"On the tenth day of Creepmas, Krampus gave to me:
Stories in an anthology!"
- Mr. Universe
Writers: James Kee, Sarah Larsson, Doug Taylor, Pascal Trottier, Jason Filiatrault
Directors: Grant Harvey, Steven Hoban, Brett Sullivan
‘Tis the season of nog, lights, presents, family gatherings, and ’tis also the season where your Uncle Eric gets blackout drunk and pukes his nog and rum into your christmas jammies. Krampus unfortunately did not come that year to collect. Speaking of Krampus, I will be reviewing the movie A Christmas Horror Story, which is a Christmas anthology horror movie. I was not aware of this going into the movie, but let’s kick the kickstand off our sleigh, whip Rudolph into gear and start this!
I’ll first introduce you to who will be flying our movie tonight. Our reindeer for today will be George Buza who we’ve got playing good ol’ jolly old Saint Nick, and Rob Archer as his nemesis Krampus. Zoè De Grand Maison (really rolls off the tongue), Shannon Kook, and Amy Forsyth will be dealing with a ghost who went through a dangerous forced-by-nuns abortion. We’ve also got Adrian Holmes, Orion John, and Olunike Adeliyi who are dealing with some creepy changelings. For our third story we have Julian Richings, Percy Hynes White and Corrine Conely in a story about some brats who are being hunted down by Krampus himself. Finally, for our fourth story we have Santa fighting off zombie elves. Well, kind of. Did I forget about our special drop-in actor? We all know and love him -- his name is William Shatner! He plays a radio host which starts off and ends the movie.
I’ll try my best not to be biased in this review because I really enjoy horror anthology movies. As I already stated, I wasn’t aware of what this movie was going into it, and did not even know it was an anthology. What I did know is that ever since I saw the movie Krampus I realised I needed to see a movie with Santa fighting Krampus. I found the movie cover for this movie and it had exactly what I was looking for, so I decided to give it a shot. Unfortunately, in the end, this movie was not at all what I was expecting -- and as much as I love horror anthologies, I was a little disappointed. Despite that, I still am pretty happy with what I got.
First I will start by slicing into this dry crusty festive turkey that Aunt Rhonda prepared and I will hop right into it and tell you what I disliked with this movie. When we’re first introduced to the story with Santa fighting zombie elves, it showed the outside of his workshop. This was clearly CGI, and this specific scene felt, with the quality of the CGI and the colour scheme of the scene, like an Asylum Pictures movie. If you don’t know what that is, consider yourself lucky. This put me off, but thankfully the scene was only a good second or two long. For the most part, the shorts where all Christmas-themed save for the changeling one, but it had Christmas trees and a holiday atmosphere so I felt they got away with a not-so-Christmassy villain. But the story of the kids in the basement of their school, trapped after investigating a murder that had occurred down there -- the only thing that tied it to the season was that this took place between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.This was mentioned, but not heavily focused on, so it seemed to really stick out from the rest of the other stories. If it were a haunted school where every Christmas such-and-such happens, and the school was at least decorated, then I would have been a little happier with that. Then the ending of another story where Krampus is after the bad children had a twist which was not even special, but then they had to ruin even that. The twist is that Krampus is a spirit, and whomever has hatred in their heart on Christmas Day becomes possessed and turned into Krampus. I’m not completely versed in Krampus lore, but I don't think that's part of it. But okay, whatever, that's not as awful as when the granddaughter starts yelling at her grandma who is showing symptoms of hatred and anger before turning into Krampus herself.
I was also having troubles watching a big chunk of this movie because I was waiting and waiting for Krampus and Santa to meet and for the movie to structure in mini-battles before their big brawling climax. (I know you shouldn’t judge a movie by its cover, but with this one it is really hard not to. It looks so promising!) Eventually I gave up on the idea of that ever happening and just kind of went with what I got. So among other things, the cover was misleading. If it’s not going to be a big part of things, I would have the movie cover to be related to the movie and leaving the Krampus and Santa battle to be a surprise. Then there was the changelings -- which were creepy, yes -- but up-close looked like a baby Grinch was stuck in the freezer for the night and shed ninety-eight percent of his hair. They were doing such a good job with making them creepy and leaving their full appearance to the imagination, then they just had to be ballsy and show too much, making the changelings less scary than they were. My final problem with this movie is that when Santa fought Krampus, it was cool and awesome and everything I wanted, except it was lacking length. The fight scene was really short. Cool, but short. Then they added the big twist for the story, which I will talk a little more about in the bottom of our dessert bowl.
Now that we’ve forcefully swallowed down that dry-ass turkey, we can now dig into Grandma Bertha’s candied orange-rind chocolate mousse for dessert! Maybe it’ll help us get down whatever turkey is still stuck in our throats. Ten Christmases this has been your job, Aunt Rhonda, and you still haven't learned to cook a damn turkey. Anyway, to the dessert! This movie had some scenes and plot points which left me wondering ‘Qhy is that there? What does this have to do with the rest of the movie?’ For example, the whole William Shatner thing with the story of the radio station that it keeps coming back to, and giving updates about a hostage situation at a mall.This seemed irrelevant to the movie and the rest of the stories and the whole thing just seemed so pointless. However, it all ties in at the very end with the big plot twist and that I had liked a lot. This tie-in even bumped up my score for this movie up a point and a half. Hint, this big end ties in with Santa’s story.
I’m full of mousse but I’ll be damned if I stop here! Cake and ice cream! Even though the story of the kids in the haunted school basement did not seem terribly relevant to Christmas, the story was pretty creepy. The backstory was a little messed up, where a 15-year-old was pregnant and died while a couple of nuns forced an abortion on her. That scene alone made me quite uncomfortable. However, this ghost possessed the girl who brought them into the school and had her try to seduce the other two boys she came with. Only one slipped into Ms. Possessed, and he did not pull out. Why would I mention this? Because later on you find out that the ghosts goal is to impregnate someone so they can have the baby she never got to. Whoever goes against this she ends up killing.
I really don’t have much to say about the fourth story of Krampus chasing after that family aside from slight character development on the boys’ behalf and why the daughter thinks Krampus is after them. Quite honestly though, you can’t really have Krampus in a movie and not have him going after the naughty kids. The maker of this short bit the bullet and said “Ooookay, I guess I’ll take the mandatory story of Krampus hunting for sinning kids.”
That just leaves us with the story about Santa, so we might as well chill while mom takes her time in the kitchen putting things away to open up presents, and eat a candy cane! The Santa story is outlandish and ridiculous and aside from that opening scene, I loved every minute of it. Long story short, Santa’s elves become zombies and are attacking him. He is fighting back by decapitation, stabbing and slashing his elves with his sharp staff. How could you not enjoy this? What I also really liked about this part is that before this all happened, this story seemed at the beginning like it could be pulled off as a kids’ live-action Christmas movie had it gone a different direction. Just the setting, and being about the elves and stuff.
Oh, you thought I would be generous enough to tell you that plot twist, did you? Well, maybe you haven’t been as good as you thought this Christmas!
I really liked how this movie was an anthology done like Trick ‘r Treat, where it’s one short after the other that are separate stories, all going on at once, some even connecting to each other. Unlike other horror anthologies like V/H/S or Holidays where it’s just short after short after short. This movie may not be a great horror movie, and it may not be scary, and it may be pretty over-the-top -- but that is exactly what I liked about this movie and that is what made this movie fun. Overall I would have to rate this movie 6.5 zombie elves out of 10.
(P.S. You may not have been very good, but I'll still leave you with a present: the big twist that I liked. If you don’t want to know, then don’t open it, but if you do just highlight the invisible ink paragraph below and feast your eyes.)
Oh, hello. Long time, no see. So what was so cool about this twist was that while Santa and Krampus are fighting, Santa has Krampus on the ropes and is about to give his final blow when Krampus starts talking like some random dude. Santa snaps out of it, and Krampus turns into a dude huddled on the floor and freaking out. Suddenly Santa has brown hair and a really shitty fake beard and is located in a mall! Sound familiar? This is the mall that the Shatner keeps updating about a hostage situation. Turns out that the guest that William Shatner had on his show was a mall Santa and that he had finally snapped after a long shift. All those angry elves were just mall employees trying to stop him, and this whole time he has been attacking with an axe.
Now seasons greetings you naughty bastards, and go watch the damn movie for yourselves!