So now this holiday season I can say that I’ve officially seen all 5 “Silent Night Deadly Night” Movies! I’ve noticed a lot of people haven’t given the latter sequels a real chance, while the original is often a go to flick for most holiday horror fans. The fact is the 4th and 5th installments are pretty sweet additions to the franchise that operate similarly to “Halloween 3: The Season of the Witch”. Meaning they have absolutely zilch to do with the original three slasher themed Christmas flicks that came before them.
I think it’s a good thing actually, because at this point, I’m kinda over the whole “killer in a santa suit thing” trope. It’s been a done to death and the best “killer in a Santa suit” is a French movie from 1989 called “3615 Code Pere Noel” that pretty much no one has ever seen. So a year later in 1990, ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 4: The Initiation’ is it’s own movie completely, incorporating the Christmas thing just as a back drop for the whole weird ass story to unfold within. Directed by Brian Yuzna who was hot off the heels of ‘Society’ & ‘Bride of Reanimator’ helmed this x-mas oddity and even got horror icon Reggie Bannister (Phantasm) and always creepy genre fave Clint Howard to appear. On top of that he employs fx wizard Screaming Mad George (Predator, Nightmare on Elm St. 5) to work his usual bizarre monster effects magic even with the obvious limited budget.
It’s’ is a weird one that tells the tale of a reporter, played by the beautiful Neith Hunter (Near Dark) who’s investigating the bizarre death of a woman who leaped from a building and burned up in flames on the sidewalk. She soon finds herself mixed up in a weird coven of witches who’re trying to initiate her into their cult and have her take part of a gory sacrificial ceremony during the Christmas season. There’s giant bugs, disgusting transformations, huge gross maggots and Clint Howard running around like a madman chasing her all over the place. It also directly addresses the blatant sexism against women in the workplace quite nicely. Hunter’s character struggles with almost every man she comes into contact with, as pretty much all the men in this movie act like complete sexist dipshits.
There’s a bit of Yuzna’s “Society” style of grossness to “The Initiation” and it effectively displays plenty of squirm-worthy sequences that are sure to make people cringe in their seats. I enjoyed this one, not as much as ‘Part 5’ but it was a welcome departure from the Santa suit slasher concept of the previous three installments. I really wished ‘Christmas’ was more of a central theme to this but at least you get a bunch of shots with Christmas trees, decorations and lights in nearly every shot. A truly bizarre chapter in the series that’s definitely worth a watch if you’re fan of weird movies with some impressive practical effects work. You can get a three pack DVD of the Silent Night 3-5 on Amazon or pick up the VHS. Either way check it out if you’re looking for some weird cinema this holiday season!!
My Christmas wishes were answered yesterday as I headed off into the chilly night with a bunch of friends to check out Michael Dougherty’s holiday horror flick ‘Krampus’! I’ve been waiting for a proper Krampus movie for ages and the wait is finally over folks, this movie was awesome. Dougherty has proven he IS the master of holiday horror as now he’s got two incredible movies under his belt, his first being ‘Trick ‘R Treat’ from 2007 which has already become a cult classic. So why did I enjoy Krampus so damn much?
First it’s the perfect movie for the season at hand as it has a true heart of gold at it’s core. We start out seeing a crazy sort of Black Friday shopping experience on screen where insane Christmas shoppers fight in slow motion in greedy hordes for their gifts. It really kinda sets the mood for the rest of the movie, Christmas has become ugly. No one really has the holiday spirit anymore and our main characters who’re basically your average modern day family have forgotten what’s really important in life. We’ve got a great comedic cast here to and once all the relatives arrive for Christmas dinner it’s evident they’re in for a long weekend.
Krampus has a great cast going for it, Emjay Anthony really shines as Max a young boy who finally gets fed up with everyone’s selfish, negative attitudes and decides to rip up his Christmas letter to Santa chucking it out into the winter winds. Soon after a dark looming storm cloud settles above his neighborhood and hits it hard with one helluva winter storm. This is where all hell begins to break loose. From this point the neighborhood feels disconnected from reality and the way the winter transforms the landscape is a sight in itself to behold. Suddenly odd sinister snowmen begin appearing all around their house. Soon the family is entrenched in a fantastical fight for their lives against an evil hulking force with more than a few frightening tricks it up it’s shaggy sleeve.
The first time we see Krampus is an excellent sequence and form that point on we’re taken on a continuous roller coaster ride that brings to mind the best about movies like Gremlins and The Gate. This movie really feels like a lost movie from the 80’s that Speilberg produced, not directed. In fact this one feels like an old Joe Dante flick. The sets are incredible yet centralized in mainly one location and the monsters are a true spectacle to behold. Feeling a bit like if Charles Band (Puppetmaster/Full Moon) had a big budget back in the 80’s to make an X-mas flick. Also the effects are almost all practical with every bit of CG used exactly the way it should be. The costumes too of Krampus and his crew are quite impressive as well, simply put this one didn’t feel like your average mainstream horror movie and that’s a damn good thing.
Lastly we do have the big baddie Krampus who looks simply amazing, though maybe not quite like what you may have been expecting. My only real problem with this movie was that I really was hoping for more of the actual Krampus and maybe a bit of his true mythology. Most of the mayhem here is brought on by his minions and Krampus is more of an evil presence watching the shit hit the fan than a big bad guy like the Predator or Alien. I was hoping for a game of cat and mouse with the family squaring off directly with Krampus but in the end I really enjoyed the finale equally just in a different way. So that being said, I’m going to say this was easily one of if not my favorite movie this year so far. I’m actually quite happy as well with the PG-13 rating and some of the family friendly tones of the movie, besides with all the ugliness in the world right now it’s nice to have something to warm our hearts a little this Christmas season! I’m already hoping for a sequel where Krampus truly meets his match!