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!
#10 A CHRISTMAS HORROR STORY #10
Why is A CHRISTMAS HORROR STORY #10? Well, it’s because this film has a lot of ambition and delivers on quite a bit of what it attempts to do. While Michael Doherty perfected the horror anthology with TRICK R’ TREAT, A CHRISTMAS HORROR STORY attempts to ape that style by telling a few holiday horror stories interlocking into one big fun film. Most of the vignettes work pretty well and I loved how all of the stories tackled a different angle on the season. A lot of horror fun is wrapped up in this one anthological present! You can find it here on Amazon here!
A CHRISTMAS HORROR STORY (2015)
Directed by Grant Harvey, Steven Hoban, Brett Sullivan
Written by James Kee, Sarah Larsen, Jason Filiatrault, Doug Taylor, Pascal Trottier
Starring William Shatner, George Buza, Percy Hynes White, Oluniké Adeliyi, Rob Archer, Jeff Clarke, Jessica Clement, Corinne Conley, Robert Coughler, Zoé De Grand Maison, Amy Forsyth, Glen Gaston, Ken Hall, Adrian Holmes, Shannon Kook, Debra McCabe, Paige Moyles, Michelle Nolden, Alex Ozerov, Alan C. Peterson, Joe Silvaggio
It seems people start preparing for Christmas earlier and earlier every year, which explains the reason why A CHRISTMAS HORROR STORY is released in the first week in October, I guess. But while it may look like it is similar to the upcoming big budget KRAMPUS film, A CHRISTMAS HORROR STORY proved to be much, much more. More akin to KRAMPUS director Michael Dougherty’s TRICK R’ TREAT in structure, A CHRISTMAS HORROR STORY is an interlocking anthology film taking everything we know and love about the holidays and giving it a macabre slant.
A CHRISTMAS HORROR STORY is tied together as it takes place on one specific night, which is the anniversary of a pair of murders of some high school kids at a local school. Each of the four storylines cuts back and forth to one another as the story goes on, but all still occupy the same universe. I don’t want to give too much of each story away, but it’s all tied together by a radio DJ played by William Shatner who joyously gets drunker and drunker as the night goes on. Shatner is not too over the top here, and actually does a great job selling his role as the jolly soul who loves Christmas despite all of the evil things going on in the city.
All of the stories intermingling with one another are pretty compelling and do a good job of twisting holiday tropes up into bloody little bows, my favorite being a family going to a secluded forest to cut down their own Christmas tree, only to find that their son has been replaced by something quite sinister. This story does a fantastic job with happenings in the forefront of the frame coupled with horrific things happening in the background. This one is bloody and imaginative, utilizing the tradition of cutting one’s own tree to really pull you in, and then it attacks.
One of the stories that seems a bit out of place from the rest is about Santa Claus fighting a horde of zombie elves at the North Pole. This story offers up some of the most dramatic and exciting moments, but it feels out of whack with the rest of the more reality-grounded film. This inconsistency is rectified by the end, and while it is an outlier, seeing Santa go nuts and beat the shit out of rabid elves and the Krampus itself is pretty amazing.
While the storyline with a trio of student filmmakers making a documentary about the murders a year prior is moody and well-acted, this one seemed the blandest of the bunch, mainly because we’ve seen this premise with a school project investigating a murder before in other films, but I will admit I jumped the most in these scenes as the kids roam around in the dark and may be tormented by ghosts of the past.
The fourth story is most like the other Krampus movie coming out in about a month about an ungrateful family visiting their relatives in order to get a handout. The family is made up of a bunch of real shits, and the actors are quite convincing in their roles. This one does a decent job with the Krampus myth and has some nice gory scenes as well as a pretty impressive full body Krampus suit.
If there is a problem with A CHRISTMAS HORROR STORY it’s that it is full of great ideas, but the resolutions to these stories end up being kind of a letdown. I don’t want to spoil things too much, but while some of the films have a pretty potent bite in terms of wickedness and gore, the way things are resolved are rather predictable and tame. I guess I’d liken the experience to seeing a bright and shiny present and then tearing it open only to be disappointed with what’s under the paper. The stories aren’t necessarily bad, it’s just that the endings just don’t have as much punch as the initial concept had.
That said, I laughed and jumped quite a bit at A CHRISTMAS HORROR STORY. It’s a fantastic celebration of everything gruesome and festive all mixed together into one grab bag of gory goodies. Well-acted and directed, this is a strong film and worth seeking out, though it’s tough that it came out so early and will most likely miss its market as it would be a ghoulishly great film to watch during the holiday season.
If you like what I said above, 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
#12 – STALLED
#11 – CUENTO DE NAVIDAD
#10 – A CHRISTMAS HORROR STORY
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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