Sunday, December 17, 2017
One of the quintessential holiday horror films, along with Black Christmas and a few others I'm going to cover on here, Silent Night Deadly Night seems to be the most remembered. Since Thanksgiving has passed, images of this film have been plastered all over my social media feeds. My own personal aversion to Christmas kept me from watching this previously but no longer! I have joined the SNDN cult!
Silent Night Deadly Night focuses on a boy named Billy. His family visits his grandfather in a mental hospital where the grandfather secretly tells Billy that Santa will punish the boy for not being good all year. On their drive home the parents stop to help a man dressed as Santa on the side of the road. This Santa is some sort of lunatic criminal that kills the father and then rips open the shirt of the mother before he cuts her throat. Billy hides but sees all of this and becomes ultra traumatized toward Santa Claus. He and his baby brother are then taken to an orphanage run by nuns where the Mother Superior has incredibly old-fashioned (even for the time) views of child psychology and corporal punishment. As if Billy weren't fucked up enough, she just makes it worse. Finally, in the "present day" of the film, Billy has a job at a toy store where he ends up playing the store Santa. After a few drinks at the holiday party and walking into an attempted rape by one of his co-workers, Billy has a flashback and then just goes on a murderous rampage.
I'm sure that when this film was being written they were just looking for plot reasons to have Billy snap. The thing that floored me with Silent Night Deadly Night was the fact that from a psychological point of view everything makes sense. The initial trauma toward Santa based on real life events, the fear of punishment for being "naughty," the aversion to sex and the association of violence with it and the baring of the female body, these are all relevant reasons for Billy's emotional response. Granted, this is an extreme expression of it, but the inclusion of alcohol (which he had no previous experience with) would lead to a lowering of inhibitions. The only thing is once he started, he just didn't stop.
With that analysis out of the way, I liked Silent Night Deadly Night. It's dated, but for someone like me it felt nostalgic. Seeing He-Man toys on a shelf or the weird inflatable bunny that everyone had for Easter let me go back to the 80's without an issue. I found myself only caring about Billy as far as the characters go. Though, with a holiday slasher, everyone is pretty much expendable. This movie also spawned a few sequels which I may watch at some point. However, if I take anything away from this movie, it's going to be just shouting "NAUGHTY!" at the cats when they misbehave.
I give Silent Night Deadly Night 4 ripped Santas out of 5:
Saturday, December 16, 2017
Holy sweet goddamn did I luck out with this one! I had no previous knowledge of this film aside from the title alone but look right above that! Bill fucking Goldberg! WCW/WWE wrestler Bill fucking Goldberg gets top billing in this film. Do you know why? He's Santa in this! I honestly don't know why I'm even writing this and not rushing to buy every last copy of this from the $5 bin at Wal-Mart to stuff each copy into my husband's stocking. He doesn't care about wrestling but I can't justify buying those all for me, but if I say it's a gift for him...
Santa's Slay has a simple premise: Santa is actually the spawn of Satan. One-thousand years ago an angel challenged Santa to a curling (the ice sport, not weightlifting) competition and won. In return Santa had to stop being a dick and instead only commit good deeds for a thousand years. Now that the deal has been fulfilled Santa goes on a murder spree with his
This film knows exactly what it is and turns that awareness into its greatest strength. When carolers are out in the day the main characters question why, but it's a setup for Santa to wreck some carolers. We know that, and the film knows that, so we're okay with it. The opening scene has Fran Drescher, Chris Kattan, and Rebecca Gayheart in it and they only exist to be the first kills that set the pace. There are some other recognizable faces in here too but I'm still too hyped on Bill Goldberg killing people as Santa.
Speaking of which, Bill has never been great on the mic. Mind you, he's better than some *cough*Brock Lesner*cough* but every line delivered by him is great. Sure, we get a lot of holiday puns but we do get some golden ones like "I'm Santa Claus, not fucking Dracula!" which I think I want etched on something when I die. I don't know what yet, but somewhere, on something. My only regret with this film is that Santa didn't give anyone the Jackhammer finisher, although I do think he speared at least one person.
I give Santa's Slay 5 ripped Santas out of 5:
Friday, December 15, 2017
At some point in the last decade the U.S. caught a whiff of the Germanic folktale of Krampus and lost its collective mind. A creature to rival Santa which kidnaps and beats and/or devours bad children? Sign us the fuck up! Kids are jerks! Unfortunately, like most things we lose our minds over, people start cashing in on it. With the release of the 2015 film Krampus making $61.8 million in box office alone then why wouldn't knock-off versions begin to pop up? This is how I found Krampus Unleashed.
Following absolutely nothing in regards to the Krampus lore (aside from his look and setting the film during Christmas) we get some backstory about a bandit named Klaus that supposedly hid some treasure in the desert in Arizona. A group of treasure hunters find the buried loot but it just ends up being some dirty socks and a large black stone. This stone summons Krampus and he kills with wreckless abandon until the stone falls into a creek. Fast forward years later and the stone is found by a boy that is part of a family get together on some land in the desert. Krampus is summoned and this movie continues its sickening spiral into hell.
I don't know what I expected with this film, but I'm damn sure it isn't what I watched. The acting was competent. That's all. The director got a bunch of people in front of a camera and they said their lines, but a lot of the emotional response or just physical acting lacked any talent. When you tell a boy that his dad and grandfather were just murdered by a monster, and you do a close-up shot of the kid's face, you better make sure he looks upset. Instead we get the "did I leave the stove on" face. This movie had a plot, and it worked, but in that sense that if you put enough glue on things then they have to stick together. Right?
The only redeeming moments of this film are each of the kills done by Krampus. I thought Troma did some low budget stuff, but damn! The blood was the reddest blood I have ever seen and every time a limb or head was severed it was apparent that some poor mannequin was getting fucked up. The thing is, I can't fault them on it. Even though it looked cheap it made me laugh every time. It wasn't what they intended but at least I got enjoyment out of it. If you look up anything from this movie then please look up Krampus punching the grandmother's head off. That might be all you need to see.
I give Krampus Unleashed 1 ripped Santa out of 5:
Thursday, December 14, 2017
13 Days of Christmas Day 2: Silent Night, Bloody Night (a.k.a. Night of the Dark Full Moon, a.k.a. Death House) (1972) 1h 21m
I had no clue this movie existed. I was trying to find a version of the original Silent Night, Deadly Night to watch and clicked on this while not looking at the full title. Between this, Silent Night, Deadly Night, and Black Christmas also being known as Silent Night, Evil Night, the horror industry needs to calm their fucking tits when it comes to this pun. Nevertheless, I watched Silent Night, Bloody Night and it does count as a Christmas horror movie, so turn on the weird video of a log fire and let's get into it.
We start and end our journey with Diane attempting to tell us the bleak story of what happened and how she survived. It's hammy and overdone but it's what we have to work with. On Christmas Eve 20 years prior Wilfred Butler ran out of his house on fire. Rather than rolling in the snow (which would make a lot of sense) he basically ran until he burned to death. I got stop drop and roll shoved down my throat as a kid, but I was also a kid in the 80's when things like Mr. Yuck stickers were common but so was going into the woods at 9am and not coming back until it was almost nightfall. In Butler's will he requested that his property would be taken over by a family member but that no one lives there for 20 years or else something garbled when being told would happen. Time passes, someone escapes a mental hospital, and the strangest gathering of town elders get foreboding phone calls. Then a journal is found, at night, by a sheriff wearing sunglasses (let that sink in for a second) and later re-found and that's how we learn the true story of Wilfred Butler.
I did an inflation calculator to find out what this movie's budget would be by today's standards and it would've been made now for $1.71 million dollars. I figured this movie was made for a hot dog dinner and a case of Coke. What the hell did that money go toward?
This film tried way too hard to make each character unique. There's the woman with a million bird cages in her house, the old man that speaks primarily by just ringing a desk bell, and the lawyer's girlfriend that seems as though she's so foreign that she's from another planet. I actually spent more time playing Broforce on my laptop than paying attention to this movie because it was a messy slog. By the time we get the explanation from the journal on everything that's going on it comes out as this deluge of information that's too much too fuckin' late.
I could've gone on never knowing this film existed, but now that I do I feel as if just watching that made some sort of horcrux and it stole a piece of my soul. I can never die now because I watched this movie. It's a hellish existence.
I give Silent Night, Bloody Night 0 ripped Santas out of 5:
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
13 Days of Christmas Day 1: Black Christmas (a.k.a. Silent Night, Evil Night, a.k.a Stranger in the House)(1974) 1h 38m
I figured we could start the 13 Days of Christmas with a true holiday classic. So light up the tree, spike your egg nog extra strong, and make sure your lawn is booby trapped to keep those damn carolers away. Let's get into Black Christmas.
One of the innovators of the slasher genre, Black Christmas is the ultimate "the call is coming from inside the house" film. A sorority house has been receiving obscene phone calls from a man that switches between weird baby noises and violent sexual comments, sometimes doing two voices at once which is a real fucking talent. After the house lush, Barb, tells the caller off, the sisters seem to settle into getting ready for everyone to leave for Christmas break. While packing, Clare hears the house cat making strange noises at something in her closet. Rather than getting help, or even a weapon, she just keeps saying "who's there" while going to check out the closet. Her murder by dry cleaning bag is what sets off the chain of events that make up this movie. Her corpse is also the poster art, complete with plastic wrapped head.
I first became aware of this film when the loose remake of 2006 was being made. People lost their shit over the remake being released on Christmas, as if it was spitting in the eye of god. The original has a much better plot structure though in the sense that it doesn't attempt to explain who the murderer is, how they got there, or why they're doing this. I think that for an effective slasher you don't always need a set motive or backstory aside from "Oh shit, that person is going to wreck everyone."
I will say that this film is entirely dated and displays some of the most inept authority figures ever. From the front desk cop that can't be bothered to do his job properly, to the sorority mother that has more hidden booze than a 20's-era speakeasy, to the cops that don't check the attic to find a three-day-old rotting corpse and psycho killer, everything is a mess. We do get some interesting kills thanks to things like large crystal unicorn decorations. Also, I have to bring up Barb again because she spends most of the movie being some sort of strange booze magician with her pulling cans of beer out of everything and then making guests feel uncomfortable while she talks about wanting to get fucked for three days like a turtle does. She's the kind of girl that you go to a party with friends and somehow get stuck on a couch with her while she babbles about everything until she cries about something and you're stuck watching the car crash in slow motion.
I give Black Christmas 3 ripped Santas out of 5:
Monday, December 11, 2017
Hey everyone, I'm a guest on this week's Rank & Vile Podcast. We discuss the foreign horror films The Untamed, Honeymoon, and Train to Busan. You can find that on iTunes as well as on Podbean at https://rankandvile.podbean.com/
Tuesday, December 5, 2017
Get ready! One week until our 13 Days of Horror advent calendar starts! Thirteen days, thirteen Christmas themed horror movies.... Get hyped!