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!!
Ho ho ho! The Christmas spirit is in the air again and it’s once again time to check out some crazy holiday movies! Last night I watched a pretty ridiculous one to say the least, the final installment of the ‘Silent Night Deadly Night’ franchise, part 5: ‘The Toymaker’ from 1991! Now if you’re in the mood for some totally idiotic yet entertaining holiday movie mayhem I’d say this here is definitely worth a watch this year. As with the 4th installment of the ‘Silent Night Deadly Night’ franchise, this one has got absolutely zilch to do with the original, clearly a sequel only in name and I’m quite fine with that becuz really now, how many damn movies do we need with a killer in a Santa Suit?
So “The Toymaker” goes a way different direction with a totally absurd plot directed by Martin Kitrosser & co-written by horror icon Brian Yuzna (Night of the Living Dead 3, Bride of Re-Aminator, Society), which finds a little kid whose family is “terrorized” by killer presents..ahem “toys” made by a weird ass old dude toymaker named ‘Joe Petto’ played by the one and only Mickey Rooney! How the hell they got Rooney to do this flick is a bit of a wonder. First he’s clearly got the star power here, though in 1991 he must have been in dire need of acting work and even more bizarre is that Rooney wrote a protest letter against the first Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984). Claiming the “scum” who made it should be “run out of town” for having fucked with the sacred holiday. Oddly then six years later he joined the damn franchise!! He must have just loved the damn script so much he couldn’t resist! The world may never know..
Anyway Rooney runs his own creepy toy shop in town called “Petto’s” which is probably the WORST name you could pick for a toy store, oh and he’s got his socially awkward son working the shop too and yeah…..his name is ‘Pino’. I recognized this kid actor Brian Bremer from Pumpkinhead as well as starring in Tobe Hooper’s Spontaneous Combustion & Yuzna’s ‘Society’. So are you catching on here to the brilliance of this story here yet? Well Joe Petto makes toys that kill people and his weirdo son who lives in the dank cellar helps him out and also gets yelled at a lot by Petto after he’s been drinkin’ on the job during shop hours.
The meat of the plot here revolves around Joe Petto’s evil toy’s stalking a single mom and her child for some “unknown reason” right around Christmas. We get some pretty ridiculous bullshit going on here when the toys viciously attack and we even got Screamin’ Mad George (Predator, Nightmare on Elm St. 3) doing his best with the budget on special fx duty. Killer toy army men, toy centipede larva, heck even some killer roller blades! The movie’s filled with crazy ass plot twists too, the kind that are so stupid you can’t help but find idioticlly endearing.
The Toymaker goes for the jugular with a “shocking” finale too, that kinda just has to be seen to be believed as it’s about as stupidly awesome things come. There’s plenty to enjoy here for the holiday as the story somehow operates nicely within the Christmas season. It’s likely the second best installment of the ‘Silent Night’ franchise and the perfect holiday party flick as it’s got a lean, just over 80 minute run time that moves at a nice brisk pace. If you want a full on holiday party flick this one’s got the goods, just make sure you’ve got your sense of humor intact, plenty of weed and boozy egg nog there to wash this one down with…you’ll be needing it!
Deck the halls people! I checked out the new Christmas thriller / horror flick “Better Watch Out” last night as I was beginning to crave me some holiday themed mayhem! I really had no idea just what to expect, but had heard this one had a few twists and turns under it’s belt and of course I love creepy Christmas movies so why the hell not kick off the holiday season with a possible bang. ‘Better Watch Out’ is indeed an interesting movie, especially because it of it’s clever mind game it plays at it’s nasty core. More thriller than horror, with it’s fair share comedy and seemingly lighthearted holiday seasoned set up.
I’ve been trying to find some cool different movies this week for a Christmas horror movie night this weekend and I’ve gotta tell ya’ aside from the go to standards like (Black Christmas, Rare Exports, Silent Night Deadly Night, etc.) the pickin’s are pretty dang slim! There’s a serious shortage of cool weird ass fun Holiday flicks out there (however there are quite few unwatchable messes) but doing the research I’ve found two that I need to see, hopefully before Christmas is upon us this year!
First up is an odd movie way back from 1984 called “Tales of the Third Dimension”. This anthology was apparently released originally in 3-D & from what I gather the third and final story “Visions of Sugar Plums” which just happens to be the Christmas story is the only segment that’s well worth watching.
It involves two kids being dropped off at their Grandma’s house during Christmas the bad news is that Granny’s almost out of meds! So Granny loses her mind and then all sorts of crazy shit goes down, I could only find one clip on Youtube but it’s a damn good one. I’d like to get my hands on this full episode I’ve only seen it for sale on Amazon but it’s got a cool ass movie poster as well. This one could be worth the trouble of hunting down if you’re looking for something new this year!
Second I found a french movie from 1989 that looks pretty amazing called “Deadly Games” or “Game Over” or “3615 Hide and Freak” or it’s original title “3615 code Pere Noel”. This one looks pretty incredible and I actually tracked down a copy online and I’m hoping it gets here before Christmas.
This movie’s pretty unknown here in the USA but many see it as a darker version of “Home Alone” even though this one was filmed and released before. It’s described as a mix between Home Alone and Rambo boasting some dynamic action sequences.
The main character is rich kid who’s mansion home is invaded by an incredibly creepy down on his luck psycho in a Santa costume. The kid gets suited up in his army duds and paints his face all camo as he sets up deadly traps all over and tries to protect his Grandpa from the attacker.
It looks like quite an adventure and I’m always game for a cool 80’s flick done in that old school Amblin style. You can watch the whole thing on You Tube, but unfortunately it’s all in German. Check out this rad trailer!
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!
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: