If you’re like me and your favorite holiday film is Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2,then you may want to add Krampus to your holiday movie list. Although it’s not as delightfully insane and hilarious as Silent Night, Deadly Night 2, Krampus is endearingly campy. Krampus could even be deemed a legitimately good film (unlike Silent Night, Deadly Night 2, which is so bad it’s good), due to its impressive production design and a unique claymation sequence.
Krampus,which draws inspiration from the German/Austrian goat-hoof'd demon who comes to punish children for bad behavior rather than reward them for good behavior, opens with one of the greatest scenes to ever grace a Christmas film: a stampede at a local Mucho Mart. Closely resembling Mufasa’s death from The Lion King,the scene features frazzled customers beating each other over wooden horses and Christmas trees. Having witnessed a literal fist fight over a book while working in a bookstore over the holidays, the opening scene perfectly portrays Christmas in America, and it’s hilarious. We are then introduced to our main family (featuring my boyfriend, Adam Scott) whose youngest son, Max (Emjay Anthony), is pummeling a non-Santa believer. Behold the true meaning of Christmas:
We then learn a bit more about the family-to-be-terrorized-by-Krampus -- their oldest teenage daughter has a boyfriend who smokes pot out of a peppermint bong (way to get in the spirit there, buddy), their Austrian grandma bakes more than the “Cake Boss”, and they have some truly insidious in-laws, including their youngest son who looks and acts like a miniature version of Frankenstein’s Monster, two heinous daughters who look and act like stereotypical Trump supporters, and, the best of all, Aunt Dorothy, whom I am convinced is the spirit animal of Aunt Marge from Harry Potter (the one that gets blown up). Aunt Dorothy is essentially everyone’s favorite drunk, horrible aunt, and like everyone’s favorite drunk, horrible aunt, she has some great one-liners:
On Christmas decorations: “It looks like Martha Stewart threw up in here.”
On Christmas dinner: “Who doesn’t make a ham at Christmas? What are you now? A Jew?”
On teenage relationships: “Get them out of your sight for one second, and boom! Shotgun wedding.”
And my favorite, on how to entertain small children: “Come on, kids, I’ll teach you how to make peppermint schnapps.”
After the family gets into a horrific fight (as you do during the holidays), Max decides to tear up his Christmas wish to Santa (to keep his family together). Upon doing so, he brings on the wrath of Krampus and his devilish minions who wreak havoc on his family. From there, the film turns a bit insane, but some of the attacks are pretty great. My favorite monsters include a group of wicked gingerbread men who attack one of the uncles with a nail gun, a ravaging teddy bear who attempts to eat half the family, AND a real-life Jack-in-the-Box who eats human beings whole.
It’s as though the monsters in The Nightmare Before Christmas came to life and decided to actually kill everyone rather than bring them a twisted Christmas. The result is disturbing, but also strangely hilarious. There’s something oddly satisfying about a Jack-in-the-Box that eats people.
I won’t give away the ending (you will have to watch to see if they survive Krampus or not!), but I will say that if you are looking for a fun B-rated horror flick for the holidays, Krampus is it. One of my favorite scenes of the film was not exactly scary or funny, but quite beautifully done: when grandma Omi shares her experience with Krampus. I did not expect a bit of claymation to be included, and this reminded me a bit of the scene in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I when the Deathly Hallows are first explained. So here is an extra little holiday sneak-peek of Krampus for you: