FearTASTIC Vault O’FUN #52
Director(s): Michael Dougherty
Writer(s): Todd Casey, Michael Dougherty, Zach Shields
Starring: Adam Scott, Toni Collette, David Koechner
Holy Christmas was this movie fun! I remember first hearing about this movie during Comic Con 2015. I was in the (in)famous Hall H panel which pretty much meant a night waiting in line with fellow Agent, Justin just to get our hands on a bracelet that would get us into a coveted panel filled with previews, clips and oh yes, CELEBRITIES! Having said that, there were always one or two panels that seemed to exist just to fill the void in between the big guns (Marvel, DC, any other GEEK-tastic flick). These moments were usually filled with either a showcase of previews from a production company, a panel that tackled a specific subject or a preview for a movie that had little to nothing to do with the Comic Con crowd (favorite example of this was the panel for the movie, Stealth with Jaime Foxx who was just as unhappy to be at Hall H as the audience was watching the panel)! In between superhero flicks, I remember there was a panel dedicated to the movie, Krampus. Although, I would usually spend this time to catch a quick nap, the preview grabbed my attention. The panel itself was quite entertaining since the preview sold the horror flick with some major comedy chops with Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation) and David Koechner (Anchorman) leading the flick. Christmas themed horror flicks have always been quite entertaining to me. Perhaps it’s the irony where we can take the time of year dedicated to love and joy and twist it on its head with stabbing and decapitation! Like the little doll that starts singing creepy lullabies, Christmas horror flicks feel just a bit more macabre due to the subject matter and everything great about an average horror flick is elevated just enough for you to appreciate this time of year even more.
Admittedly, as excited as I was to see this flick after the panel, I did not see this movie in the theaters. It somehow slipped through my radar amongst other flicks that came out that month * cough cough Star Wars cough cough * and alas, it would be quite a while until I got to view that fun horror flick that made an impact on me during Comic Con. It wouldn’t be until around October of this year where I re-discovered this flick in the sea of movies available in the other sea of streaming sites (I couldn’t even tell you which one at this point) and it was like seeing a gal that you thought was cute but never got the chance to talk to since the party was too loud! I immediately started watching the flick and the plot was simple enough; a dysfunctional family Christmas gathering causes the young boy in the family to evoke the demonic being Krampus along with his terrifying army of monsters. Although the plot is predictable, the cast is excellent with both Scott and Koechner providing some great comedic moments that balances out the moments of suspense. I appreciated how this flick didn’t try to give too much backstory to most of the characters, rather have them play stereotypes and let the real focus of the movie be the great visuals and sequences that made this movie wonderfully entertaining.
One of the best things about this flick is their use of practical effects. Although, there are many moments that were made with computer effects, a good chunk of the flick’s monsters and Krampus himself were obviously made with puppetry and other practical effects that I truly love. I like to think that although practical effects may be more limited to their computer counterparts, when you can truly touch something or better yet, fight something off, the entertainment factor is increased exponentially! There were moments in the movie that creeped me out, specifically the design work for Krampus himself was very impressive. I was really digging the cross between father time, the devil and some sort of goat. The army of monsters under his command also had some great moments, they ranged from a creepy angel to silly gingerbread men that worked in tandem to terrorize the populace.
In an odd way, this flick still rang true to a Christmas flick in the sense that there was a lesson learned within all the mayhem. The little boy that caused all the ruckus was merely sad that his family was filled with selfish, narcissistic pricks that gave little to no shits about the holidays. Of course, throughout the movie, you see the family coming together and by the end of the flick you do feel the warm and fuzzies for a bit before the credits roll.
I highly recommend this flick to squeeze in to the normal holiday favorites. It’s always a nice break to keep the Christmas spirit but add a bit of flair to it…even if the flair means a giant teddy bear with razor sharp teeth.
Life is FAR more interesting when we take interest in things that scare us.