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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Kramped for the holidays

Christmas-themed horror movies are a rarity, perhaps because they seem so out-of-place during what’s generally regarded to be “the most wonderful time of the year.”  It is also the holiest of religious holidays, notwithstanding the fact that Jesus wasn’t actually born on December 25.  Nonetheless, once in a while we get the likes of ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night,’ ‘Black Christmas’ and ‘Krampus’ during this most joyous of occasions.
 
At least ‘Krampus’ is based on traditional European (Austro-Bavarian to be precise) folklore and mythology.  If you’re unfamiliar (or haven’t seen the 'Venture Bros.' episode below) with the character, think Krampus as a deformed “evil Santa” of sorts who punishes bad children, just as Saint Nicholas rewards good children with gifts.  Portrayed as a hairy daemonic creature with horns and cloven hooves, Krampus is known to carry chains and bundled birch branches (ruten), the better to lash misbehaving children with.  Krampus finally gets his own feature length movie, and all things considered  it isn’t bad.
 
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With a comedic cast including Adam Scott, Toni Collette and David Koechner, ‘Krampus’ is a light-hearted, oft-funny horror comedy in the tradition of ‘Gremlins,’ ‘House’ and ‘The Frighteners.’  It is particularly sharp in its satire of family dysfunction, and the film's opening credits sequence depicting rampaging holiday shoppers in slow-mo set to Bing Crosby's "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" was simply classic.  For what it lacked in truly scary moments, the movie made up in sheer PG-13 rated family fun.  Come to think of it, that’s what Christmas is all about isn’t it?
 
Grade: B+ 
 
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