Day Two of our “Five Days Of Christmas”! This one has several stories to “get you in the spirit”!
Suppose I come to you Fellow Fans and tell you that I’ve got this flick I want you to check out; it’s a Christmas-themed anthology with crisscrossing storylines, touching on mythic creatures from Germanic and Celtic mythology, with elements of a “ghost hunter”-type show, and Santa Claus battling zombie elves at his North Pole factory…
Yes, you heard me right. Part ghost story, part creature-feature…and part Santa’s workshop overrun with undead little Christmas elves.
All this, and William Shatner.
A lot of you probably know that I’m talking about the new flick A Christmas Horror Story; simple title, but don’t let that fool you. After my little intro, my guess is that some of you out there are thinking…
“He’s slipped a cog — this sounds like a Sid & Marty Kroft production of Santa Claus: The Movie directed by Oren Peli and George Romero after a three-day bender“…
…and the rest of you have a big grin on your face and are thinking “Man, I GOTTA see this!”
It’s Christmas time in Bailey Downs, and local radio personality DJ Dan is settling into his “annual double shift” to spin some holiday tunes and try to drum up the Christmas spirit.
Of course, as often happens, some of his co-workers don’t share in his joy, but that doesn’t even slow Dan down — so long as he’s got his whiskey and egg nog, he’s ready to spread cheer. This little ‘burg has no shortage of activity this Yuletide, what with three local students sneaking into the basement of their old school to do a video report on the vicious, ritual murder that occurred there last Christmas…the investigating police officer of that same murder now taking more time with his family, and yet another family going to visit an aging aunt from the old world. None of these groups realize how their fates are interconnected as they go about their respective business, blissfully unaware of the horrors that await each and every one of them, nor are they aware of the final battle for Christmas itself, the stage for which is being set in a legendary toy factory at the North Pole…
The film is actually four separate vignettes directed by three different directors; Grant Harvey, Steven Hoban, and Brett Sullivan.
All are wrapped together by the occasional broadcast by DJ Dan, played hilariously (but not in a campy or overt manner) by the redoubtable William Shatner. I’m not going to go into any more details on these than I already have, because I really feel like it would dampen the experience of seeing the film. Suffice to say, everything I mentioned in my introduction is present, but how it’s presented is beautifully done; these storylines cross paths on many occasions, obviously concurrent events on this particular Christmas Eve (and those fans of Ginger Snaps or Orphan Black out there are already familiar with Bailey Downs), but it’s done with terrific performances from all of the actors involved, and set out in a very clever and well-structured narrative that keeps you wanting more without losing interest in any tale. Each is unique in it’s individuality, yet all fit together like a well-made tapestry. There’s a little something for everyone here, lightly coated with a dark humor that is a perfect compliment to the feast. Although some of you may still be shaking your heads about it…
OK, so, we have the honest-to-Christmas SANTA CLAUS in a horror flick? Not some nut dressed up like him or killing off other folks that are, but Santa HIMSELF? And you LIKED it? That nails it…you’re high…
…trust me, friends; stay with the flick…it incorporates a lot of mythology and fantasy, so don’t let that one little leap about Kris Kringle stop your from 100 minutes of Christmas horror enjoyment. Stay with it till the very end for a twist that will spin your head like Linda Blair in a centrifuge — in retrospect, I shoulda seen it coming, but I didn’t — and I’m willing to bet a lot of you won’t, either.
I unabashedly love this movie, folks; when it hits DVD/Blu-ray, I’ll have it. This is one of those that I think is a new classic for us horror-type folks, fitting right up there on the “Christmas Horror” shelf next to Black Christmas, Silent Night, Deadly Night, Christmas Evil, Santa Slay, To All A Good Night, and Don’t Open Till Christmas. The best way I can describe my enjoyment of it is to say that this film is to Christmas horror what Trick ‘r’ Treat is to Halloween-themed movies; it’s got that same cohesion, that same vibe, and that same sheer fun peppered with genuine horror elements that leaves you laughing despite some of the terrible things it shows you. It’s not so much trying to scare you as it is wanting you to have a good time, and in my case it delivers this in spades.
Naturally, some of you will see it and think I’m a complete idiot for enjoying it as much as I do, and hey — that’s totally cool. Does it have some flaws? Sure…what movie doesn’t? For what it is, though, I thought it was fantastic; I’m already looking forward to watching it again. That said, if you can dig a genuinely good time with a well-written, well-acted story, one that creates it’s own universe and draws you in…if you’re the kind of horror fan who finds that Christmas is as good a time for horror as any, I seriously recommend this movie.
Personally, I’m damn glad I didn’t have to wait until Christmas to open this one — with a little luck, I’ll find a copy in my stocking this year.
Two cents (and a couple cookies for Santa).
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