Spring might be just around the corner, but it’s never too late for a trio of Christmas horror flicks to add to the complete holiday horror page. Let’s see if these three are worth watching next December.
A QUARANTINED CHRISTMAS (2020)
An odd mix of infected film and whodunit (also whydunit), this little Christmas film has elements of horror, but it’s mostly about dysfunctional friends trapped in a house together on Christmas and obsessing over a video someone may or may not be in possession of.
Moody and haunting renditions of Christmas songs, plus claustrophobic, zoomed shots and awkward interactions between the characters establish a tense and almost trippy predicament with little in the way of clarity as the film progresses with odd twists that keep us questioning what is actually going on.
The friends fight over the video with seemingly incriminating footage on it, a CDC doctor comes to the door to tell them they can’t leave the house, a few people pass out, a few start to puke blood and appear quite infected, some people die or are murdered, and yet what matters the most to everyone continues to be that damn tape.
It’s intriguing and has plenty of holiday spirit, but it may leave you mostly confused as it concludes.
Eh. This 75-minute long killer Santa film is written and directed by the two stars.
After an opener of a Santa getting ready to slice up two bound babes in bikinis with a chainsaw, we move ahead five years. The film takes place in a water treatment plant. There are approximately five characters. Santa shows up with an axe.
The rest of the film has the two female characters being repeatedly abducted and tied up by Santa and the two male characters repeatedly freeing them and hunting Santa down.
There are a couple of long-winded monologues by Santa as well. There are also so many killer Santa movies to choose from it doesn’t seem all that necessary to choose this one.
13 SLAYS TILL X-MAS (2021)
Scream Team Releasing is usually quite dependable with well-made 80s throwback horror that is often of the holiday horror variety, so I blind pre-ordered this one on Blu months ago. Having received and watched it, I can now say that if I had seen it first I wouldn’t have added it to my collection.
This is a Christmas anthology that feels mostly like a collection of short films you could find on YouTube. It runs 105 minutes long and has loads of stories (13 in total, hence the title), but it feels like the writers and directors of each were forced to keep their tales less than five minutes long. There is nothing quite effective enough here to be memorable, and not even a handful of familiar indie horror faces add anything special to the mix.
The wraparound features a group of men at a bar telling scary Christmas stories. Well, they’re supposed to be scary, but that doesn’t often work out as planned. While there are a few fun ones, most of them are cliché. A good number of them feel like incomplete tales, and half the time I couldn’t tell when one story ended and another began because there isn’t always a return to the wraparound between tales.
Some of the plots include:
-a corpse returns to celebrate the holidays
-a dad makes a deal with a Christmas devil
-a man is visited by a dark Christmas angel
-a killer clown comes for Christmas
-a killer doll terrorizes a lesbian couple on Thanksgiving
-a masked killer targets sinners at a holiday gathering
-a killer reindeer enjoys a big Christmas dinner
There’s definitely plenty of holiday spirit and loads of scenes drenched in red light, yet for me, the violent and bloody conclusion of the wraparound is the best part of the film. Oh, that and the best Christmas present of all: Santa and a bear…