Christmas has become a season ripe for horror. The holiday horror subgenre is alive and well, and it seems like every year we get at least a few Christmas leads, usually involving a killer Santa. This is nothing new – Santa has been making the cut in one form or another for years. When TriStar Pictures released Silent Night, Deadly Night in 1984, with a poster showing Santa's axe-wielding arm descending a chimney, there was an uproar. The outcry was so strong that TriStar pulled the picture from theaters after a week — which was good, because by then "Silent Night, Deadly Night" had recouped its meager budget, and more.
Silent Night, Deadly Night wasn't the first film to feature an evil Santa of sorts — 1978 thriller The Silent Partner starred Christopher Plummer as a sadistic thief dressed as Old Saint Nick — but you can tell with the phenomenon of Bob Clark It is with . 1974's Chiller Black Christmas helped create the Christmas horror subgenre as we know it today. The latest entry in this growing list of movies is Christmas Bloody Christmas, directed by indie horror favorite Joe Begos, a director who specializes in insanely aggressive and violent movies that even pretend to scream murder.
I'll admit I'm not a huge fan of Begos' work, which also includes The Mind's Eye homage and vampire film Bliss. I had a hard time joining his screaming characters. But Begos outdid himself with "Christmas Bloody Christmas," which still has its residents screaming, but balances it all with a beautiful, sultry heroine and unparalleled avant-garde style. It's a beautiful film and the fact that it did a little less well than a great film that looked much worse is impressive. Each frame is swirled with mist, snow or fog, all illuminated by a myriad of colorful Christmas lights. It was beautiful and menacing at the same time, and I lost myself in the light behind the image.
And, yes, I should add that there are robotic Santa killers running around.
Cruel Holly Jolly Fairtime
It's Christmas Eve in a town so small it's almost empty. There are signs of life in the festive Christmas lights that stretch across town, covering shops and homes in cool shades of bright reds, blues and greens. But the city itself is deserted, at least most of the time. At the local record store, Tori (Riley Dandy) is ready to run and recharge. Her co-worker Robbie (Sam Delich), who is clearly in love, wants to go with her, and the two chat and chat in a fun and flirtatious way that instantly charms us. Dandy is very good at engaging in impromptu conversations, most of which seem spontaneous and impromptu.
The town may be small, but that hasn't stopped the local toy store from installing a life-sized, and obviously very expensive, robot Santa Claus. We learn that the robot is actually repurposed military technology — a literal robot soldier wearing a Kris Kringle suit. You can probably guess where this takes us: Robo Santa returns to his old programming and begins to exterminate everyone in his path. And indeed, that is exactly what happened. Santa came alive, took an ax and started chopping heads like logs.
From there, Begos escapes and creates one horrible and chaotic game after another. Santa tracks down Tori and Robbie and quickly subdues anyone who shows up with plenty of Christmas brutality. The Gorehound screamed as blood flowed, like a fountain from a split head. Cruel, holly, funny, it's a good time.
style and blood
"Bloody Christmas Christmas" wouldn't have done as well if it wasn't for Dandy in the lead role. He makes Tori tough and easy, and it's easy to root for her against the killer Claus. When the movie gets a little repetitive – and yes, screams – Dandy keeps you focused. The real star, however, is Brian Sowell's cinematography. It's easy to throw a lot of Christmas iconography at the screen and hope for the best, but "Bloody Christmas of Christmas" embraces the Christmas spirit by acknowledging that the Christmas lights look absolutely beautiful on film. There is something almost magical about the garlands of colored lights that fill almost every frame in the film, providing a wintry wonderland in contrast to all the carnage.
Style alone doesn't make a movie, and "Bloody Christmas Christmas" suffers from quite a repetitive nature — Tori goes somewhere, Santa shows up, people die, repeat. I also found the Santa robot to be very lacking. Don't be offended by the actor Abraham Benrubi who is quite massive and menacing in his role. It's just that Santa never really felt like a living robot – Santa looked like a big man in a suit. I wish there were more robotic nuances here, because that's the whole premise: Santa killing robots!
I suspect this won't be a problem for the film's target audience, who might just want to see Santa kill people in a beautiful setting that's intentionally dirty, grimy, and fancy. In this sense, "Christmas Bloody Christmas" does quite a bit. I can easily imagine this being a Christmas horror movie that fans revisit every holiday. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, dear readers, and take care of Santa.
/ Rating of the film: 7 out of 10
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