Rare Exports: a dark modern Christmas fairy tale

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This Christmas story from Finland sort of defies categorizing. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale will most likely appeal to fans of the horror genre but there’s an almost childlike quality to it if you consider it from the perspective of old school children’s stories that were meant to disturb kids. I could see little horror fans loving this one for its creepy, dastardly Santa legend. So I guess that does make it a horror movie—one that can be enjoyed by young and old alike. So gather the family around!

Up in the mountains in Finland, there’s an American archaeological dig. A troop of deer hunters and their families also live in the area. One young boy becomes convinced that the dig site is the burial ground of Santa and that he’s actually been unearthed and is coming for all the naughty children. Something must have been unearthed, because the deer hunters find a whole field of mutilated deer, which is really going to hurt their business.

Screw all the Santa has an axe horror flicks. This is one of the eeriest Santa terror tales so far. He falls into a wolf trap belonging to the deer hunters and should be dead…but he’s not. He’s also this cowering, naked, emaciated, non-speaking, white bearded old man. Seems harmless enough. But what kid wants to sit on a scrawny naked old dude’s lap?

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While this dude is in captivity, things go missing: a whole bunch of indoor heaters, a whole bunch of potato sacks. Oh yeah. And a whole bunch of children. As the deer hunters decide what they’re going to do with Santa, they discover he has brought along his creepy-assed helpers, who aren’t happy that their master is being held captive….

You may wonder what the hell the title Rare Exports means. You’ll have to watch the movie to see, because the outcome of the film is just as horrific as the idea of an evil Santa and his killer helpers—shining a light on just how inhumane greed can make humankind!!! This is a twisted little tale enhanced by the cold, isolated location and a visually stunning presentation. The U.S. never seems to make horror movies that are this easy on the eyes.

The Blu-ray includes the two short films that preceded the full-length feature and star most of the same actors. The first is virtually a short version of the full-length movie while the second works as a sequel to both the first short and the full-length. These two shorts are much darker than the movie in that they focus solely on the evil of humanity (which only comes out at the end of the full-length) rather than the threat of an evil Santa.

I’ve actually seen the movie described as a horror comedy. While some of the situations could be seen as darkly comic (more so in the short films), I didn’t find the film particularly funny. Maybe something is lost in the subtitle translations?

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Once Rare Exports has gotten you into the holiday spirit, check out the completely random holiday bonus on the Blu-ray; it actually contains the full-length 1964 movie Santa Claus Conquers the Martians! WTF? But hey. I’m thrilled to have a copy, even though it looks like a VHS rental that’s already been whored out to every VCR in town.

I can’t deny that this completely absurd movie is kind of funny. For starters, it has the absolute best 60s Christmas pop song as its theme, sung by a choir of children. I so want “Hooray for Santa Claus” song on CD!!!

It’s such a classic that it was even covered by The Fleshtones:

So back to the movie. There are these Martians that come and kidnap Santa to make their kids happy at Christmas time; while they’re at it, they kidnap the two earth children who point the way to the North Pole. But there’s a big old Grinch of a Martian and he pretty much wants to kill Santa. So it’s up to the good Martians, their children, and the children they kidnapped to save Santa! One of the Martian children is a young Pia Zadora, who happens to be the biggest known name in this movie….

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Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, aside from giving the ending away in the title, looks as cheesy as classic 60s sci-fi shows like Lost in Space, but the badness of it all will probably make you laugh out loud a few times. Plus, there are some mustached daddy bear Martians whose costumes are way too tight. AND, there’s an homage to March of the Wooden Soldiers. Awesome.

Here’s my video of loads of Christmas horror flicks you can check out:

 Here’s my video of loads of Christmas horror flicks you can check out:

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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