Santa’s Slay: When Santa Finally Snaps

SANTA’S SLAY

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DIRECTED BY: David Steiman

STARRING: Bill Goldberg, Douglas Smith, Emilie de Ravin, Robert Culp, Saul Rubinek, Dave Thomas

GENRE: Black comedy, Horror

YEAR: 2005

COUNTRY: Canada, United States

640In the Christmas Eve of 2005, Santa Claus (Bill Goldberg) arrives in Hell Township killing the locals. The teenager Nicholas Yuleson (Douglas Smith) finds that his grandfather (Robert Culp) is actually an angel that defeated the devil’s son in a bet, and the evil creature has spent the last one thousand years playing a good Santa Claus, giving toys to the children. Now that the bet is over, Santa Claus wants revenge. Nicholas and his girlfriend Mary Mackenzie (Emilie de Ravin) try to escape from the killer and find a way to stop him until the end of Christmas.

From Horror News:

“It is without a doubt an odd movie and while some people may argue that it tries a little too hard at times I have to disagree. I actually dig the premise and love the fact that it is actually Santa himself going around and hacking people to bits as opposed to just some ordinary guy wearing the costume. His origin story is weird as hell but in a way I think that it works. I thought that it was cool that the people behind it tried to do something a little different with the character and if you ask me making him an evil creature who loves to kill people was a great idea (I even liked the whole deal with the curling contest because it is just goofy and weird enough to work). For a demented person like me it was a nice change of pace to see Santa stabbing people to death with a candy cane for once as opposed to sliding down a chimney to deliver gifts to all the good little boys and girls of the world. I’ll admit that the plot is more than a little silly (boy, that’s an understatement) but that is part of the movie’s charm.

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I enjoyed Santa’s Slay. I am a little surprised that it doesn’t have a bigger following as I think that it is a pretty kickass little movie. It isn’t perfect and there are times when it is a little too corny for its own good but overall it is just a fun, brainless movie that has a ton of violence in it (I also thought it was cool that there are several pretty awesome cameos by people such as Fran Drescher, James Caan, and Rebecca Gayheart to name a few in it as well). Give it a chance this Christmas, just make sure that you don’t take it too seriously or you won’t enjoy it at all.”

PROS:

  • Solid direction.
  • So bad it is good.

CONS:

  • Overly campy.
  • Cast performances.

SCORE: 5.0 / 10

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Krampus: A Darker Christmas Carol

KRAMPUS

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DIRECTED BY: Michael Dougherty

STARRING: Adam Scott, Toni Collette, ,David Koechner, Allison Tolman, Conchata Ferrell, Emjay Anthony, Stefania LaVie Owen, Krista Stadler

GENRE: Christmas, Comedy, Horror

YEAR: 2015

COUNTRY: United States

krampusheaderWhen his dysfunctional family clashes over the holidays, young Max (Emjay Anthony) is disillusioned and turns his back on Christmas. Little does he know, this lack of festive spirit has unleashed the wrath of Krampus: a demonic force of ancient evil intent on punishing non-believers. All hell breaks loose as beloved holiday icons take on a monstrous life of their own, laying siege to the fractured family’s home and forcing them to fight for each other if they hope to survive.

From AV Club:

“From the always reliable Scott and Collette to Fargo’s Allison Tolman, the cast is almost uniformly overqualified; even David Koechner, adding another gun-toting jackass to his résumé, can’t resist investing his character with a little humanity. Of course, the real stars of the show are the toy-box terrors. Krampus boasts some truly terrific practical creature effects, including that aforementioned bozo worm, a razor-toothed teddy, and the titular monstrosity himself. Trouble is, these first-rate fiends aren’t just sparingly employed, but also frequently obscured by poor lighting, slapdash camerawork, and frenetic editing; it’s hard to say, additionally, if scenes set outside, against the white blanket of a blizzard, are intentionally or accidentally difficult to parse. It’s all rather clumsily staged—a real handicap for horror, and a surprise coming from director-cowriter Michael Dougherty, who achieved higher quality on a lower budget with his anthology film Trick ’R Treat.

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Juggling genres is no easy feat, especially when they’re as disparate as monster movie and holiday dramedy. It takes a spark of mad, macabre genius to make that mix work. Joe Dante had it. So, too, did Tim Burton, back when he was pitting a different clan of bickering housemates against unholy forces and putting his own spooky spin on Christmas festivities. Krampus has some stray moments of wicked inspiration, including an animated flashback that feels like it was yanked from a more serious and elegant picture.”

PROS:

  • Overqualified cast.
  • Decent juggling of genres.

CONS:

  • Supporting cast performance.
  • Not much horror.
  • Krampus depiction

SCORE: 5.5 / 10

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Evil Dead: A Fantastic Gore-fest of a Remake

Hello everybody! Are you still ALIVE? I’m just kidding. The final picture in our Halloween spooktacular is the gore fest of a remake of the classic horror film, Evil Dead.

EVIL DEAD

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DIRECTED BY: Fede Alvarez

STARRING: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, Elizabeth Blackmore

GENRE: Supernatural horror

YEAR: 2013

COUNTRY: United States

David, his drug-using sister Mia and his friends Eric, Olivia and Natalie travel to an isolated cabin that belonged to his parents to spend a couple of days together. Mia promises to stop using drugs and Olivia, who is a nurse, promises to help Mia in her abstinence. They discover a hidden basement with witchcraft and the Book of the Dead, and Eric reads it and unintentionally summons an evil force. Mia, Olivia and Natalie are possessed by evil and Eric reads the book trying to learn how to destroy the demon.

As a major lover of the original Evil Dead franchise, it was hard for me to be able to accept that there was going to be a remake. There are very little original ideas out there, so plenty of films are being remade that don’t need to be…or so I thought. My opinion changed once I found out that both Bruce Campbell (Ash from the original films) and Sam Raimi (original director) were both attached. Well…this Evil Dead is definitely different from the original. While there is very little comedy in comparison, the gore fest that has been created showcases the gore and horror that this era is so proud of.

Now just like with almost every remake, the original Evil Dead is much better. The acting in this iteration is sub-par, even for a horror film with not very high standards. They change only a few major story elements, otherwise they stick pretty close to the original narrative. But beyond the visuals, Evil Dead isn’t much more than any other remake. It is unfortunate, but the teaser at the end almost saves it. Will there be an Evil Dead 2 Raimi and Campbell? I will be looking forward to it, as my fanaticism for the franchise isn’t dead yet.

PROS:

  • Much needed visual updates.
  • Gorefest.
  • Necessary cameo/teaser.

CONS:

  • No major story tweaks.
  • Not much beyond the gore.
  • Just another remake.

SCORE: 6 / 10

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