Here it is – the round-up of killer Christmas flicks I watched this holiday season, from Krampus sequels to my number one Christmas slasher of the year.
KRAMPUS 2: THE DEVIL RETURNS (2016)
This is a sequel to Krampus: The Christmas Devil, which I blogged about last year. The cop from the first movie is back when kids begin to disappear once again at Christmas time.
After some initially creepy as fuck scenes involving Krampus kidnapping children (a bedroom scene is particularly chilling), there are some fucked up moments when we see that Santa and Krampus are in cahoots and torture and kill the children they kidnap.
Then, this one goes off the rails.
Some baddies at a bar come into play, there’s a fricking chick fight, the main cop is kidnapped by Krampus and Santa, there’s a sex ritual sequence… Honestly, I was lost.
KRAMPUS UNLEASHED (2016)
This is quite confusing. Krampus Unleashed is basically an un-sequel to my favorite cheesy 80s throwback Krampus film from last year, Krampus: The Reckoning, which I blog about here.
Sure, director Robert Conway gives us another killer Krampus film, but the plots are unrelated, and even the Krampus monster design is totally different. The Reckoning Krampus was cheesy awesome 80s rubber suit stuff, while this Krampus is more of a modern makeup demon monster. Not to mention, at one point, Krampus: The Reckoning is playing on a television in this movie!
The plot has a family gathering in a house in the woods for a pretty awkward reunion. The film drags for 50 minutes (after the opening kill scene). The family finds a stone in the woods that releases Krampus, and finally, they all end up running around the forest as Krampus takes them down with loads of gore.
There’s even a shirtless hottie briefly, but he has to split….
In the end, this just feels like a fairly generic creature feature film you’d see on SyFy. I much prefer the first film.
CHRISTMAS SLAY (2015)
The opening kill scene of Christmas Slay looks and feels like a real low budget scenario, as some dude wearing a Santa suit kills a couple in bed then has a confrontation with police out in the front of the house.
The feeling didn’t change much when a bunch of girls was introduced, heading for a lodge to escape their man problems while the killer Santa dude is busy escaping from a mental institution.
For a while, not much happens beyond the girls having snowball fights, hiking, taking hot tub dips with boyfriends, and partying. Even the first kill in the woods is a disappointing cut away.
But then some pothead dude finds a bunch of gore in a toilet bowl and all hell breaks loose. The Santa dude (who is totally daddy sexy) bursts in and just starts hacking away.
The score is top notch horror goodness, Frank Jakeman, the guy who plays the killer, gives a great performance, and the battle with the final girl is hardcore.
Christmas Slay takes a while to get going, but it definitely rises above its initial b-movie feel in the final act.
GOOD TIDINGS (2016)
This is a bit different for a killer Claus movie…because there are three of them. The intro scene shows three escaped crazies hacking off the head of a guy in a Santa suit.
They then don some creepy Santa masks and suits, then head over to an old courthouse where a bunch of homeless people is having a holiday celebration. These evil Santas don’t mess around. They crash the party and begin hacking people up immediately.
The rest of the film has the survivors – including a war vet – trying to stay alive and take down the Santas.
The Santas not only kill, they also kidnap and terrorize victims (like making one kiss the severed head from the beginning of the film).
Plus, they seriously mind fuck the victims and set up booby traps around the building.
This is a straight up cat & mouse thriller with some good suspense and gore (plus, some CGI blood splatter), but it didn’t totally suck me in or escalate to a holiday horror must-see for me.
ALL THROUGH THE HOUSE (2015)
This is basically the runner-up for me this holiday season. All Through the House goes for the killer Santa throwback feel, and there are noticeable nods to slashers like Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Silent Night, Deadly Night, plus practical effects and tons of Christmas atmosphere.
Three young women come to the house of a lady – whose daughter disappeared years before – to help her decorate for the holidays. They soon notice that she definitely isn’t “right” since the loss of her child. There are mannequins of her daughter. There are creepy, life-size Santa’s all over the house. And the place is covered in holiday decorations and lights, yet the lady wants more. And, of course, there’s a killer Santa in a real creepy mask.
The main plot here is that this psycho Santa likes to hack off the dicks of men with hedge clippers, yet…only two guys get their dicks cut off (with nothing left to the imagination).
Indeed, the majority of victims are females, usually naked, and there are even a couple of lesbians that aren’t even lipstick. They’re more the “straight porn stars who get paid to do girl-on-girl” type. At least there’s a hot, shirtless Santa boy to add some variety.
Most glaring here is that there is an abundance of kill scenes simply because random people that have no connection to the plot appear just so they can be killed.
Great practical gore effects are the highlight, as is the performance by the person playing the killer, after the reveal. There are also some unintentionally funny b-movie moments, a Krampus reference, and a scene in which someone is reading the novelization of the queer horror film Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker. Speaking of, as the ultimate throwback to 80s horror, the big twist borrows from an infamous 1983 slasher classic….
SECRET SANTA (2015)
And my favorite Christmas horror viewing of 2016 is…Secret Santa! Director/writer Mike McMurran nails the 80s slasher throwback feel (complete with a grindhouse filter and an awesomely 80s synth score) while delivering some wickedly clever humor and a cast that totally knows how to do every nuance of horror comedy right—as if the comic relief character played to perfection by Geoff Almond isn’t enough.
On top of that, the final girl rules and is played by Annette Wozniak, who also appears in the film Bite.
The plot has a college girl throwing an intimate Christmas gathering to introduce her friends to her new man…a sexy professor.
The trouble starts when their secret Santa exchange reveals that each of them has gotten a mysterious, sharp item as a gift.
Pretty soon, it’s gore galore (CGI-free) as they are hacked up one by one by the very gift they received!
There’s even another hedge clipper to the cock!
Secret Santa is fast, funny, and to the point, with a devilishly clever twist that makes for a great final showdown. I knew I’d be adding this one to my DVD collection before it even ended. I also had to search out director Mike McMurran’s short horror comedy Demon Bitch, which stars some of the same cast.