Wow!! We’re getting SO close to the big day-yes Christmas 2021 will soon be here, so why not mix it up this year with some weird holiday shit instead of the same old cinema? It can be ruff finding new snow packed holiday flicks each season to rock out to. But I think some of the usual holiday suspects need a break this year. I mean you can only watch ‘John Denver and The Muppets Christmas’ special so many times right? That being said here’s a fave of mine that’s got the chops to get the bloody holiday party started right!!
‘Frostbiter: Wrath of the Wendigo’ is non stop craziness & a ton of fucking fun. This sweet little indie Michigan based snowbound horror flick was filmed way back in 1988 but sat on the cold dusty shelves for nearly a decade. It wasn’t released until 1996 when Troma decided to finally unveil this little gnarly beast out there to the general public. I’m not always the hugest fan of Troma stuff but this one was an independent production first and then only distributed by them later & good on them for doing so. It’s a snowy, low budget, splatter gem in the same arena as ‘Evil Dead 2’ and just as genuinely ambitious.
It also stars Ron Asheton, famed guitar legend of The Stooges, who had a short but sweet run in some pretty excellent little horror movies during this time period like ‘Legion of the Night’ & ‘Mosquito’. Both of those most definitely deserve a watch if you haven’t seen them yet! Frostbiter doesn’t skimp any of it’s excellent cheezball horror fx here either, it has a bunch of ridiculous puppets, bad ass stop motion monsters, gooey slimey gore and buckets of the red stuff.
None of this can be taken too incredibly seriously as the general spirit of the movie is pretty playful and IMO the perfect pick for a group of rowdy drunk holiday party goers. Though not an outright “Christmas” movie it does have some holiday leanings that fit it firmly in the specific genre quite nicely. First it all takes place in the fictional town of Bedford Falls, where ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ is set and even features segments of that particular film throughout. Secondly it’s clearly filmed in the frigid cold forests of the midwest and is jam packed with plenty of snow. We get a wild gang of redneck hunters all together in a dusty cold cabin where monsters spawn from pots of chili!
t’s got a pretty cool soundtrack as well that features an exclusive song about said chili! To make matters worse these these moronic hunters thankfully manage to awaken the evil spirit of the famed native american beast of the Wendigo! Yes & for a budget of ten thousand bucks this one is way more slimey fun than It has any right being.
I really did appreciate how much effort was put into this thing with all of the wild and crazy z-grade special fx pulled out of the rickety tool box. Sure it’s clearly a bit of an Evil Dead rip off, with this frantic tale taking place similarly in a snowy cabin in the woods as well. However it’s got enough of its own identity and charm to put itself uniquely into a category of its own.
If anything it’s most definitely worth it for its wild wintery finale when the Wendigo rears its gigantic head in a bonkers stop motion animation showdown. Oh yeah, spike the eggnog hard and roll yourself a nice fat one to pass around cuz this one will deliver the damn goods this Christmas for a ravenous gang of cinemaniacs! The perfect party movie & likely a new holiday season ritual, This movie needs way more attention and most definitely a fancy ass blu ray release!
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!!
It seems my Christmas dreams will be coming true next year as there are now several Krampus movies planned for release around the 2015 holiday season! It’s about time too, as I’ve been saying for years that someone needs to make an awesome Christmas horror movie about the bad boy yuletide creature! Krampus is a dark version Saint Nick, a horned demonic creature, according to German folklore he seeks out the bad children, puts them in his sack and beats them with a bundle of branches. Sounds terrifying right?!
Well up til this day we have gotten some scary versions of Santa Claus (Sint, Rare Exports, Santa’s Slay) some creepy slashers dressed up like Saint Nick ( Silent Night Deadly Night, Christmas Evil, Tales from The Crypt: And all Through the House) but we have NEVER seen the Krampus in all of his glory on the big or small screen. This baffles me and for some time I had developed my own version of a Krampus movie that I think would be brilliant.
I guess I could mention in 2013 there was a Krampus movie that was well….not so impressive. “Krampus: The Christmas Devil” was technically the first Krampus flick, but just one that well has slipped under nearly everyone’s radar. You can watch the whole thing on youtube if you’re feeling the challenge!
There was also another lackluster attempt to bring Krampus to life in this short “Night of the Krampus”
I guess while I’m at it I could also mention Krampus was on the Grimm tv series and he looked pretty cool:
However in 2015 it seems that Krampus will be the star of Christmas as there are now two major Krampus flicks on the way(and I’m sure we’ll see some smaller studios trying to get in on the Krampus action too)! The first one being Kevin Smith’s “Anti-Claus” which is rumored to be a anthology starring Tusk’s Justin Long & Haley Joel Osment. I’m excited to see this one as I really think Kevin Smith did good work on Red State and I still need to check out Tusk.
But it gets even better, it was just announced that Michael Dougherty will be directing his own Krampus movie as well for Legendary Pictures. If you remember Dougherty was responsible for the amazing Trick ‘r Treat back in 2007 one of my favorite modern horror flicks. I’ve a feeling that he’ll be giving Kevin Smith some serious “krampetition” for the best Krampus flick ever! So it seems well have more than enough of the Christmas demon next year-here’s hoping for a true cult flick to watch every year after on the holidays! I think it’ll be important for at least one of the film makers to try and refrain too much from the comedy, let’s face it if done right the Krampus could be truly terrifying. I simply cannot wait to see what they come up with.
Here’s a little more Krampus for you, check out this awesomely freaky video of the Krampusnacht, a traditional Krampus type parade/celebration yearly in parts of Europe. These guys go all out with some truly terrifying Krampus costumes, imagine what a studio with a budget could come up with!
And of course here’s more on the origins of the Krampus folklore!
Ho Ho Ho & the horror of it all! I just finished the novel “Krampus: The Yule Lord” by Brom the other evening and it was an awesome holiday journey! Now this could in fact be old news to a lot of you out there, but I was only recently turned on to Brom by way of this here book. Even though I LOVE the Krampus mythology to death I wasn’t quite sure about delving into the book until I read one of the endorsements on the back cover by easily one of my favorite comic book writers and artists of all time, Mike Mignola. Yeah the man most well known for Hellboy was quoted saying “Terrific. A wild ride–the idea sounded like a stretch and I’m not sure how many guys could have really pulled it off, but Brom sure has. I loved it. It hooked me and I couldn’t put it down. Plus, the illustrations are amazing.”
At that moment I knew I was going to love this book to death. Turns out Mignola was dead on (of course), the book is simply an incredible epic ride. It reads more like a comic book and in my mind I had grand visions of Guillermo Del Toro adapting this one to film. It tells a the story of a man named Jesse who’s a down on his luck, boozin’ musician in West Virginia who lives in a trailer and longs to win the love of his ex-wife and daughter back. On Christmas eve though this year, after a night of drinking he spots something quite strange in the sky above, what appears to be “Santa” flying in his sleigh trying to fight off some sort of demonic men. As Jesse is no believer in Santa, he’s downright perplexed until this sleigh from the sky crashes nearby and he’s face to face in the dead of a cold winter’s night with the creatures himself. As he fights for his life he also stumbles upon something else that has fallen from the mysterious sleigh, an odd bag that seemingly has no bottom to it.
This begins a tale full of mystery, monsters, folklore and grand adventure. Don’t be fooled by the whole “Santa Claus” aspect of it though, this isn’t a kid’s book by any means. This story is filled to the brim with gore, scares, suspense and foul backwoods language. It’s also got a some great twists and turns in the plot that will have you guessing ’til the very end. And it doesn’t hurt that Brom has a truly unique way with words that puts you right there in all of the creepy action as he paints the perfect picture quite literally. Yes, Brom is also quite an amazing artist getting his start with Dungeons & Dragons way back in the day(yeah how cool is that!), this book has some truly breathtaking art within. I’m eagerly awaiting checking out more of this guy’s work.
I’ve gotta say it- now is the time to pick this book up it’s a must read this holiday season and appeared first back in 2012. Once you jump into the first chapter you won’t be able to stop reading, especially if you’re a fan of Christmas horror and Krampus mythos. The story is huge, Brom did his homework on the vast Krampus folklore but it’s kept to a very personal level following Jesse (who I picture in my head as kind of like Nick Stahl in Carnivale every time the character opens his mouth). I hope Mignola adapts this to comic book form or someone picks this up as a movie. I’d love to say more about this book but alas I wouldn’t dare want to spoil all of the surprises-Pick this up now, grab some spiked egg nog, a candy cane and curl up by the fire this season you won’t be disappointed! The Krampus is on the move this holiday season!! Here’s a cool interview with Brom: