughout the picture when Krampus is briefly very awesome, the introduction of The Krampster himself, for instance, stands out as being pretty excellent, but these moments come and go, and they’re never as potent as they ought to be. Krampus displays an offputtingly blatant hesitancy to go “full-horror,” and there are added measures taken throughout to soften the blow each and every time the film get’s a little bit too scary. A great example of that would be the introduction of the Jack In The Box monster, which is actually terrifying as all fuck, except that when they hit us with the big reveal; the movie plays it for laughs, which totally ruins the moment. That’s one example, but the entire movie works that way, each and every time things get awesome, Krampus defeats itself with a flimsy joke, and that might have been just fine, except that this movie isn’t at all funny. So, what we have is a film that is neither fish nor fowl, Krampus is forever caught between two polar opposites and unable to satisfy the requirements of either. It totally sucks!

Here’s maybe the best way to say it: In this movie, Krampus has been made more similar to Santa Claus than he actually is in Germanic lore, and this is because these added similarities draw attention to the startling ways in which these two characters differ, and it’s that off-kilter familiarity which makes him scary. This is a fitting metaphor for the film as a whole. Krampus stings extra hard, because as much as it sucks, it frequently reminds us of the awesome film it could and should be, but isn’t.

Bear-1That thing looks like it was purchased at a damn Hot Topic… And by now, it probably can be.

And the ending is easily the most maddening part. As strong as the first act is, things fall apart super fast as we reach act three, and Doughtery concludes the film by Freddy Krugering us as hard as we’ve ever been Freddy Krugered before. It’s a cop-out, plain and simple, and it’s profoundly, appallingly lame. Really and truly, you guys, this is the weakest shit I’ve seen in a VERY long time. I walked out of Krampus bitter and dissatisfied… Although, to be fair, that’s also how I walked in.

All things considered, the real tragedy of Krampus is that this film absolutely reeks of “cash grab.” I know we all want to have fun, but let’s face the facts, this movie is a clear and transparent attempt by a director who saw an opportunity to advance his career, and took it. By any and all logic, this should have been a wildly different product; but instead of the horror movie we wanted, what we got a studio friendly attempt at crafting a commercial product, which would capitalize on America’s love affair with Big Papa Kramp, and elevate Dougherty’s career out off the slums he’s been stuck in ever since Superman Returns valiantly shit the bed. And it worked, lo and behold, as I did my rounds on the internet this morning, I see that Krampus is, in fact, the number one movie in America as of today. Certainly, the reptilian brain of the Producers to whom Dougherty is indebted must be pleased; and now he won’t have nearly such hard a time financing Trick R Treat 2. Can we blame him? Hell no, but we also don’t have to like the neutered, humiliated mess of a movie he crammed down our throats.

As it stands, I’d recommend that you avoid this one, for it is ever so ho-hum. Instead, check out Rare Exports; a movie which is thematically similar enough, but which is also indescribably superior to this mess in every conceivable way.



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Elves~ 1989, Jeffrey Mandel


Will somebody put this out on Blu Ray!?! Elves hasn’t been available (that I know of) in region 1 home video since the age of VHS… And that’s ridiculous. Right now, we live in a world where you can buy a Blu ray collectors edition of The Amazing Spiderman 2 in this hideous Jamie Foxx statue, but you can’t buy Elves at all. That’s a world without logic. That’s a world where Isis has already won.

Elves is pretty much a shoddy, bargain basement imitation of Joe Dante’s Gremlins, a movie which spurred a wave of small, impish monster films (Troll, Hobgoblins, Ghoulies, Critters, etc…), but Elves goes that extra mile and keeps it festive by hanging on to the Christmas setting as well as the notion of the diminutive monster, which is a good move on their part. I like Elves a lot more than Gremlins, actually, and I think this movie is proof that bargain basement doesn’t always mean ‘bad.’ Sometimes you can find some pretty crazy shit in the basement, and crazy is interesting.

THE PLOT~ When Kirsten and her dim-witted friends swipe a Pagan Spellbook from her Grandfather’s library and boogie on down to the forest for an Anti-Christmas witches Sabbath (kid’s these days), they unknowingly summon an Elf, which in turn, begins to terrorize and murder various people in Kirsten’s life. The bodies begin to pile up, and as an elaborate, decades old conspiracy begins to unravel all around her, the burden falls on a hard drinkin’ ex-cop turned hobo/mall Santa to save the day, which will require him to battle both Neo-Nazis, and an elf, and then also to secretly sleep inside a department store, because he’s homeless, and it’s cold outside.

Oh, yeah, the Nazis… Apparently, unbeknownst to Kirsten, her damn Grandfather was once a full on member of The Third Reich, and even worse, he was one of those weird, black magic, occult Nazis you see in books and movies. Yes, gramps was into some crazy shit back in his goose-steppin’ days, and in fact, he and his SS homeboys once hatched a plan to very deliberately create the Antichrist, which I’m not sure why they wanted to do that, but they did, and this very plan remains in motion to this day, wether Gramps likes it or not. The  reason being? Kirsten. She was actually strategically bred to be the ideal mate for a fucking elf, because apparently a half Aryan/half elf mix equals the antichrist. Apparently, that’s her destiny, to bang an elf and birth the antichrist. She got dealt a bad hand, no question about it. Only now Gramps regrets having created a child for the sole purpose of apocalyptic elf sex, so he fled to America and tried to escape his white-supremicist, black magic dabbling past. However, now the chickens have come home to roost, Elf style, and there’s no getting out of it. Unless, of course, our homeless gum-shoe mall Santa can put a stop to this pagan scheme once and for all! It’s worth noting that if there were actually any gum on this guys shoe, he might eat it, because he is homeless and drunk.

Production-wise, we’re not dealing with a masterpiece. The effects are cheap, the elf itself looks like garbage, the photography is bland and artless, and there isn’t any technical wizardry apparent in any aspect of this movie’s craftsmanship… Everything is just barely adequate, or worse, but that’s okay. Elves more than compensates for it’s technical shortcomings by being both entertaining, and borderline insane, a mix that constitutes 9/10’s of my DVD collection. I would say that this film has it goin’ on, and, when viewed alongside comparable films, like say, Sorority Babes In The Slimeball Bowl-A-Rama, Elves is actually a head above.

I think my favorite thing about the film is that it’s actually pretty funny, and somehow, the comedy seems inadvertent, when it simply had to have been deliberate. That’s plain old magic, yo. The shabbiness of the production suggests to the viewer that anything nonsensical or absurd is probably included out of incompetence rather than for intentional comedic value, and thus Elves somehow makes you laugh with it, while duping you into thinking that you’re laughing at it, and thats such a satisfying experience. Some of the dialogue in this movie is just jaw dropping, the exchange between Kirsten and the original Mall Santa certainly comes to mind as being a true revelation in the art of cinema, but I’m not going to include it here… It’s better you experience that for yourself. I do have two short exchanges that I want to include, though:

Firstly, when Kirsten’s a-hole little brother Willie is woken up in the middle of the night and catches a glimpse of the titular elf. He screams, the elf peaces out, and when his mother arrives to investigate, she immediately wants to blame Willie’s elf sighting on the damn cat.

“Well there’s your answer, it was the cat!” Mom declares. Willie fires back with:
“It was a fucking real ninja troll!”

Well, maybe a child telling his mother that he had just seen a “fucking real ninja troll” doesn’t bring joy to your heart, but if that’s the case, you should probably just get the hell out of here right now. I have nothing for you.

Later in the film, a bunch of exposition is laid out, plot dump style, and Grampa is outted as being Hitler’s friggin’ Cabana Boy or whatever. Willie, who is unsure of how exactly the impending birth of the Antichrist is going to effect his Christmas morning, asks “What’s wrong?! Are we gonna be alright?” To which Kirsten responds; “No, Willie, Gramps is a Nazi.” That’s a pretty funny thing to drop on a kid on Christmas Eve. He’s gonna remember this Christmas forever.

There are a lot of Christmas themed horror films out there, and many of these are both much more available than Elves, and much shittier. Any list of festive, holiday themed horror films would be a little more diverse, and a whole lot more kick-ass with this flick tossed into the mix, and while it may not be a classic, it has all the qualifications to earn a cult following if it can manage to get a little more exposure. Recommended!


Rare Exports

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale ~ 2010, Jalmari Helander


From the land of folk metal and cell phones comes Rare Exports, an awesome and refreshingly original horror/fantasy film ideal for the Christmas season. Typically, these reviews get funnier the more I hate a movie… That being said, you may want to just skip this review now, because unfortunately, I don’t hate anything about Rare Exports. This one is a real keeper.

THE PLOT- Pietari and his father Rauno live in the rural Lapland region of Finland, in a valley bordered by an icy mountain range. Recently, a British dig team has taken up some sort of excavation atop a nearby mountain, and Rauno, who works as a reindeer farmer along with his friends Aimo and Piiparinen (no shit, that’s what Finnish names sound like) assume this to be some sort of geological study. Pietari and his friend Jusso know better. After sneaking up to the dig site and spying on the supposed Geologists, the two boys discover the truth; this is no mountain at all, but instead; a giant, ancient, burial mound long forgotten by human history. The occupant of this incredible, man made structure? A frozen, still living Santa Claus.

Horrified by the implications, Pietari immediately conducts research into the history of Santa Claus using ancient books which he somehow obtains, even though I can’t imagine where in the hell he found those, and what he discovers is that Santa has not always been the happy, jolly old man we now know him to be today. On the contrary, the original Santa bares a closer resemblance to a damn monster, and focused mostly on punishment, rather than reward. Freaking typical. Although no one takes him seriously, Pietari becomes concerned that a full-on Yuletide home invasion may nearly be upon him, and therefore begins taking safety precautions to protect himself from Santa’s impending reign of terror. This involves wearing butt-shielding inside his pants to protect him from Santa-administered spankings, and loading up the chimney with a bear trap, which he fails to warn his father about. Life in Finland looks really fun, you guys.

Meanwhile, for Rauno, Aimo and Piiparinen, things are looking horribly grim. The entire herd of reindeer, upon which their survival is entirely dependent, have turned up dead, a disaster which will financially devastate all three families. The men blame wolves, thought to have been driven down into the valley by commotion atop the mountain, but Pietari suspects Santa’s involvement right from the start. Furious, desperate, and not at all interested in Pietari’s Santa theories, Rauno rigs up an illegal trap to catch whatever wolves he can, for revenge, I guess, but much to his shock, he catches something else; a grizzled, naked old man with a long, white beard and a menacing disposition. With tensions high and no alternative solution to their crushing financial woes, Rauno, Aimo and Piiparinen decide to ransom this man, believing him to be one of the geologists from the mountain, even though he is clearly a monster older than human history, and also nude. From that point out things get progressively crazier, and it’s awesome.

So, at the root of Rare Exports, which was based loosely on a short film made by the same creative team, what we have is a coming of age story for young Pietari. When we first meet him, Pietari is childish in an exaggerated way, he carries a stuffed animal at all times, his best friend Jusso taunts him for still believing in Santa, that sort of thing. In general, Pietari is loved, but not respected, and the general consensus is that whatever it is, Pietari is too young to do it. Actually, we kind of get the feeling that he’s told he’s “too little” so often that he’s bought into the hype himself, and that what’s really keeping him from developing into an adult is how constantly people write him off for not being one already. This prolonged state of childlike open-mindedness actually gives him an edge, where Jusso would reject Santa outright in an attempt to appear as mature as possible, Pietari’s youthful perspective allows him to piece the situation together long before anyone else. When the time comes, Pietari bravely rises to the test, while Jusso’s posturing is revealed to be all bluster and no substance.

The film is told from Pietari’s perspective, which was a good choice. It adds to the charm significantly, and it gives the movie a modern fairy tale vibe, not unlike E.T. or Pan’s Labyrinth. Pietari’s exchanges with Jusso almost remind one of The Lost Boys, but in a good way, but the most impressive thing Rare Exports manages to do is that it makes us like Pietari, when it would have been so easy for him to come off as too whiney, or too much of a sudden know-it-all when the film climaxes and he’s  so much better informed than all of the adults. That’s such a tough balance, and if they hadn’t pulled it off, this thing would be dead in the water. They pulled it off wonderfully, though, and actually, pretty much all our characters are super likable. Aimo, Rauno, and Piiperinen are all solid dudes, and honestly, each time I come out of this film I do so wanting to spend more time with them. They’re well written, well acted, and believable, and even when their desperation pushes them to do bad things, we feel for them enough that we don’t end up hating their guts.

One weird thing about this film, however… I don’t think there’s a single woman in it. Pietari appears to have no mother, and, unless I missed someone, not a single female appears on camera, ever. I believe at one point Pietari phones the mother of another child, but we don’t see her, and as he checks to see if other children are okay, his little list does have some girl’s names on it, but we never meet any of these characters. I believe Rare Exports to have an entirely male cast. Is it just a major sausage fest over in Finland? What’s the deal? I’m not sure what this might be in liu of… Perhaps to exaggerate the lack of a female presence in Pietari’s life? Living without a mother in the harsh, frozen Finnish tundra can maybe make you feel like the world is just swarming with scruffy, old dudes, exclusively? Could having only one parent somehow have contributed to his immaturity? This is all speculation, but I thought it was worth bringing up, because it is admittedly pretty weird.


The ending is maybe a little overly sentimental and convenient, but it’s easy to forgive this after how charming the rest of the film is, and even at it’s most hokey, Rare Exports is great experience. I recommend it!


Santa’s Slay!

Santa’s Slay ~ 2005, David Steiman

santas slay

It’s December 2014, and things have changed. All celebrities now have sex tapes. Mountain Dew comes in no less than one hundred and thirty five flavors, The Learning Channel hasn’t shown anything educational in 15 years, and women are now so objectified that breast implants are no longer enough, indeed, anyone who’s anyone now has butt implants, as well. We’re all dumb as shit, isn’t it time we had a Santa Claus more reflective of our generation?

Enter Santa’s Slay, a 2005 horror comedy which casts professional wrestler Bill Goldberg as a foul mouthed, muscle bound Santa Claus who hates children and murders people constantly for no reason. Now you’re talkin’ my language! If that kindly, Jolly Old Saint Nick at the mall can no longer hold your interest after years of exposure to X-Box and Monster energy drinks, and if you demand a Santa who frequents strip clubs and spits fire balls at innocent people, then it sounds like Santa’s Slay is just the pick me up your Holiday season needs!

THE PLOT~ Nicolas Yulesen is our main character, and he totally sucks. He pretty much spends his days complaining and being emasculated by his girlfriend, Mac. Also, he lives with his bonkers ass grandfather, who mostly stays at home cooking up crackpot inventions and scroogin’ it hardcore with his aversion to the Christmas holiday. All the people in town think Nicolas’s Grandpa is nuts. Fact is, Grampa knows more than he’s letting on. As Nick comes to find out, his gramps is in possession of an ancient tome called The Book of Claus, which tells the true story of Santa, a centuries old antichrist type creature, born of an immaculate conception between Satan and a virgin woman. He’s totally evil and can breathe fucking fire balls. The only reason this Santa ever gave anybody anything that wasn’t straight lethal is because he was obligated to after losing a wager with an angel centuries ago. The conditions of this wager stated that Santa Claus must spare humans, act nice, and deliver presents for one thousand years- which, of course, pissed Santa off real bad, but he had to do it because of the demon honor code, or something, but guess what? Times up. Santa is now free to make up for lost time and really get back to slaughtering people super hard, as is his true heart’s true desire. Soon, he arrives in Hell Township (that’s where these fucking people live), and he’s aching for a Yuletide blood bath. It’s up to Nicolas, Grandpa, and Mac, to survive the night, and if possible, defeat Santa.

As mentioned above, this is a hard fightin’, killer Santa Claus for the new millennium. I can’t imagine why he doesn’t ride around in a Monster Truck blaring Metalica’s For Whom The Bell Tolls, but what he does do is ride is a sleigh pulled by a buffalo, which he calls a “hell deer,” and that’s also awesome. Goldberg does a good job portraying an enjoyable, likable killer, which is important in this era of horror cinema, because let’s face it, nobody goes to see Nightmare on Elm Street for the teenagers. Santa’s Slay has its problems, but none of them can be traced back to Goldberg’s performance, or his Santa character. They get a pass. Good job, dude.

The problems that stick a little harder stem from two sources. The first one we’ll talk about is budgetSanta’s Slay looks more like a high end made-for-TV movie than anything intended for theatrical release. The meager production quality might alienate mainstream movie-goers, but really, this movie wasn’t banking on bringing them on board anyway. Horror movies like Santa’s Slay come with a built in fan-base of hungry viewers who just want to see people get murdered by Goldberg, or Freddy, or whoever it may be, and they are more than accustomed to budget conscious production value. Hell, some of them even like that stuff.

One particularly heinous aspect of this cheap-o production, however, is the soundtrack. Damn, dude, it’s bad. It’s all weird Christmas pop, like something Brian Setzer would record with members of the All American Rejects, but would later be embarrassed about, and would never release. Most, or all, of these songs were probably recorded specifically for this movie; and they are a heavy burden for any film to bare. If I’m playing Devil’s advocate, I guess I can see how they don’t necessarily hinder the fun of watching Goldberg murder an entire police force, but it does limit the film’s potential. Santa’s Slay is fun, but it was never going to be a classic with horrible jams like this clogging up it’s screen time. Honestly, if they ever released a soundtrack to this movie, it would be a one way ticket into hell’s deepest pit.

Here’s something super crazy about this movie that I didn’t expect; the other problem with Santa’s Slay? It’s pretty damn racist! This may look like a cheesy Christmas slasher, and it is, but it’s also a biting criticism of Christians, Christianity, and Christmas, from a distinctly Jewish perspective. Seriously! It would be easy to ignore this subtext if subtext isn’t your thing, and I’m sure a big chunk of people eager to follow the cinematic career of professional wrestlers fall into that category, but seriously, this statement is in there if you look. Let’s break it down a bit:

Santa’s Slay doesn’t really have a hell of a lot of good things to say about Christmas, or Christians in general. In fact, the role of Jesus Christ in Christmas is utterly ignored in Santa’s Slay, something the film would like to suggest is accurate, given the current secular and commercialized nature of the holiday. I’ll give them that. Instead, the focus of Christmas is shifted more onto Santa Claus himself, who is pretty much the anti-Christ, thereby meaning that Christmas is a lot more misconception and a lot less immaculate conception (Budum-CHING!). Additionally, all identifiably Christian characters in Santa’s Slay are basically major pieces of shit… Most notably, Pastor Timmons, the town religious leader, played by the always excellent Dave Thomas (the Canadian one, not the square hamburgers one) who is a cowardly, lecherous, deceitful con man. Yep.

The opening scene is another good example, Santa’s Slay kicks it into high gear right out of the gate by opening with a multiple victim kill scene, which features Santa Claus butchering an entire family of wayward Christians. Santa get’s them all, but before they are slain, each of these characters takes a moment to establish to the audience that they are selfish, despicable, spiritually bankrupt pieces of trash. And the kicker? Most, possibly all, of these characters are played by well known Jewish actors, like James Caan, Chris Katan, and Fran Drescher. Hell, Santa Claus himself is played by Bill Goldberg, who is himself Jewish. It’s hard to imagine that this isn’t deliberate.

It’s not all Jewish actors portraying Christians, though, we also have some Jewish actors playing Jewish characters, such as Mr. Green, who runs the local deli where Nick works. Mr Green is portrayed in a way that is admittedly stereotypical, but also likable, and markedly positive. He comes off as an honorable, decent man, who goes out of his way to tolerate and accommodate the needs of various unruly gentiles which he can’t seem to escape, and he does so out of a inherent goodness that most of the film’s Christian characters flat out lack. Early in the film he is subjected to the intolerant ways of an elderly Christian woman, and Mr. Green takes it in stride and even wishes her a Merry Christmas when she balks at his initial, more P.C. offering of a “Happy Holidays.” The non-Jewish characters never display this sort of acceptance, or even awareness of others throughout this entire film. In Santa’s Slay, our good guys are good guys, but they’re not great guys, and in general, this movie is not very complimentary of Christians, or their most holy time of the year. It sort of feels like a large group of Jewish people in the entertainment industry converged and worked together to make a movie about all the things Christians do that piss them off, and that project is Santa’s Slay; a big, inside joke that we don’t quite pick up on.

I can deal with the anti-gentile sentiment, because whatever, dude, but the fact is; Santa’s Slay isn’t actually very tolerant of anyone else, either. Although the anti-Christian stuff actually forms the basis of the film, it’s still more covert. Much more readily apparent is the film’s small-minded and often bigoted attitude towards like, everybody. For instance;

The only black person I think you see in the entire movie: Nick walks up to the counter of a convenience store, and the figure behind the counter slowly and ominously turns to face him. The films plays with the suspense of not knowing who you’re about to see, letting you wonder if this is perhaps going to be Santa, or perhaps someone else equally threatening. Finally, the identity of this person is revealed, and it’s not Santa, its… A BLACK MAN?! Record scratch! Santa’s Slay makes an enormous, wildly offensive stink about this. Weird, electronic hip hop beats kick off, because, you know, he’s black, and he says “Whassup?” You know, like black people do. CRINGE. When Nick mentions to the clerk that he doesn’t recall ever seeing him before, the man behind the counter tells him something about moving here because it got too dangerous in “the hood.” Did a seventh grader write this scene? Really, this is just astoundingly tone deaf. Santa’s Slay plays off this exchange as a big joke, and the punch line is “Holy shit, that guys not white!!! Can you imagine?!” It’s the worst.

And it doesn’t end there! Later, Nick gets in trouble and meets the captain of the local police force, who is introduced in a similar fashion to the store clerk. His name? Captain Caulk, clearly enunciated as “Captain Cock.” Apparently, this character is gay, and although his sexual orientation in no way plays a role in the events of the film, they still go out of their way to point this fact out, for no real reason. Essentially, this character is exploited for what I assume is supposed to be comedic value. Was 2005 really that long ago? I feel like this sort of thing would never make it into a movie in this day and age unless it was deliberately trying to provoke outrage. Maybe we have come a long way after all.

The bigotry actually doesn’t feel especially malicious, if you can believe it. I know I’ve really called it out here, but it’s less glaring in the grand scheme of the movie. It really feels like this prejudice is more rooted in ignorance, than in hate, sort of like what you might hear from a high schooler who hasn’t really gotten a perspective on the real world yet. The bigotry in Santa’s Slay feels redeemable, like we could take Santa’s Slay, slap it in the face, and then make it hang out with gay people or black people for a weekend or two, and then it would maybe realize the error of it’s ways and step back in line with more socially progressive attitudes toward diversity. It does seem to be a little more adamant about looking down on Christians, but I wager that in the eyes of director David Steiman, all the black and gay stuff is seen more as a harmless joke than an expression of hate. This doesn’t excuse it, not by a long shot, but clearly, Santa’s Slay isn’t very smart, and neither is it’s writer/director. There’s just no reason to take anything this movie says seriously, and so you’ll only get as offended as you let yourself. If you’ve watched Family Guy or South Park, you’ve probably already seen much worse. The only difference is that what Santa’s Slay offers isn’t going to be as funny.

Still, all of that remains a hard pill to swallow… It’s really, really easy for me to forgive the aspects of Santa’s Slay that just plain suck, because dammit, this is a movie where Santa Claus lights Fran Drescher’s head on fire and murders her in the very first scene, and where the fate of humanity rests on the outcome of a curling match. Santa’s Slay had this one in the bag, and it really had to go out of it’s way to shake me. More pernicious is the bigotry woven in to the very fabric of the film, but as I mentioned above, these derogatory statements don’t carry much weight. When you saw the worlds “Brett Ratner’s Santa’s Slay, Starring Bill Goldberg,” were you expecting this to be a socially progressive experience? Santa’s Slay isn’t progressive in any way whatsoever. The movie still manages to be fun by virtue of premise alone, and the execution is passable, but if you’re sensitive to things like outrageous bigotry and anti-Christian sentiment, then you should probably pass on this one.

Also, Brett Ratner’s attachment to this film hurts it in a way more devastating than any racist content ever could. You suck, Brett Ratner


Silent Night, Deadly Night!!!

Silent Night, Deadly Night~ 1984, Charles A. Sellier Jr.


Deck the halls with- HUMAN INTESTINES?!?!

That’s right, folks, Christmas is supposed to be the happiest time of the year, but for many of us, it totally isn’t. What better juxtaposition, therefore, than to pair joyful, seasonally mandated goodwill for all mankind with gruesome, gore-laden campaigns of wanton terror and graphic violence? I’m glad you see things my way.

There is certainly no drought of Christmas themed horror movies out there, and while Silent Night, Deadly Night is admittedly not the best of the batch (that honor probably belongs to Black Christmas), it’s still maybe my favorite. There’s something about how openly sleazy it is, while still trying to make a head-scratchingly genuine mad dash for that special “feel-good” Christmas magic in sporadic segments. What kind of a lunatic included the cozy sounding “Warm Side of the Door” musical sequence in this controversial, violent slasher film? That shit was straight heartwarming, and therefore, its inclusion is hilarious.

THE PLOT- Billy is a kind, ordinary boy, whom fate has selected to progressively beat the shit out of in the most sadistic fashion imaginable. Because the universe despises Billy so, so much for absolutely no reason, he is, from a young age, subjected to the most traumatic, nightmarish bullshit ever. It is hilariously over-the-top. First, on Christmas eve, Billy’s supposedly catatonic grandfather chooses a moment when he and Billy are alone to snap back to his senses, just long enough to deliver the most needlessly menacing Christmas monologue ever, right into Billy’s young, horrified face.

Your damn grandfathers deranged, kid!!!

He then goes back to acting like he’s totally comatose, leaving Billy looking like an idiot for saying Grandpa talked to him. Then, mere hours later, again, on Christmas Eve, mind you, a man dressed like Santa Claus sexually assaults and murders Billy’s parents, while Billy sits and watches, utterly powerless to do anything but soak up the trauma like an sponge destined for counseling. After this, Billy and his little brother are sent off to a Catholic School for orphans, where they are abused and treated harshly. If you thought the worst was over, you were mistaken, because fate has also chosen to deal Billy some pretty shitty cards on the physical appearance front- this kid is sporting the hideous combo of bucked teeth, freckles, and a mullet. Good luck getting adopted now, asshole, you’re a bargain bin orphan at this point. You’d be lucky to be chosen for medical testing.

billy Is this a face you could grow to love? I jest, of course, he is clearly an abomination.

So, as an orphan, Billy doesn’t have a life so much as he has an ongoing series of altercations designed to remind him that he is alone in a world that hates him. Confused and neglected, he’s a damn time bomb waiting to go off, and there has been little to no attempt at patching up the deep seeded horror he has associated with the very idea of Santa Claus. If anything, his Catholic overlords seem to unknowingly confirm in Billy’s mind the idea that Santa Claus is more of a judge/jury/executioner style figure than anything else. Regardless, when the time comes, Billy is promptly booted out into a world which does not deserve him, and many innocents would soon pay the price. Santa should have finished him off when he had the chance.

The weird thing about this part of the movie is that by this time, Billy’s hideous, Gorgon like façade has been shed, and from it has emerged a hunkier, butterfly stage Billy; good looking, tall and well built. I want to slow you down if you think that this is a sign of things turning around, however, because the truth is that he remains largely distant from humanity, and this is really just nature’s way of outfitting him with the tools he will need to carry out an effective rampage. It’s a bad thing that he’s big, it just further illustrates how doomed he is.

For his next string of tragedies, Billy is hired on at a local toy store to preform unpleasant manual labor, because even as a hunk, he remains a second-class citizen in a society that can still somehow sense his childhood mullet and bucked teeth. Soon, Billy is hastily elected to play Santa, which, holy shit, they can’t have picked a worse candidate for this job, but before the socially dim Billy can express that Santa Claus is, to him, synonymous with the darkest, most unspeakable of horrors, he is thrown into the costume and ushered out into a space filled with innocent children. It’s a wonder he holds it together as long as he does, but it’s immediately clear to the audience that whatever still turning gears existed within the badly battered psyche of young Billy completely shattered this day, when he understood himself to be Billy no more- From that moment forward, he was Santa, a bringer of violent, bloody justice. No children are slain in this scene, but soon afterwards Billy happens upon people being “naughty”, and he brings the hammer down hard, murderer style. And that’s just the beginning; the rest of the film is really just Billy wandering around, encountering people having a good time and murdering the shit out of them. Meanwhile, cops and nuns unite, as they so often do, to crack the case of the murderous Santa Claus, and hopefully rescue Billy from his own madness. But they don’t! Yes, the world hates Billy right up until the end.


And so do I!

The movie is a fun, effective slasher, but as you may have gathered, its strongest attribute is how unreasonably merciless it is to kids. If your sense of humor has truly rounded the bend into dark territory, and you’ve reached the point where there is absolutely no distinction between tragedy and comedy, then you now know that in a fictional setting, terrible things happening to children who don’t deserve it can actually be pretty hilarious (see Butters from South Park. You know the words I speak to be true, just admit it). That is what Silent Night, Deadly Night really brings to the table. Billy gets it worse than anyone, but all the kids in this movie are subjected to irrationally, unreasonably severe instances of complete terror, none of which they are sophisticated enough to cope with. Dozens of well meaning boys and girls have the screaming shit traumatized right out of them so, so hard, and it’s not real, therefore, it’s really funny. I know you’re judging me right now, so cut it out.

Anyway, that’s not to say that there isn’t plenty of fun to be had with Silent Night, Deadly Night’s straight horror sequences, as well. Billy pulls off a fine rampage, every bit as enjoyable as those found in rival slasher films of the era, including many of the Friday the 13th movies. There are some creative kills, as well as an appearance by beloved scream queen Linnea Quigley.

Silent Night, Deadly Night is really great. As Christmas horror films go, it belongs in the top five for sure, and close to the top. It spawned a few sequels, including Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2; Youtube infamous for it’s hilarious “Garbage day!” scene. It was also remade in 2012 as Silent Night, which totally sucks. You could watch that one too, if you wanted to ruin your afternoon.