The Christmas movie genre is in a bit of a rut with several years having passed now without a major studio release of a holiday-themed tale. And while 2015 will go down in history as just another year of that drought it may also be earmarked as the year of Krampus on the Big Screen and a return of Christmas as the backdrop of new horror releases. The newest and the one sure to be seen is a film produced by William Shatner, of all people, called A Christmas Horror Story.
Krampus is a Santa-like character of ancient origin celebrated in some mountainous areas of Northern Europe. But unlike Santa there is nothing jolly about the guy — his job is to go after misbehaving kids so that St. Nicholas only has to worry about those good kids and their sugar plums. Krampus is dark, hairy, with horns, cloven feet and a sharp protruding tongue. In other words, he’s the stuff of which horror movies are made.
A Christmas Horror Story takes an anthology approach to the holiday, with three interlocking tales: 1) a family is hunted by the folkloric anti-Santa Claus demon Krampus; 2) Santa must fight off zombie elves; 3) a family begins to fear something is seriously wrong with their seven-year-old son after chopping down a Christmas tree in the forest. These three storylines combine and come together is a series of climaxes that tell a terrifying Christmas tale with violence, blood and screams.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It is the first of several big screen releases coming out that will give the figure of Santa Claus a more heroic and even studly reputation. Sony Pictures is working on a Santa/Viking legend flick and even Glenn Beck has a project in the works called The Immortal that makes Santa not only a warrior but something of a spiritual guru. Shatner is taking the low road, as it were. And here is a preview: