If people were unaware of the Krampus before 2015, there’s no reason to be unaware of the horned assistant of St. Nicholas after getting featured in two theatrical releases. Before “Krampus” came out in November, the holiday anthology “A Christmas Horror Story” was on the film festival circuit during the summer leading up to a limited release in early October. I love anthology horror movies with “Creepshow,” “Tales from the Darkside: The Movie” and “Trick r Treat” getting repeat viewings from me just about every year, so I felt a Christmas-themed horror anthology would be a perfect addition.
“A Christmas Horror Story” consists of four stories that aren’t segmented individually, this follows the “Trick r Treat” style of having some stories connected while bouncing back and forth from story to story. These story segments have an interlude from William Shatner who is playing DJ Dan, a radio DJ who is in studio for the duration of the day on Christmas Eve. Shatner spends his shift pontificating on Christmas while getting drunk, giving updates about a situation at the local mall and talking to the never seen Susan, who is on the other side of the glass.
The stories are of a zombie outbreak at the North Pole, which Santa does a good job of cleaning up, a group of high school kids get trapped in the basement of their school where a murder took place the year before, a family trespasses in the wrong woods to get a Christmas tree, and a greedy family unleashes the Krampus.
The zombie outbreak story is the silliest one and also the goriest as Santa dispatches his elves left and right. It was cool seeing Santa be a badass and it had the most surprising ending of them all. This story had a surprise up its sleeve with a connection to DJ Dan’s radio show.
The high school kids’ story saw a group trying to film an expose of the ritual like murder that happened in the school’s basement the year before. They become trapped in there with some disturbed spirits as they learn that the basement was previously used as a secret wing of a convent for disgraced nuns. This segment was pretty disturbing with the way it went.
My favorite story though was of the family who go into the wrong woods looking for a Christmas tree. They ignore the signs and after finding their tree their little boy goes missing. He is soon found in the hollow of a creepy tree and they go home. But they didn’t bring their boy back with them, they brought back something else. This story gave me the most chills of any of them.
Then there’s the Krampus. A family of pretty despicable people go seek out a rich relative to try and get money off of for an investment. Their son, a real little shit, breaks a figurine of the Krampus on purpose and soon becomes the first victim as they are stranded in the woods after almost hitting the Krampus with their SUV and getting it stuck in snow. The Krampus looks cool and is real handy with his hooks and chains.
Overall, I liked this movie, it’s not my favorite horror anthology but it’s the best Christmas one because there are no others. None of the stories sucked, they were each attention grabbing and there were only a few moments that felt boring or like something we’ve seen before over and over. Give it a look.