Movie Name: A Christmas Horror Story
Studio: Copperhead Entertainment
Release Date(s): July 20, 2015 (Fantasia International Film Festival)/October 2, 2015 (US)
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
It’s Christmas time again and not all tales are jolly. While “Dangerous” Dan (William Shatner) hosts his radio show, a group of students (Shannon Kook, Alex Ozerov, and Zoe De Grand Maison) break into a school where murders occurred the year before. A police officer (Adrian Holmes) and his wife (Olunike Adeliyi) learn that taking a Christmas tree from a private farm could be dangerous when their son (Orion John) seems to change overnight. A family visit to estranged Aunt Etta (Corrine Conley) turns deadly when the Krampus attacks. Plus, Santa Claus (George Buza) deals with a zombie infection among the elves…which means killing them all!
Directed by Grant Harvey, Steven Hoban, and Brett Sullivan, A Christmas Horror Story is a holiday horror anthology. The movie initially premiered at the Fantastia International Film Festival in 2015 before getting a wider release in October 2015.
A Christmas Horror Story has what I generally like (as guilty pleasures). It is a horror anthology and it is holiday themed…two winners. The Krampus has become the “new” villain of Christmas in the recent years, and A Christmas Horror Story is no exception…but it kind of works.
The benefit of anthology stories is that hopefully one or two of the stories work. Here that is true. You get three decent stories and one rather dull story. I think the highlight story has to be the Santa Claus battle with the elves which ends with a fun twist. The jerky family Krampus story has the darkness that the actual Krampus movie kind of lacked (though I liked that Krampus more). I also liked the changeling story because it kind of followed the idea of a fairy tale (which changelings generally inhabit). The school story is the weakest and feels like every haunted asylum story you’ve ever seen.
The movie takes William Shatner as the star in essentially the host or even “Crypt Keeper” role, but I kind of wish he had served as a narrator or more of a connecting force. The rest of the cast is rather average, but it doesn’t really matter due to the format and style of the film. It didn’t really need stars but if it had taken a Tales from the Crypt approach, it might have also been nice.
Visually, the movie isn’t quite where it could have been with a bigger budget. The Krampus of the film just isn’t very threatening, but I do like some of the imagery of the movie like the killer elves in Santa’s story…the movie is occasionally stylish.
A Christmas Horror Story was a fun, quick movie. It has weaknesses but if you are looking for “alt-Christmas” movies, it should fit the bill. I wouldn’t mind seeing another A Christmas Horror Story with new stories (or maybe even follow one). Christmas is a cheery time, and it is nice to have a dark underside.