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!