Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Krampus review

A Christmas horror movie based on an awesome Germanic folktale?

Alright for those of you outside the zone of awesome and don’t know that Krampus is the anti-Clause. Where Santa Clause rewards good children, Krampus punishes the bad children. He looks like a twisted evil satyr. He nabs bad kids and hucks them in a sack or basket (that may be strapped to his back) for transport to Hell, to be food or to be carries away for drowning. He carries a whip or reeds that are used to beat the bad kids. Also he can be depicted with various chains that are used to restrain or just confirm the demonic image. He was the old school version of the much tamer naughty list. Man kids today have it so easy. They just get put on a naughty list. They are not nabbed by a goat/man monster to be beaten and drowned since they were bad.

Krampus the movie focuses on time honored family Christmas that may people love/loathe. When you dislike your family and in-laws but you have to spend the holidays with them what happens? Well here little Max has had it with the lack of X-mas spirit and his horrible cousins. At the same time the two families are at each other over everything from child rearing, the holiday, politics and guns laws. The kicker is that Max loves Christmas and just wants a holiday where everyone is happy and all that holiday cheer business. When that doesn’t happen. Well Max decides he has had enough and tears up a thoughtful and wish filled letter to Santa. The act of anti-Christmas is all it takes to get the attention of the darker side of Christmas.


A snow storm rolls in and disables the town. There is no power. The streets are a few feet deep with snow. The phones are all out. The temperature drops and the wind picks up. There are random creepy snowmen appearing all around the house. The neighborhood has gone silent. Even better is that a giant robed figure is seen from time to time on the roof tops. Krampus has come and everyone is on his list!


Max and his family must somehow survive each other and even worse a giant demonic anti-Clause with a sack of misfit toys!

Here the Krampus is every bit the opposite of Santa Clause. He comes with a twisted sleigh. He has elven helpers that are delightfully creepy. His bag of goodies is even filled with toys to punish instead of delight. He even destroys your chimney when he comes down it. Everything you love about Santa, he is the darker and creepier opposite. It hits all the main Krampus legend stuff with a subtle twist.

At times this movie has moments that feel like little homages to various holiday films (live and animated), a lot of Gremlins and a nod to the best death in Die Hard 2. There is also a bit of social commentary on the holiday season as well if are into stuff like that.

The look of the Krampus is both awesome and meh. The silhouette of the big guy is fantastic! The way they have him sit on the roof tops and stalk the neighborhood is pretty damn awesome. When you get the big reveal it is not great. The horns, hands and cloven hooves are all stellar. The biggest downside is his face. He has a mouth agape bit thing happening. It makes him look a little derpy or constantly yawning. That being said, there are a lot of practical special effects going on here and I am always a fan of that

The horror is more B movie than full jump scare or gory horror and it works. If it was too jump scary or over the top gory and it would really pull you out of the film. It is just the right amount of fun scary creepy to give it a really good B movie feel. This is really what the Krampus movie is. A really fun holiday B horror movie. It will not be for everybody, but if you love old school 80’s (pre-PG-13 horror), hate the Christmas holiday, are a fan of the Germanic legend or like a bit of silly horror: then Krampus will not disappoint.

Almost forgot, the score meshes so well with everything else going on here.

Makes me want to go watch "A Very Venture Christmas" right now!

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