Ho-ho-horror, everyone! M.L. Miller aka the @$$hole formerly known as Ambush Bug here. Continuing the countdown fun, I’ve decided to finally compile a list of the Best Holiday Horror Movies this December. Some of these films can be found in theaters, but others have unfortunately only seen the light of day on Video On Demand or simply go straight to DVD, BluRay, or digital download. I’ve tried to indicate in the reviews where you can check these films out as thoroughly as I can.
As far as how I compiled this list? Well, there’s no real method to my special brand of madness. Having seen quite a few holiday horrors, I simply have been keeping a list and checking it more than twice throughout the year. I’ll be counting down every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday through December to my favorite holiday horror film of the year. I’m sure there are some that I’ve missed, overlooked, or simply haven’t seen yet, but that will leave leftovers to cover in upcoming Decembers
So, let’s get to it! Chime in after the article and let me know what you think of the film, how on the nose or mind-numbingly wrong I am, and most importantly, come up with your own damn list…let’s go!
#13 THE HORROR NETWORK V.1: “Merry Little Christmas” segment #13
Why? It’s a bit of an unconventional choice, but once you’ve seen this dastardly little nightmare, you’ll never forget it. One of the most diabolical and twisted little horror segments in any anthology I’ve ever seen is Manuel Marin’s “Merry Little Christmas.” It’s not a long segment, but it is one that will leave a real mark in your psyche with its horrific nightmare imagery. While none of the other segments deal with the holiday, each horror short is effective in its own way. But the best of the bunch is “Merry Little Christmas.” You can find it here on Amazon here!
The full trailer for THE HORROR NETWORK is below the review, but here’s a trailer for “Merry Little Christmas” that’ll give you a taste of the pure terror you’re into with this devious little short.
THE HORROR NETWORK (2013)
Directed by Joseph Graham (“Edward”), Manuel Marín (“Merry Little Christmas”), Lee Matthews (“The Quiet” & “3:00”), and Brian Dorton (“The Deviant One”)
Written by Joseph Graham (“Edward”), Manuel Marín (“Merry Little Christmas”), Lee Matthews (“The Quiet” & “3:00”), and Brian Dorton (“The Deviant One”)
Starring Nick Frangione, Artem Mishin, Jan Cornet, Brian Dorton, Charlotte Armstrong, Jenni-Lea Finch, Brad Anderson, and Macarena Gómez
Find out more about this film on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug
THE HORROR NETWORK isn’t really concerned about coming up with a catchy way to thread a few short films together such as adhering them to spelling out the alphabet or having them all be found footage or anything like that. When producers Brian Dorton and Douglas Conner chose 5 short films out of over 200 short films to make this horror anthology, they were looking for quality scares over some kind of connecting tissue. The result is one of the most successful anthologies I’ve watched in ages as all five of these shorts are abundant in quality scares and moments that will make your bones rattle. Below are a few thoughts on each installment.
“3:00”: The anthology starts out with a moody and chilling “call in the middle of the night” scenario as a woman receives a phone call at the same time every night. This one takes complete advantage of the dark atmosphere of a quiet house in the country at night, panning into and outside of the house to show how utterly alone this woman, assaulted by the deafening ring of a telephone truly is. The sound in this installment is intentionally shrill and made my ears ring and quake and while this one ties up pretty quickly, the note it leaves you on is terrifying to say the least.
“Edward”: Much more of a cerebral type of horror until the very end, “Edward” centers on a psychologist and his patient having what seems to be a typical session. Even though this installment is mostly conversation, the actors involved make it all easily digestible as the patient is on the defensive and then the attack the whole time. Cutting in an out and relying on some great close-ups, this installment feels as if we are eavesdropping in on a conversation we were not meant to hear. When things get action oriented, it definitely takes a turn for the bizarre and while these final scenes are brutal and shocking, the ominous lead in to the end makes it most compelling.
“The Quiet”: Another great one about a young deaf girl who gets bullied off of the bus early and does not receive a crucial text from her mother before leaving her phone on the bus. What transpires is a terrifying cat and mouse sequence as a man in a blue van pursues the deaf girl through the forest. Filled with moments of utter silence, as heard from the perspective of the deaf girl, this one makes good use of the quiet as well as forced perceptions we all might have in this dangerous age we live in. And while this one focuses a lot on the quiet, the moments that shook me the most were the bombastic bursts of sound that occur periodically throughout this short. Though somewhat predictable, this one is thrilling throughout.
“Merry Little Christmas”: This one is the best of the bunch, filled with all sorts of perverse and twisted imagery as seen through the eyes of an off-kilter child who witnessed violence as a child and now has a warped perspective of the world. Taking surreal imagery from a child, this installment brings these images to life in all of its twisted glory with visuals that are both awe-inspiring and utterly grotesque all at once. This Spanish speaking short is not easy to forget and Manuel Marín is a director/writer I will be on the lookout for after seeing how dark he can go here.
“The Deviant One”: The final short is a simple, yet perversely effective tale of bending morals and twisting beliefs. The way this one is set up, the ending is rather predictable and not as shocking as the filmmakers probably wanted to it to be, but that doesn’t make what comes before it any more chilling. Filmed in cold black and white, this one seems to be a statement about the hypocrisy of the church by interspersing bible quotes with acts of terror one person is inflicting upon another.
Every one of these installments are rock solid and producers Brian Dorton and Douglas Conner seem to have a good eye at spotting talent. Here’s hoping this HORROR NETWORK has more volumes and as long as the installments are as good as the ones used in this film, I’m looking forward to watching what else these producers can find as this is a strong batch of short film work that deserves to be seen.
If you like what I said about, help me out and click on the link to buy it on Amazon here !!!
THE COUNTDOWN SO FAR…
#13 – THE HORROR NETWORK V.1 “Merry Little Christmas” segment
M.L. Miller goes by many names—Ambush Bug, Mark L. Miller, hey you jerk over there! He’s an original @$$Hole/wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of MLMILLERWRITES.COM. Follow Mark on the Twitters @Mark_L_Miller.
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